Northampton (9) 27
Manoa, penalty try Con:
Northampton got back to winning ways by holding off Worcester in a tight Premiership clash at Sixways.
The first half was all about the boot as fly-halves Andy Goode and Stephen Myler kicked the only points, Goode giving the hosts a three-point lead.
It was more of the same after the break when Myler put Saints in front.
The visitors made their superior forward power tell in the 66th minute when Samu Manoa finished off a maul and a late penalty try assured victory.
Both sides were looking to arrest recent poor form and it was the hosts who looked the keener in the opening plays.
The Warriors' back three found early holes in Saints' defence and their territorial advantage allowed Goode to post six unanswered points inside the opening seven minutes.
In poor conditions, Saints took their cue from Worcester and also looked to run the ball, earning Myler the chances to level the scores - which he duly accepted.
Within minutes both Lee Dickson and then Matt Kvesic conceded penalties that saw the score extended to 9-9.
Goode added another three points but missed his fifth attempt on 32 minutes after Dylan Hartley was sin-binned for ill discipline.
While a man down Saints fought hard to fashion two chances for Myler but they both went begging.
But the fly-half made it all square shortly after Hartley returned at the start of the second half.
Worcester responded strongly but when Goode needlessly kicked away possession in Saints' 22 the chance was gone.
Warriors were made to rue the decision when Myler got the visitors ahead for the first time with 55 minutes played.
Having put themselves in control, Saints were again down to 14 when Courtney Lawes saw yellow for a late hit.
Goode made it 15-15 from 40 metres but, as with the earlier binning, Saints kept the ball tight and won a shot at goal from the scrum.
Myler's kick came off the post but former Saint Neil Best then got himself sin-binned with 14 minutes to go.
Saints' spirits were lifted, they shunned the posts and went for the corner from where they mauled their way over for Samu Manoa to touchdown, although the try went unconverted.
And they again made their forward firepower count with a late penalty try after Worcester hauled down another promising maul close in.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Northampton coach Dorian West:
"You need to be able to play the game depending on the conditions, and I was really pleased with how we did that today.
"It was not the conditions to be throwing the ball around, it was a day for grinding it out, working hard for each other and sticking tight in the forwards.
"I thought we played the conditions very well. We showed that in the second half when we controlled field position, got the ball in the right areas and our forwards worked really hard.
"It's quite strange in that you are five points off the top four (as Northampton were before today) and you are getting written off by everybody, saying how poor you are.
"We know we've not been at our best, but you don't win trophies before Christmas."
Worcester head coach Richard Hill:
"A year ago you wouldn't have seen Worcester play with that intent of producing 15-man rugby.
"We did not finish things off but we have just got to persevere with that type of rugby. It is the rugby the players want to play.
"Today we got beaten by a power game. We knew what was coming with the scrum and the lineout maul and we couldn't deal with it.
"We are not getting the rewards for the rugby we are playing at the moment, but we will get them at some stage. There is huge self-belief in the squad.
"It would be a lie if I said I was not worried about the set-piece.
"It is a concern, but we are very confident that through the coaching and the players we will work out a strategy to get better. It was a bad scrummaging day today."
Classens; Drauniniu, Grove, Clarke, Lemi; Goode, Arr,; Mullan, Lutui, Murray; Percival, Schofield; Best, Betty, Kvesic.
Shervington for Lutui (51).
Foden; Wilson, G. Pisi, May, Elliott; Myler, Dickson; Tonga'uiha, Hartley, Mercey; Lawes, Sorenson; Manoa, Dowson, van Velze.
Waldouck for May (78), A. Waller for Tonga'uiha (62), Doran-Jones for Mercey (55), Oakley for Dowson (78), Haywood for van Velze (36).
Hartley (33), Lawes (58).
Greg Garner (RFU).