Exeter made it two wins from three in the Aviva Premiership thanks to an impressive 22-17 victory over Newcastle at Sandy Park.
Exeter made it two wins from three in the Aviva Premiership thanks to an impressive 22-17 victory over Newcastle at Sandy Park on Saturday.
Fly-half Gareth Steenson booted the Premiership newcomers past the Falcons, who scored two tries to the Chiefs' one. But it was Steenson's five penalties – along with one conversion – which made the difference.
Steenson fired the Chiefs ahead on four minutes with a penalty from the left touchline and the Falcons were reduced to 14 men when flanker Redford Pennycock was sinbinned by referee Greg Garner for a late tackle on Steenson.
The home side could not capitalise and when Falcons were back to full strength quick ball from a scrum enabled Charlie Amesbury to score under the posts with fly-half Jimmy Gopperth adding the extras.
But the Chiefs regained the lead on the half hour as scrum-half Haydn Thomas released impressive flanker Tom Johnson at pace and his try was converted by Steenson.
Gopperth landed a long-range penalty to level the scores at 10-10 but the visitors lost skipper James Hudson to a leg injury minutes before the break.
Chiefs started the second half full of determination and conceded two penalties which Steenson landed for a 16-10 lead.
The Falcons nudged ahead when Luke Eves gave the scoring pass for fellow centre Rob Vickerman to power over the line.
Gopperth converted to make it 17-16 but the Chiefs hit back immediately as Steenson landed his fourth penalty.
Steenson's next attempt, a couple of minutes later from the other side of the pitch, fell short.
But with five minutes remaining on the clock his fifth penalty, making it 22-17, took the Chiefs within sight of another home victory to follow the scalp of Gloucester.
The Falcons mounted a late assault but could not find a way through a determined home defence.
Pen: Steenson 5
Tries: Amesbury, Vickerman
Con: Gopperth 2
Exeter: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Nic Sestaret, 13 Phil Dollman, 12 Bryan Rennie, 11 Mark Foster, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 James Phillips, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 James Hanks, 4 Tom Hayes (c), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Neil Clark, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Simon Alcott, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Chris Budgen, 19 Dave Gannon, 20 Chad Slade, 21 Junior Poluleuligaga, 22 Ryan Davis, 23 Andrew Higgins.
Newcastle: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Gcobani Bobo, 13 Rob Vickerman, 12 Luke Eves, 11 Charlie Amesbury, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Micky Young, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Redford Pennycook, 6 Brent Wilson, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 James Hudson (c), 3 Tim Ryan, 2 Rob Vickers, 1 Jon Golding.
Replacements: 16 Kieran Brookes, 17 Micky Ward, 18 Grant Shiells, 19 Glen Townson, 20 Will Welch, 21 Chris Pilgrim, 22 Jeremy Manning, 23 Luke Fielden
Referee: Greg Garner