World Cup winner Matt Burke steered Newcastle to victory over Harlequins at Kingston Park with an imperious full-back display.
Burke scored a crucial second-half try and kicked two conversion but it was his booming line kicks and incursions into the line which spurred the under-pressure Falcons to victory.
Newcastle were under the cosh in the opening 10 minutes with Harlequins dominating possession.
Chris Malone kicked a penalty after only two minutes but the Falcons’ scrambling defence kept them in the game, along with Burke’s line kicks.
Burke was then taken out in the air by Jim Evans which earned the lock 10 minutes in the sin-bin but it was Quins who edged further ahead with another Malone penalty in the 24th minute.
Newcastle finally found themselves with some worthwhile possession from Joe Shaw’s high kick and Steve Jones chipped ahead.
Quins full-back Mike Brown was fortunate to scramble the ball into touch.
From the line-out, a succession of drives had Quins in trouble and back row Geoff Parling crashed over for the try which Burke converted.
He also converted three minutes later when Tom May fastened onto a ricochet off Tom Williams and Brown from Lee Dickson’s box kick to score in the corner.
Malone’s third penalty early in the second half cut the lead to 14-9 and then 14-12 in the 54th minute with a highly debatable decision from referee Martin Fox as Quins again dominated the opening 20 minutes of the half.
But then Jones surged out of his own half and Russell Winter and Brent Wilson worked the ball back inside for Burke to finish a brilliant handling move with a try in the corner.
At 19-12 the game was far from over and Newcastle were under severe pressure in the closing 10 minutes as they conceded a host of penalties. Twice Malone kicked for the line-out instead of going for goal.
With seconds left Quins mounted a final huge drive which took play deep into the Falcons 22.
Crucially the ball was spilled and the Falcons swooped to turn it over and from the scrum Burke banged the ball out of play.