A drop goal in the final 10 seconds from Worcester Warriors secured the visitors top spot in Pool 2 of the Challenge Cup.
A solid start from the Ospreys saw them steal the ball early on after defending a lineout in their 22. A swift counter-attack taking them deep into opposition territory.
A penalty at the scrum saw Luke Price opting for the corner, George North going close with a good break.
The Ospreys continued plugging away at the defence but an offload from Scott Williams was intercepted by lock Darren Brady who raced upfield to reach the Ospreys 22, his offload to Jonny Arr sending the scrum-half over in the corner for the opening try despite Cory Allen’s efforts. The conversion from Scott Van Breda taking them 7-0 ahead.
It was almost déjà vu as the Ospreys struck back with Worcester on the attack just outside the opposition 22, where a miss pass from Worcester was picked out of the by Keelan Giles. Racing up field and shrugging off a high tackle in the process, the wing raced over in the corner for the Ospreys first try. The conversion from Price was just shy which meant the score was 5-7 with just under 20 minutes played.
Momentum was firmly with the Ospreys, a kick straight out from the restart from the Warriors gifted the Ospreys the scrum. Looking to go again, a chip through from Dan Evans freed Giles and Allen in the chase. Good pressure from the pair forced Worcester to knock on and lose the ball backwards, but as Allen looked to make the grounding over the line, the ball rolled over the dead ball line to deny him the try.
Going back for the initial knock-on, a penalty at the scrum for the Ospreys set Price up with the penalty to slot the three to put the Ospreys just ahead.
Worcester looked to claim back their lead, but a resilient defence from the Ospreys won the hosts the penalty to take play back into Worcester’s half. A strong set-piece put North in for the break, setting up Olly Cracknell for the try. Price added the extras to put the Ospreys eight ahead.
Half time – Ospreys 15 – 7 Worcester Warriors
It was even stevens after the restart, both sides struggling to gain the upper hand, but in the 55th minute, Ollie Lawrence blitzed his way through the Ospreys defence for the Warriors second try. Van Breda missed the conversion to keep the Ospreys just ahead 15-12.
The Ospreys were back on the attack again but an interception from try-scorer Lawrence saw the centre race from his own 22 into the Ospreys with North hot on his heels. North’s presence forced Lawrence to lose his footing before he could reach the tryline, but as both teams battled for possession the referee awarded a yellow card to North for the infringement.
Taking advantage of the extra man, Worcester worked the ball out wide and Dean Hammond made the break for the try, which went unconverted. Regardless, the visitors now led by two, 15-17, with almost an hour played.
Despite being a man short, the Ospreys were able to play out the rest of the sinbin period relatively trouble free, their kicking game drawing groans from the home support but ensuring the game was being played deep inside Worcester territory.
With just five minutes left to play, the Ospreys continued to push forward and eventually earned the penalty in line with the posts. Sam Davies slotted the three to take the Ospreys just one point ahead at 18-17.
From the restart, Ospreys looked to protect the ball and took play back into Worcester’s half. The Warriors defending well kept their hosts at bay and denied them any headway as the clock ran down.
With barely 90 seconds to play, the Ospreys were in possession, inside the Worcester half, when the ball was kicked away, allowing Worcester to secure the ball, winning a penalty on halfway that allowed them to go to the corner.
They built their way through the phases and Ryan Mills slotted the drop goal for our opponents with less than 10 seconds left to play to clinch the win.