Jim Mallinder admitted Calum Clark’s late sin-binning was ‘silly’ - but praised the flanker for a ‘very pleasing game’ in the win at Worcester.
Clark was yellow carded for throwing an opposition player to the ground after Bryce Heem had scored a try a minute from time for the Warriors.
Jamie Shillcock landed the conversion and then lined up a penalty from the restart, with the clock dead.
But the fledgling Worcester fly-half sent his kick to the right of the posts, to the relief of Clark and Saints, who won it 18-17 thanks to six penalties from Stephen Myler.
It was a fourth successive victory in all competitions for Mallinder’s men, who move up to sixth in the Aviva Premiership table.
And the director of rugby said: “It is all about winning.
“It wasn’t a good start, going 10-3 down, but we really came back into the game, controlled it, put them under pressure, kept building our lead and you thought that at 18-10 up with a couple of minutes to go, we would win the game.
“There were a couple of mistakes, first of all a bit in defence, then a lack of discipline, and it gave them a chance - but fortunately they didn’t take it.”
And on the Clark incident, Mallinder said: “He just got a bit of a shoulder charge and reacted to it, which was silly, but when you’re out there, it’s a completely different thing.
“Overall, I thought Calum had a really good game, he was very good at the breakdown and got some good turnovers.
“Generally, it was a very pleasing game for Calum.”