A thrilling game of fast-paced rugby saw Newcastle Falcons claim their first victory of the season against Exeter Chiefs at Kingston Park today.
A second-half surge saw Newcastle Falcons claim their first win of the Aviva Premiership season as they triumphed over Exeter Chiefs 29-24 at Kingston Park.
The Devon outfit looked to be in the driving seat with a seven-point lead around the hour mark, but were hit by two tries in as many minutes as Tom Catterick and Noah Cato struck the decisive blows.
An open and entertaining first half saw the lead changing hands repeatedly; Exeter first out of the blocks when prolific No 8 Thomas Waldrom rewarded their decision to kick a close-range penalty into touch rather than towards the posts.
The former England man rumbled over at the back of a well-constructed rolling maul, Gareth Steenson's attempted conversion held up by a strong Kingston Park wind.
Newcastle responded with a strong period of play, Juan Pablo Socino drilling over a 42-metre penalty with the elements in his favour.
His side had the lead soon after when a solid scrum on half-way saw Ruki Tipuna and half-back partner Socino combining to send the Argentinian through.
Mark Wilson, Dom Barrow and Alex Tait all offered supporting runs as Exeter scrambled, the Chiefs unable to resist the temptation to infringe as Socino slotted a penalty from the 22.
Tom James' surge for the line saw Tait putting in a try-saving tackle as the Chiefs countered, but there was no stopping Ben White on 21 minutes when the flanker clawed in a long, looping pass in the Falcons' 22 for the visitors' second try.
Sinoti Sinoti continued his storming start to the season with the touch-down which returned the lead in the Falcons' favour, the Samoan on hand to run it in from the 22 following Ally Hogg's cutting break down the right wing.
Socino's boot extended the advantage to 14-10 with a penalty from the half-way line, but a see-saw game tipped Exeter's way with the final play of the half when the video referee awarded Henry Slade a try from a diagonal run in the left corner.
Only three minutes of the second half had elapsed before Newcastle were back in front, line-out pressure delivering the penalty from which Socino slotted his fourth successful kick.
Strong ruck work from Scott Lawson won a vital turnover on his own 22 as the Chiefs searched for an in-road, finding it on 53 minutes when Steenson curled over a penalty from the left wing.
The Irish fly-half had found his range after a patchy first half with the boot, slotting a second penalty from 25 metres out in front as their lead was stretched to four.
A big defensive work-load was asking questions of the Falcons, but solid line-out ball and the back-row running of Mark Wilson had them on the front foot around the hour mark with the game nicely poised.
A quadruple substitution yielded no change in the scoring pattern as a scrum penalty allowed Steenson to extend the score to 24-17 in the visitors' favour, the Falcons finding some impetus from the restart as Alex Rogers surged forward.
Newcastle's adventure was rewarded with 12 minutes to go when Tiesi's break and offload freed Tom Catterick for a try, the replacement winger showing great support play and awareness to put himself in scoring position.
Socino's conversion drew the teams level, and within two minutes they were in front when a fleeting break from Tait and a sensational pass under pressure saw Noah Cato scooting through for an unconverted try.
Skipper Will Welch led from the front with a key line-out steal and clearance kick as the minutes ticked by, Newcastle closing the game out efficiently before a relieving final whistle.
Newcastle Falcons A Tait, S Sinoti (T Catterick, 51), G Tiesi, A Powell, N Cato, JP Socino, R Tipuna (M Blair, 63); K Brookes (A Rogers, 63), S Lawson (R Hawkins, 63), S Wilson (O Tomaszczyk, 63), C Green, D Barrow (J Furno, 66), M Wilson (R Mayhew, 66), W Welch (captain), A Hogg.
Exeter Chiefs P Dollman, T James (C Botha, 71), H Slade, I Whitten (S Hill, 63), M Jess, G Steenson, W Chudley (H Thomas, 71) ; B Moon, J Yeandle (captain), T Francis (M Low, 71), D Armand, D Welch (R Caldwell, 60), D Ewers, B White, T Waldrom.
Referee: T Wigglesworth. Attendance: 4,216.
Tait, Sinoti, Tiesi, Powell, Cato, Socino, Tipuna, Brookes, Lawson, Wilson, Green, Barrow, Wilson, Welch, Hogg
Replacements Hawkins, Rogers, Tomaszczyk, Furno, Mayhew, Blair, Clegg, Catterick
Dollman, James, Slade, Whitten, Jess, Steenson, Chudley, Moon, Yeandle, Francis, Armand, Welch, Ewers, White, Waldrom
Replacements Taione, Rimmer, Low, Caldwell, Horstmann, Thomas, Hill, Botha
referee: Tim Wigglesworth
assistant: Roy Maybank
assistant: Paul Dix
TMO: David Grashoff