Glen Jackson kicked an early penalty for Saracens but it was Newcastle playing all the rugby in a very dour first half.
Mathew Tait and Toby Flood both made weaving runs which eventually led nowhere, although Flood’s cut back did lead to a Dave Walder equalising penalty.
Walder had earlier missed with a long drop goal and then hit the post with another penalty before eventually making it 6-3 with a penalty on the half hour.
There was no noticeable rise in the quality of the rugby in the second half as Jackson levelled the scores with a 55th-minute penalty, until Tait scorched through midfield from his own half and slipped the ball to Anthony Elliott to score despite being tackled by Mark Bartholomeusz.
Elliott nearly did it again seconds later but lost the ball just inside the Saracens 22 as the game suddenly came to life.
Newcastle then took their eye off the ball at a drive in their own 22 and Adam Powell shot away to score. Jackson’s conversion made it 14-13 with just 12 minutes left of a game that was still up for grabs.
And it was Newcastle who grabbed it with a Tom May run to the right, a quick release of the ball and Tait feeding Joe Shaw who stepped through to score. Walder’s conversion made it 21-13.
It still was not over with Jackson landing a 79th-minute penalty to give Saracens a chance of snatching it but the Falcons played out the dying seconds in control of the ball.