Newcastle Falcons recorded their second victory of the Aviva Premiership campaign with a 16-11 win at Worcester Warriors.
A Mike Blair try coupled with a series of penalties from both Rory Clegg and Phil Godman secured the spoils for Dean Richards’ men, and put the Falcons in ninth place with Sunday’s games to come.
Picking up another precious triumph on the road against a dogged Warriors outfit, the northeasterners can head into the European break full of confidence with a showdown at home to London Irish next on the agenda in the Premiership.
The Falcons began the game spritely and looked in positive mood from the word go as they looked to unhinge Worcester’s rear-guard early doors.
Taking a 3-0 lead on three minutes courtesy of a Clegg penalty after a period of sustained pressure, the Falcons soon extended their lead when Blair sniped his way over the line. Swift handling in the Newcastle backline created holes in Worcester’s defensive line while the likes of Dom Barrow, Will Welch and Mark Wilson took full advantage at the breakdown to get their side within a whisker of the whitewash. Carlo del Fava’s rampage towards the line gave Blair the opportunity to pick and go to touchdown. Clegg converted from an acute angle to give the Falcons the advantage at 10-0.
Clegg increased the gap to 13-0 on 23 minutes with his second penalty success of the afternoon, before Worcester fly-half Ignacio Mieres missed the chance to reduce the deficit, skewing his penalty wide of the upright.
The Argentinian made amends six minutes from the break, slotting home a penalty directly in front of goal, but it could have been much worse for the Falcons had Tom Catterick not touched the ball dead in goal following a Mieres grubber kick. Referee Martin Fox went upstairs to the TMO for confirmation, but the try was chalked off and Worcester had to settle for just the three points for a penalty awarded in the build-up. Mieres made no mistake and the Falcons’ lead was cut to 13-3.
A Warriors attacking onslaught came on the cusp of half-time with Dean Ryan’s men looking for a breakthrough. Their task was made a little easier when Falcons tight-head Oliver Tomaszczyk was sin-binned for an infringement at the ruck. However, Newcastle’s steely defensive resistance kept the Warriors at bay and the visitors went into the break 13-3 up.
Worcester struck the first blow after the interval thanks to a Mieres penalty on 47 minutes to get within a converted try of the Falcons. However, the Falcons were immediately on the front foot when Catterick blasted through a gap, before offloading to Adam Powell on the charge. The ball was switched to the blindside to Noah Cato, but a knock-on thwarted the Falcons’ attack.
Newcastle were made to pay for this missed opportunity, despite standing firm to an avalanche of pressure from the hosts. David Lemi was the benefactor of some slick handling in the Warriors’ backline to squeeze in at the corner. Paul Warwick narrowly missed with the touchline conversion and the Falcons led 13-11 with just under 10 minutes to go.
A Godman penalty put the Falcons 16-11 up five minutes from time following a scintillating break from flanker Mark Wilson. Mark Wilson escaped his marker with a dash to the line with Chris York backing the Cumbrian at full tilt. Mr Fox spotted an altercation in the build-up and Godman nailed the three points.
Worcester hit-back immediately with relentless pressure on the Falcons’ try line to the despair of the travelling contingent in the stands. With the majority of the Sixways crowd roaring their side on towards the line, the fifteen Trojans in the Falcons defensive line held out. Worcester had one last throw of the dice, moving the ball from side to side at pace. A sterling defensive effort forced a Worcester knock-on, and from the scrum replacement No.9 Warren Furry hammered the ball dead to produce scenes of jubilation in the Falcons camp.
Pennell, Drauniniu, Fatiaki, Matavesi, Lemi, Mieres, Hodgson, Becasseau, Shervington, Murray, Williams, Jones, Thomas, Abbott, Taulava
Replacements Brooker, Porter, Andress, Schofield, Goodhue, Sua, Warwick, Grove
Tait, Cato, Powell, Fitzpatrick, Catterick, Clegg, Blair, Vickers, Thompson, Tomaszczyk, Del Fava, Barrow, Wilson, Welch, Hogg
Replacements McGuigan, Montanella, Wilson, Tomes, York, Fury, Godman, Shortland
referee: Martin Fox