Newcastle Falcons stun Northampton

Date published: February 21 2016

Newcastle picked up only their fourth win of the Premiership season as they stunned Northampton 26-25 at Kingston Park on Sunday.

Dean Richards' men were excellent in the first half and deservedly took a 20-11 lead into the break via Alex Tait and Chris Harries tries, while Andy Goode added the rest from the tee. 

In contrast, the Saints struggled to find the form of the previous two weeks but did manage 11 points before the interval through Jamie Gibson's touchdown and two Stephen Myler penalties. 

Northampton improved significantly after the break, despite Goode adding two further three-pointers, as Lee Dickson scored twice, but it wasn't enough to snatch the win. 

Newcastle struggled in the early part of the campaign but have picked up in recent weeks, securing impressive home victories over Bath, Harlequins and Leicester Tigers. 

They took that confidence into this encounter and dominated early on. Goode, a player who has been particularly sharp since arriving on a short-term contract, controlled operations neatly from stand-off and his long pass landed in the arms of Tait who touched down. 

Northampton responded immediately and, following a spell of pressure on the opposition line, Gibson barged over from close range. Unlike Goode, Myler was unsuccessful with the conversion but the pivot did manage a penalty six minutes later as the Midlands' outfit went in front for the first time. 

The respective fly-halves then traded efforts off the tee as the Saints maintained their one-point buffer, but the Falcons lifted the intensity and moved backed ahead. 

Simon Hammersley, so influential throughout, played a vital part in their second try and Harris was the player to finish it off. Goode added the extras and also kicked a penalty on the stroke of half-time for a 20-11 advantage at the break. 

Newcastle's fly-half was also to the fore in the second period and was successful off the tee twice more. 

At 26-11, it seemed a long way back for Northampton but their scrum began to dominate and a powerful surge allowed Dickson the space to cross the whitewash. 

The hosts were now under significant pressure with the Saints' pack gaining a stranglehold on proceedings and they conceded another try. 

This time it was the driving maul that had the desired effect as the visitors' scrum-half bundled his way over the line again. Jim Mallinder's men looked for the winning score but the Falcons held on.

The scorers:

For Newcastle:
Tait, Harris
Cons: Goode 2
Pen: Goode 4

For Northampton:
Dickson 2, Gibson
Cons: Hanrahan 2
Pens: Myler 2

Newcastle: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Marcus Watson, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Michael Young, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch (c), 6 Mark Wilson, 4 Mouritz Botha, 3 Taione Vea, 2. Scott Lawson,  1. Rob Vickers
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 19 Josh Furno, 20 Nili Latu, 21 Sonatane Takulua, 22 Craig Willis, 23 Juan Socino

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Harry Mallinder, 11 James Wilson, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson,(c) 8 Sam Dickinson, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Christian Day, 4 James Craig, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Victor Matfield, 20 Teimana Harrison, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 George Pisi

Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Luke Pearce, Andy Watson
TMO: David Sainsbury