WARRIORS failed to claim a third consecutive Premiership victory as Sale edged a 18-14 win in an unattractive, physical encounter under the Sixways floodlights on Friday night.
Sharks drew blood first when Rohan Janse Van Rensburg dived over in the corner following a break, before the hosts hit-back when in-from winger Josh Adams leapt over.
Both sides battled to retain possession for long periods of the second half in a match that came down to the dominance of the packs.
The game took a twist when Byron McGuigan was sent off for a high tackle, but it was the 14-men who scored the game’s third try when Mark Jennings touched down out wide.
Warriors had one last throw of the dice in the dying seconds but lost a crucial line out less than a metre from Sharks’ tryline and had to settle for a losing bonus point.
The visitors piled the pressure on in the early stages and were soon ahead courtesy of an AJ MacGinty penalty.
Moments later Sale were on the board again when a McGuigan break was recycled to Van Rensburg to cross in the corner.
But MacGinty failed to convert from near the touchline leaving Sharks with an 8-0 lead as the hosts looked to find their way into the game.
A Chris Pennell penalty pulled Worcester back to within five which swung the momentum in the home side’s favour as Pennell then made a sublime run deep into Sharks territory.
The full-back then kicked a delicate ball through for Adams to leap onto in the corner for Warriors’ first try, which Pennell failed to convert from a tight angle.
But MacGinty slotted a penalty from in front of the posts on the stroke of half-time to give his side an 11-8 advantage.
Entering the second half, Adams danced through Sale defenders as he made a blistering run into the visitors’ 22, but Sharks cleared the danger and held onto their slender three-point lead.
Warriors continued to press forward with waves of attacks but a resilient Sale defence kept them out time and again.
Pennell eventually brought the scores level with a penalty with just over 15 minutes left on the clock.
The game then burst into life when McGuigan, who had already received a yellow card, flipped Bryce Heem on his head and was sent off.
Pennell’s resulting penalty put the hosts up by three against a reeling 14-man Sharks side.
But the visitors regrouped and retook the lead just moments later when Jennings grounded after a quick break.
The hosts tried to steal the win late on but Sale’s defence proved too strong as they claimed the four points to pull nine clear of Worcester in the league table.
Warriors take a two week break from Premiership action now as they head into the second round of the European Challenge Cup against Oyonnax at Sixways on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).