Bristol 22 Worcester 17
One moment of madness may yet cost Worcester their Guinness Premiership status as, with the Warriors pushing for a crucial winning score in the final minute, second row Craig Gillies used his boot over-zealously on Bristol openside Joe El Abd.
Gillies was red carded after referee Wayne Barnes consulted with his touch judge. Bristol were awarded the penalty and cleared to end the game.
Gillies was clearly devastated as the gravity of the situation hit home. Worcester had driven to within a metre of the Bristol line and referee Barnes was playing an advantage. The Warriors' Premiership survival was tantalisingly close.
John Brain was philosophical after the game: "We mauled it forward and we had an advantage so it's extremely unfortunate to give that up because I felt that we could snatch the game."
He didn't admit as such but Brain was probably thinking of how he could have done with a finisher like Bristol's David Lemi. The Samoan international may only have lasted an hour but, in that time, he unlocked the Worcester defence on two separate occasions and his brace ultimately proved to be the difference between the two teams.
To be fair, Worcester's own left winger, Thinus Delport, had conjured up his own piece of magic in first-half injury time as he danced his way through a static Bristol defence to take Worcester into the lead.
But, with the match on the line, Delport fumbled away a gilt-edged scoring opportunity as he outpaced Lee Robinson in a chase for a beautifully weighted chip through from Nick Runciman. Had he held on, Gillies may not have been driven to his final action of the game.
Brain's men came into the match having enjoyed a two week layoff whilst Bristol had defeated Northampton Saints and crashed out of the European Challenge Cup.
Would the Warriors emerge revitalised or have lost the momentum gained in chalking up three consecutive Premiership wins?
For the first half hour, it looked as though it would be the former. Drahm had nudged Worcester into an 11th minute lead but the Warriors were then left hanging on for their lives as Bristol put together 20 minutes of slick rugby during which time they scored two excellent tries and opened up a 12-3 lead.
It took a moment of audacity and class from Drahm to get Worcester back into the game. Seemingly pinned back in his own 22, he took a quick lineout to launch an attack from the deep. Moments later Mark Tucker was crossing in the left hand corner for the first Worcester score.
Delport's moment of brilliance rocked the home team and the Warriors looked to be in the box seat with a 17-12 lead at half-time.
But a funny thing happened on the way to winning. Having taken the lead play-ing open, adventurous rugby, Worcester reverted to type. They kicked long, they kept it tight and they waited for errors to come.
In doing so, they handed the initiative back to Bristol who slowly but surely regained momentum culminating in Lemi's second try on 52 minutes and Danny Gray's 72nd minute drop goal.
With just a few minutes to go and staring defeat in the face, Worcester opened up again and came oh so close. Why hadn't they done so earlier?
"There were a lot of positives and we are not that far away," said Brain. "We can go to London Irish next week and know we will be in the mix and know that we will have a competitive chance of winning that game."
BRISTOL: Arscott; Robinson, Brew, Cox, Lemi (Lima 59); Gray, Perry; Hilton, Regan (Linklater 6-15), Crompton, Winters, Llewellyn (capt), To'oala (Budgett 53), El Abd, Blowers.
WORCESTER: Drahm; Havili (Lombard 63), Rasmussen, Tucker, Delport; Brown (Best 72), Runciman; Morris, Fortey (Lutui 52), Horsman, Gillies, Murphy (Blaze 63), Horstmann (Windo 40), Sanderson (capt), Hickey (Quinnell 49-51 & 72). ..SUPL: