Newcastle Falcons felt the full force of London Irish on Friday night at Kingston Park Stadium, with the Exiles taking all five points from the Gallagher Premiership encounter.
The hosts trailed 28-14 at half-time but began the game with gusto, winning the ball back from their own short kick-off.
When they kicked a penalty to the corner there was no return on the scoreboard as London Irish pilfered a jackal turnover to relieve the danger, and it was the visitors who were to dominate the half.
The Exiles were more clinical when presented with set-piece ball in prime position, scoring the game’s opening try from a five-metre scrum when they scrambled the ball away from the base and into the hands of Kyle Rowe, who scored in the right corner.
Paddy Jackson converted impressively from the touchline, but the Falcons responded well and were level within three minutes – Sean Robinson showing fantastic leg-drive from a carry five metres out in front to cross for the converted try.
Within five minutes, however, Robinson was off the field, having been sin-binned by referee Karl Dickson for side entry at a ruck near his own try-line.
The extra man told almost instantly, London Irish taking scrum ball from the resulting penalty and seeing Fijian No.8 Albert Tuisue scoring from the scrum base.
Jackson converted, and was doing so again just four minutes later when they kicked a penalty to the right corner for Agustin Creevy to score from a driving maul.
But it was Newcastle who had the last say of the half, a snipe from Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti building a spell of red-zone pressure which delivered repeated penalties, and eventually a try for Ben Stevenson.
The Teessider showed his finishing power to score in the left corner amid heavy pressure, Joel Hodgson curling in a beautiful touchline conversion to reduce London Irish’s half-time lead to 28-14.
Newcastle continued their momentum after the break, with George Wacokecoke and Mateo Carreras making big yardage gains to pile on the penalty pressure. But converting it into points continued to prove difficult as the visitors repelled Newcastle’s waves of attack.
The Exiles regained their spark around the hour mark when it took another scrambling run from Hodgson to deny them a try from a grubber down the left, but it proved only a temporary reprieve when Curtis Rona scored from a quick tap five metres out on the hour mark.
Matt Cornish added their sixth try on 73 minutes when he scored in the left corner from a cross-field kick by Jackson, the fly-half who maintained his 100% kicking record with another touchline conversion on a disappointing night for the Falcons and their supporters.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Penny, 14 Mateo Carreras, 13 George Wacokecoke (Luther Burrell, 67), 12 Max Wright (Adam Radwan, 61), 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Joel Hodgson (Will Haydon-Wood, 67), 9 Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti; 1 Adam Brocklebank (Kyle Cooper, 57), 2 George McGuigan (Jamie Blamire, 61), 3 Trevor Davison (Mark Tampin, 57), 4 Philip van der Walt (Freddie Lockwood, 57), 5 Sean Robinson, 6 Josh Basham, 7 Will Welch (captain), 8 Callum Chick (Gary Graham, 69).
Scorers - Tries: Sean Robinson, Ben Stevenson. Conversions: Joel Hodgson 2.
London Irish: 15 Tom Parton, 14 Kyle Rowe, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Benhard van Rensburg, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins (Will Joseph, 68), 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Nick Phipps (Ben White, 60); 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke, 2 Agustin Creevy (Matt Cornish, 59), 3 Marcel van der Merwe (Ciaran Parker, 51), 4 Rob Simmons, 5 Adam Coleman, 6 Matt Rogerson (captain), 7 Tom Pearson, 8 Albert Tuisue (Sean O’Brien, 60).
Scorers - Tries: Kyle Rowe, Albert Tuisue, Agustin Creevy, Ollie Hassell-Collins, Curtis Rona, Matt Cornish. Conversions: Paddy Jackson 6.
Referee: Karl Dickson. Attendance: 4,780.
Penny, Carreras, Wacokecoke, Wright, Stevenson, Hodgson, Nordli-Kelemeti, Brocklebank, McGuigan, Davison, van der Walt, Robinson, Basham, Welch, Chick
Replacements Blamire, Cooper, Tampin, Lockwood, Graham, Haydon-Wood, Burrell, Radwan
Parton, Rowe, Rona, Janse van Rensburg, Hassell-Collins, Jackson, Phipps, Goodrick-Clarke, Creevy, van der Merwe, Simmons, Coleman, Rogerson, Pearson, Tuisue
Replacements Cornish, Gigena, Parker, Mafi, O'Brien, White, Joseph, Arundell
referee: Karl Dickson
assistant: Hamish Smales
assistant: John Meredith
TMO: David Rose