Newcastle Falcons held their nerve for a first Aviva Premiership away win since 2014, showing tremendous defensive discipline to defeat Gloucester on Saturday.
Alex Tait’s try on 67 minutes proved the difference as they won at Kingsholm for the first time since April 2012, Dominic Waldouck having gone over for their opening score.
The sides had been tied 10-10 at the midway stage, Newcastle getting off to a stormer of a start.
Simon Hammersley was on hand to prevent a potential Gloucester try with a crucial interception inside his own half, and within nine minutes his team were seven points to the good.
Waldouck was the man to dot down his first try for the club, the centre collecting a two-on-one from Juan Pablo Socino after eager counter-mauling from Evan Olmstead and Rob Vickers had forced a turnover in Gloucester’s red zone.
Mike Delany chipped over the simple conversion, the Cherry and Whites wasting little time in hitting back as Wales flanker Ross Moriarty ran a hard blind-side line to score down the right.
Billy Burns converted, the fly-half putting Gloucester three ahead with a penalty on 22 minutes as the home side enjoyed a period of sustained pressure in the Newcastle half. The Falcons’ defensive resolve was being given a thorough examination, but Dean Richards’ side ended the opening 40 strongly.
Alex Tait’s willingness to counter-attack and Delany’s fantastic support line almost created a breakthrough, but it was to the kicking tee that they turned when a high shot from Moriarty handed Delany a 35th minute leveller from 40 metres out.
That tied the teams up at the interval, Gloucester denied a try early into the second half when the video referee correctly ruled Henry Purdy to have knocked on in trying to claim Burns’ chip to the left corner.
Burns fell short with a long-range penalty shot from wide on the left as the sense of frustration grew among the home crowd, the home side kicking the next penalty into touch but losing the line-out as Newcastle’s resolve held firm.
Gloucester shipped on Greig Laidlaw, James Hook and Billy Twelvetres in an attempt to find a way through, but it was the visitors who nudged themselves ahead when scrum pressure handed Delany a penalty 40 metres out in front.
The Kiwi made no mistake to the dismay of the home crowd, who were drawn to sheer silence on 67 minutes when Alex Tait’s try in the right corner from a blind-side foray put the visitors eight points up.
It was brutal and business-like for a Falcons side who were maintaining an incredible defensive line, regenerating after every breakdown into a wall of black before closing out the game with a period of pressure around the home try-line for a precious away scalp.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Simon Hammersley (Belisario Agulla, 32), 14 Alex Tait, 13 Dominic Waldouck, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Mike Delany (Joel Hodgson, 72), 9 Sonatane Takulua (Michael Young, 52); 1 Rob Vickers (Alex Rogers, 69), 2 Scott Lawson, 3 Jon Welsh, 4 Calum Green (Will Witty, 74), 5 Evan Olmstead, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (captain), 8 Ally Hogg.
Falcons scorers – Tries: Dominic Waldouck, Alex Tait. Conversions: Mike Delany. Penalties: Mike Delany 2.
Gloucester: 15 Tom Marshall (Gareth Evans, 75), 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Matt Scott (Billy Twelvetrees, 51), 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 Billy Burns (James Hook, 51), 9 Willi Heinz (captain); 1 Yann Thomas (Cameron Orr, 51), 2 Richard Hibbard (Darren Dawidiuk, 53), 3 John Afoa (Paul Doran-Jones, 64), 4 Tom Savage, 5 Mariano Galarza (Joe Latta, 59), 6 Ross Moriarty, 7 Jacob Rowan, 8 Ben Morgan.
Gloucester scorers – Tries: Ross Moriarty. Conversions: Billy Burns. Penalties: Billy Burns, Greig Laidlaw.
Referee: Dean Richards. Attendance: 12,050.
Marshall, Sharples, Scott, Atkinson, Purdy, Burns, Heinz, Thomas, Hibbard, Afoa, Savage, Galarza, Moriarty, Rowan, Morgan
Replacements Dawidiuk, Orr, Doran-Jones, Latta, Evans, Laidlaw, Hook, Twelvetrees
Hammersley, Tait, Waldouck, Socino, Sinoti, Delany, Takulua, Vickers, Lawson, Welsh, Green, Olmstead, Wilson, Welch, Hogg
Replacements Sowrey, Rogers, Ryan, Witty, Temm, Young, Hodgson, Agulla
referee: Dean Richards
assistant: Andrew Jackson
assistant: Jonathan Healy
TMO: David Sainsbury