London Irish ran in three first-half tries as they saw off a stubborn Newcastle side 22-21 at the Madejski for their Saint Patrick's Day game.
Three first-half tries were enough for Irish despite a spirited display by Newcastle. The win means the Exeils are now seven points ahead of the Falcons, who both look set to finish in the bottom three.
Irish went into the game tenth, with Newcastle just one place below them. Both sides would have been forgiven for finding motivation difficult, considering the fact that London Welsh are doomed to relgation.
London Irish had won only two Premiership games in 2015 before the game, so will have been relieved when Halani Aulika coasted over after just three minutes against a shell-shocked Newcastle side.
Falcons' form this season hasn't been much better, and Dean Richards' men found themselves 14-0 down after just twelve minutes. Scott Steele skipped over for his first try for the club, though Tom Catterick did get Newcastle off the mark a few moments later with a penalty.
London Irish held a decent lead, but discipline was proving an issue. Shane Geraghty and David Paice were sent to the bin, meaning Catterick was able to cut the gap with another penalty.
Newcastle's defence was still an issue, and Andy Fenby scored the third Irish try on the stroke of half-time, after a quick check with the TMO.
Falcons came out fighting in the second-half, and had a try disallowed as well as pushing hard at the Irish line. Catterick did eventually knock over a penalty, but with the scores at 19-9 there was a sense that Falcons needed to cross the whitewash if they were to salvage a result from Berkshire.
They did exactly that, with Chris Harris racing over the line, despite losing a boot on his way. That put the game back in the balance, as Irish failed to build on their impressive first half display.
With five points the gap, the next score would be crucial. They came to Irish, who kicked a penalty to all but seal the win. There was a late scare though, with Adam Powell keeping Irish on their toes with two minutes to go.
For London Irish:
Tries: Aulika, Steele, Fenby
Pens: Geraghty 2, Noakes
Yellow Cards: Geraghty, Paice, Sinclair
Tries: Harris, Powell
Pens: Catterick 3
Yellow Cards: Furno
London Irish: 15 Andrew Fenby, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Eamonn Sheridan, 11 Tom Fowlie, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Scott Steele, 8 Tom Guest, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Conor Gilsenan, 5 Nic Rouse, 4 George Skivington (c), 3 Halani Aulika, 2 David Paice, 1 Tom Court
Replacements: 16 Jimmy Stevens, 17 Matt Parr, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 Luke Narraway, 21 Darren Allinson, 22 Chris Noakes, 23 Topsy Ojo
Newcastle: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Tom Catterick, 9 Ruki Tipuna, 8 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (c), 6 Richard Mayhew, 5 Dom Barrow, 4 Kane Thompson, 4 Kane Thompson, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Rob Vickers
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Juan Orlandi, 19 Josh Furno, 20 Andy Saull, 21 Andy Davies, 22 Juan Socino, 23 Chris Harris
Venue: Madejski Stadium, Reading
Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant Referees: Kelvin Stewart, Andrew Pearce
TMO: Stuart Terheege