Newcastle edge Saints

Date published: November 25 2016

Vereniki Goneva's late try sees Newcastle beat 14 man Northampton 22-16 at Franklin's Gardens.

Joel Hodgson scored the only try of the first half as Newcastle went into the break with an 8-3 lead. They were given a further boost ahead of the second 40 as ex-Falcon Kieran Brookes was shown a red card for a shoulder charge. 

Saints rallied after the break courtesy of Christian Day's try, only to be cut back by Will Witty as the visitors took their lead back. And they were able to seal the win late on through Vereniki Goneva, picking up only their second away win in 27 games. 

It took only a matter of minutes for the Falcons to go over for the opening try, and it was a familiar face who came back to haunt the hosts. Hodgson found the space to edge into the right-hand corner, finishing off Goneva's break downfield. He was unable to convert with his first kick of the afternoon, but almost saw his side go 10 points clear. 

Marcus Watson went through on the left-hand side and over, with Goneva again doing wonders in the build-up. But the TMO halted the celebrations and saved Saints blushes, deeming there to have been an infringement earlier in the move. 

Stephen Myler got Saints onto the board with a penalty on 17 minutes, cutting the gap to two and punishing Newcastle for not getting the points their dominance deserved. It was the turn of Northampton to get their hopes up next, as the TMO ruined another party after deeming that Ben Foden had knocked on in the process. 

Falcons were stronger going forward and after pressuring the Saints line, added three more points to restore the five point lead. Hodgson kicked over three minutes before the break, putting Newcastle into an 8-3 lead at half time. That wasn't where the drama ended though. 

Saints were dealt a major blow on the brink of half-time when Kieran Brookes was shown a red card for a shoulder charge, not the best way to reintroduce himself to his former teammates. But if Newcastle thought the task was done, they were soon given a wake-up call. 

The TMO gave the thumbs up at the third attempt early in the second half, confirming that Northampton had successfully grounded the ball after a drive over the line. Day was the man who had the final touch, Saints 1000th Premiership try, with the two from Myler putting the hosts into an unlikely lead. The fly-half put the lead up to five with a penalty from 40 metres, but Falcons finally made the extra man count with a second try. 

A drive from close range had bodies flying, but Witty stopped Saints making a mockery of the man disadvantage as he went in under bodies. Hodgson's conversion saw Newcastle retake the lead with 15 minutes to play. It was a nervy finale at the Gardens, as Myler kicked Saints back into a single point lead. 

But that didn't last, as Goneva stole victory at the end. Having been provider at the beginning, he was responsible for the victory after intercepting and launching himself forward to make the line.

Hodgson's two made it 22-16 with four to play, and Falcons were able to see out the most dramatic of victories, ending a run of four defeats.

The scorers:

For Saints:
Try: Day
Con: Myler 
Pens: Myler 3
Red Card: Brookes

For Newcastle:
Tries: Hodgson, Witty, Goneva
Cons: Hodgson 2
Pen: Hodgson

Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Tom Collins, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Tom Kessell, 8 Ben Nutley, 7 Jamie Gibson, 6 Michael Paterson, 5 Christian Day (c), 4 James Craig, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Jordan Onojaife, 20 Lewis Ludlam, 21 Nic Groom, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 James Wilson

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Dominic Waldouck, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Marcus Watson, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Michael Young, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Mark Wilson (c), 6 Callum Chick, 5 Will Witty, 4 Calum Green, 3 David Wilson, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Rob Vickers
Replacements: 16 Ben Sowrey, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Scott Wilson, 19 Nick Civetta, 20 Opeti Fonua, 21 Sam Egerton, 22 Brett Connon, 23 Fred Burdon

Referee: Andrew Jackson
Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell, Jonathan Healy
TMO: David Sainsbury