European Challenge Cup finalists Bath ended their Guinness Premiership away nightmare as they battled to victory at Kingston Park.
The 20-12 win also ended Newcastle’s impressive home record of five months unbeaten on Tyneside – a disappoiting result for the near sell-out crowd.
It also ended any hopes Newcastle had of finishing seventh in the Premiership but with Sale losing heavily at Harlequins, it was a forlorn hope anyway.
Bath’s blanket defence was the key to their win – and the fact they took their chances when they came along.
Newcastle did not have the ball for the opening three minutes – and they paid for it when John Rudd was penalised for a high tackle and Bath put it in the corner for Peter Short to be driven over with some ease.
Barkley missed the conversion and sixth minute penalty otherwise it could have been 10-0.
Newcastle had not seen any ball until Toby Flood and Mathew Tait carved their way through, only for Matt Burke to spill it on the 22.
It did not halt the continuous Falcons attacks, with Tait surging through and then Flood missed a penalty in the 14th minute.
Newcastle should have scored in 24th minute when the ball was moved wide and Andy Long shovelled the pass to Geoff Parling – but it went straight through the back row five metres from the line and into touch.
But Newcastle were through like a shot on the long line-out and forced a knock on and launched wave after wave of attacks.
It was all Newcastle but then they handed seven points to Bath when Burke expertly took a high kick and inexplicably decided to pass to Jamie Noon and David Bory accepted the gift and Barkley converted for 12-0 at half-time.
Andy Buist came on at the break for Newcastle and made an immediate impact when he was driven over from a line-out for a try converted by Flood.
But Bath hit back quickly when Shaun Berne dived over in the corner with some question marks against the Falcons defence.
Once again it was all Newcastle and a searing break from Flood and Tait almost led to a try before Ollie Phillips cut through and Tait finished it off.
It seemed Newcastle would come through to take the points – but they were over-elaborate and when Berne dropped a goal two minutes from time, Bath were out of sight.