Newcastle Falcons were unable to make it two wins on the spin in Pool 3 of the Amlin Challenge Cup after they succumbed to a 23-16 defeat away to Brive.
A late Alifi Mafi try secured the spoils for the Frenchmen, who now top the group ahead of Dean Richards’ troops.
Donning their brand new green and white European kit for the second week running, the Falcons began the contest sharply but found themselves behind on six minutes courtesy of a penalty from Brive centre Thomas Laranjeira. Laranjeiro had the chance to repeat the feat moments later but his effort whistled past the left hand post.
Just before the half hour mark the Falcons went ahead thanks to a debut try from Scott Lawson following a dominant rolling maul. Turning down two shots at goal in favour of the kick into the corner, Newcastle got their just reward to lead 5-3. Godman was unable to add the extras from out wide.
On 32 minutes Brive thought they had regained the lead when Mafi latched onto a kick through to touchdown, but the try was chalked off for offside to the dismay of a typically boisterous French crowd.
Laranjeiro slotted home a penalty 15 metres in from the left touchline shortly after the disallowed try, before a Brive counter-attack produced a score on the stroke of half-time. Laranjeiro converted for a 13-5 interval lead.
After making his return from injury in last weekend’s narrow victory at Bucharest Wolves, Ryan Shortland opened up his account for the season with a try in the corner. Using his electric pace down the left, the Kiwi flyer left his marker for dead to slide over. Godman failed to get enough purchase on the conversion and the Falcons trailed 13-10.
Two quick-fire Godman penalties put the Falcons 16-13 ahead on 56 minutes, but with the northeasterners looking good value for the win, their task was made more difficult when Oliver Tomaszczyk was sin-binned for a late shoulder charge. The challenge sparked a scuffle, and Tomaszczyk was given his marching orders after confirmation from the video ref. Laranjeiro squared the game up at 16-16 with the resulting penalty.
Godman missed a penalty 30 metres out in front of goal with less than 15 minutes remaining, three points which would have edged his side ahead.
And on 67 minutes Brive took advantage of the extra man with winger Mafi crashing over in the corner. Laranjeiro rubber stamped the victory for Brive by nailing the conversion.
Tickets are still available for the Falcons’ next home Aviva Premiership game against London Irish on Sunday 27 October by calling the Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060 or click here to purchase online (kick-off 3pm).
Brive: Laurent Ferreres; Alfifeleti Mafi, Sevanaia Galala, Thomas Laranjeira, Venione Voretamaya; Romain Sola, Damien Neveu; Damien Lavergne, , Tamato Leupolu, Victor Lebas, Simon Pinet, Fabien Laurent, Hugues Briatte, Kieran Murphy
Replacements: Francois Da Ros, Johannes Coetzee, Victor Laval, Tjiuee Uanivi, Said Hireche, Romain Kusiolek, Anderson Neisen, Baptiste Delage
Newcastle Falcons: Alex Tait; Noah Cato, Adam Powell, James Fitzpatrick, Ryan Shortland; Phil Godman, Warren Fury (c); Rob Vickers, Scott Lawson, Scott Wilson, Fraser McKenzie, Sean Tomes, Dom Barrow, Mark Wilson, Chris York
Replacements: George McGuigan, Grant Shiells, Oliver Tomaszczyk, Scott MacLeod, Allister Hogg, Chris Pilgrim, Joel Hodgson, Sean Brown