Newcastle made it three from three in the Amlin Challenge Cup with a 17-6 victory over Montauban keeping them top of Pool Five.
Newcastle made it three from three in the Amlin Challenge Cup on Thursday with a 17-6 win over Montauban keeping them top of Pool Five.
The Falcons made it three successive Pool Five wins, opening up a six-point gap on Montauban ahead of next week's return fixture in France.
Full-back Alex Tait stormed over for the game's solitary try during a game littered with unforced handling errors from both teams.
Fly-half Jimmy Gopperth's four penalties helped Newcastle recover from a 6-3 interval deficit after Johan Dalla Riva and Cedric Coll dropped goals for the visitors.
With only the five pool winners reaching the last eight this season – the remaining three places will be filled by Heineken Cup teams – Newcastle have put themselves in pole position.
They crucially denied Montauban a losing bonus point by defending strongly during the closing stages when the French side threatened a close-range score.
Falcons scrum-half Micky Young, back in the side after injury, cajoled and prompted at the heels of a dominant Newcastle pack.
But the home team were guilty of wasting several chances before Tait's touchdown produced a huge collective sigh of relief in the Newcastle camp.
Gopperth missed the conversion, yet his four penalties – three in the second half as Newcastle posted 14 unanswered points – ensured victory.
Pens: Gopperth 4
Drop goals: Coll, Dalla Riva
Newcastle: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Charlie Amesbury, 13 Gcobani Bobo, 12 Tane Tu'ipulotu, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Micky Young, 8 Filipo Levi, 7 Will Welch, 6 Josh Afu, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 James Hudson, 3 Carl Hayman (c), 2 Matt Thompson, 1 Laurence Ovens.
Replacements: 16 Rob Vickers, 17 Micky Ward, 18 Grant Shiells, 19 Peter Browne, 20 Ed Williamson, 21 Hall Charlton, 22 Rob Miller, 23 Tom Catterick.
Montauban: 15 Johan Dalla Riva, 14 Jean Emmanuel Cassin, 13 Andrew Henderson, 12 FÃ©lix Le Bourhis, 11 Adrien Figueiredo, 10 CÃ©dric Coll, 9 Julien Audy, 8 Brice Mach, 7 Alejandro Campos, 6 Romain Sazy, 5 Scott Murray, 4 Rowan Frost, 3 Silviu Florea, 2 Mirko Lozupone, 1 Goderzi Shvelidze.
Replacements: 16 GrÃ©gory Arganese, 17 Nick Adams, 18 Benjamin Sa, 19 Abdellatif Boutaty, 20 Matthew Clarkin, 21 Mathieu Belie, 22 Julien Larroque, 23 Shannon Paku,
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: David Wilkinson (Ireland), Sean Flannery (Ireland)
Television match official: David McHugh (Ireland)