Newcastle Falcons' unbeaten start to the A-League season came to an end on Monday with a 31-7 loss at champions Northampton Wanderers.
Going into the Franklin's Gardens encounter both sides had recorded bonus point victories in each of their outings in the competition, but it was the home side who dominated proceedings.
Samoan wing Ken Pisi opened the scoring for the Wanderers inside the early exchanges when he profited from a chip ahead, Stephen Myler converting.
A Myler penalty took his side into double figures before Ben Nutley crossed for try number two, Myler's second conversion giving Northampton a 17-0 half-time lead.
Falcons hooker Ben Sowrey got his side into the game with a try just before the hour mark, but it proved to be their only score of the evening as the Wanderers pulled away towards the end.
George Furbank crossed for their third touch-down on the intercept, and it was game over when centre Rory Hutchinson dotted down the fourth and final try.
Falcons academy manager and first team skills coach Mark Laycock said: "We were disappointed with the result because we had gone down there to win on the back of a strong start to the season.
"The better team won on the night and we can have no complaints on that score, but the most frustrating element is that all four tries we conceded were avoidable.
"One was an interception, one was a first-phase strike move from a line-out, one was from a turnover and the other was from one of our line-outs being overthrown.
"Despite the disappointment of the result there were some good lessons to take from the game, though, and we will come back stronger when we host Wasps in our next game at the end of November."
Northampton Wanderers: 15 George Furbank, 14 Juan Pablo Estelles, 13 Rory Hutchinson, 12 Tom Stephenson, 11 Ken Pisi, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Alex Mitchell; 1 Campese Ma'afu, 2 Reece Marshall, 3 Paul Hill, 4 James Craig, 5 Alex Moon, 6 David Ribbans, 7 Ben Nutley, 8 Sam Dickinson (captain).
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Matt Beesley, 18 Toby Trinder, 19 Paddy Ryan, 20 Will Allman, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 James Grayson, 23 Fraser Strachan.
Northampton scorers - Tries: Ken Pisi, George Furbank, Ben Nutley, Rory Hutchinson. Conversions: Stephen Myler 2, James Grayson 2. Penalties: Stephen Myler.
Falcons Development Team: 15 Brett Connon, 14 Cameron Cowell, 13 Belisario Agulla, 12 Joel Matavesi, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Ruaridh Dawson; 1 Adam Brocklebank, 2 Ben Sowrey, 3 Scott Wilson, 4 Evan Olmstead, 5 Glen Young, 6 Ally Hogg (captain), 7 Simon Uzokwe, 8 Opeti Fonua.
Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Jack Bergmanas (Doncaster), 18 Diogo Ferreira, 19 Andrew Davidson, 20 Will Montgomery, 21 Cam Kelemeti, 22 Charlie Wilson.
Falcons scorers - Tries: Ben Sowrey. Conversions: Joel Hodgson.