Premiership: Sale Sharks 26-10 Worcester Warriors
Sale (7) 26
- Cueto, Gaskell, Braid, Arscott
- Cipriani 3
Worcester (3) 10
Bottom club Worcester Warriors suffered a 13th successive Premiership defeat as Sale Sharks eased to a bonus-point victory on a wet night in Salford.
Worcester were still in the game at the break, trailing only 7-3 to a converted try from ex-England winger Mark Cueto.
But two more converted second-half tries from James Gaskell and home skipper Dan Braid stretched Sale clear.
Ofa Fainga'anuku then went over for Worcester, but Warriors old boy Tom Arscott crossed to have the final word.
Danny Cipriani had kicked Sale's three previous conversions, having previously missed with an early penalty, but Nick MacLeod failed with their final attempt.
Worcester had earlier taken the lead with the second of two penalty attempts by stand-off Ignacio Mieres. But, after full-back Pennell had made a good break upfield, loose handling allowed Sale an attacking platform, from which centre Will Addison kicked a superb chip to the left wing for the onrushing Cueto to gather and race over.
The Sharks went further ahead seven minutes after the break when Cipriani offloaded to Michael Patterson, who worked it along the line for number eight Gaskell to cross in the left corner. And, 10 minutes later, they were in again when flanker Braid crossed in a driving maul.
Worcester refused to lie down, Pennell landing the visitors' other successful kick when he successfully converted Fainga'anuku's 67th-minute pushover try - awarded eventually by the video referee.
The home side iced the cake when Arscott scored against his old club but, when Sale old boy Dean Schofield, on as an early second-half replacement for Mike Williams, thought he had done the same late on, this time the video ref ruled against the Warriors.
An eighth straight league defeat of the season for Worcester, who also lost their final five Premiership games of last season, leaves them still nine points adrift at the foot of the table.
Sale, who made six changes from their last Premiership outing when they were beaten 18-16 at home by Exeter, climb to sixth thanks to their fourth win in eight league games.
Worcester stripped out more than half their starting line-up for their last league outing, the 21-6 home defeat by Bath on 1 November, but, despite the confidence earned by winning in the LV= Cup at weakened Cardiff a fortnight ago, disappointed boss Dean Ryan discovered that he still does not have the winning formula for the Premiership.
Ryan's men now face second-placed Northampton at Sixways next Saturday, while Sale's next test is at leaders Saracens.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOMS
Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond:
"The bonus point puts a bit of icing on a badly-cut cake. We were frustrated with the performance for long periods of the game but you have to take those points.
"We were very disappointed the other week against Exeter, our discipline let us down. We like to win games at home and it's so difficult to win games away from home so we are pleased with the position we are in at this moment.
"We take every win and celebrate it because there comes a time when you don't get many of them. Worcester are going through that at the minute and we went through that last year."
Worcester director of rugby Dean Ryan:
"I thought for 50 minutes we were pretty resilient.
"At half-time we talked about being pretty confident and being able to push on. We showed a lot of resilience defensively and were difficult to break down, all the things we have shown in recent weeks.
"I'm not down on the guys I thought the effort was fantastic. I don't accept that it's a flat performance. It was a competitive performance that slipped away from us at a pivotal moment."
FRIDAY NIGHT'S LINE-UPS
Sale: Miller; Arscott, Addison, Tuitupou, Cueto; Cipriani, Peel; Lewis-Roberts, Jones, Thomas, Mills, Paterson, Braid (capt), Seymour, Gaskell.
Replacements: Cobilas for Thomas (42), Taylor for Jones (54), Harrison for Lewis-Roberts (58), Cliff for Peel (63), Ostrikov for Mills (65), Easter for Gaskell (71), MacLeod for Cipriani (74).
Not Used: Jennings.
Worcester: Pennell; Stephenson, Grove, Fatiaki, Hammond; Mieres, Arr; Fainga'anuku, Brooker, O'Donnell, Percival, Williams; Thomas (capt), Betty, Senatore.
Replacements: Hodgson for Arr (41), Matavesi for Hammond (49), Andress for O'Donnell (49), Schofield for Williams (50), Warwick for Mieres (62), Becasseau for Fainga'anuku (68), Shervington for Brooker (71).
Not Used: De Carpentier.
Referee: Andrew Small (RFU).