Tries from Iain Balshaw and Olivier Azam helped Gloucester to go back to the top of the GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP after a competent victory at Kingston Park.
Newcastle will be disappointed after turning over lots of of possession and Jonny Wilkinson missed two kicks at goal, one of them a simple chance in the second half.
Newcastle started well with both Mathew Tait and Tom May finding long touches to keep Gloucester in their own 22 and when the Cherry and Whites strayed offside, Wilkinson kicked a fifth-minute penalty.
But then Newcastle turned the ball over just outside their 22 and against some woeful tackling Ryan Lamb’s reverse pass spread-eagled the Falcons and Marco Bortolami’s overhead pass set up a simple try for Iain Balshaw.
Lamb’s conversion from the touchline made it 7-3 before Wilkinson was just short with a huge penalty attempt from 55 metres.
The Falcons went up a gear and May popped a pass to Russell Winter on the touchline and the big number eight surged away before slipping the ball to Geoff Parling who scored in the corner, Wilkinson thumping over the conversion for Newcastle to lead 10-7.
Referee Martin Fox then yellow-carded Ben Woods when he went for an interception and knocked on. It was a marginal offence and he also gave a penalty but from the kick to the corner Azam overthrew the line-out and it was a chance wasted.
Azam made amends when Gloucester drove a line-out after another penalty into the corner, but it looked very much as if the hooker had run into his own man just before he crossed for the try, which was converted by Lamb.
It needed a great tap tackle from Anthony Allen to deny Tait just after half-tine when the full-back chipped ahead, kicked on and gathered only to be stopped by that tackle 15 metres out.
It was Tait again on a surging run from Wilkinson’s popped pass but the referee decided it was forward.
He was doing Newcastle no favours with successive penalties for wheeling the scrum and not rolling away in the tackle and from the second, Lamb made it 17-10.
Newcastle launched a breathtaking attack which covered 70 metres but crucially they turned the ball over again close to the Gloucester line and when Wilkinson missed a simple penalty, little was going the home side’s way.
With 10 minutes left, Wilkinson did kick a 40-metre penalty to make it 17-13 but Lamb knocked one over from in front of the posts three minutes later to restore the seven-point gap.