The former New Zealand Rugby League international kicked his third penalty of the day to steal the match away from the home side, who had just drawn level through a try from replacement Epi Taione. The penalty decision left Newcastle boss Rob Andrew fuming at referee Roy Maybank.
While there was a thrilling finish to the match, there had been precious little excitement in the preceding 80 or so minutes with the game decided by the three-way kicking duel between Newcastle skipper Jonny Wilkinson and Gloucester pair Ludovic Mercier and Paul, the latter taking over his team’s kicking duties in the second half.
Gloucester had looked the more effective side, putting their hosts under extreme pressure for most of the first half but only able to cross the tryline on one occasion.
That first-half score stemmed from a rare glowing back move from Gloucester after a quick tap penalty was taken by quick-thinking scrum-half Andy Gomarsall who charged downfield through the napping home defence.
While he could not get the scoring pass away to the supporting James Forrester who was charging up behind him, the referee adjudged that the cherry-and-white backrower had been taken off the ball by Newcastle forward Hugh Vyvyan, the latter finding himself in the sin-bin for ten minutes for his ‘professional’ foul.
From the ensuing scrum just five metres from the Newcastle line, Gloucester put their opponents – missing one of the vital components from their engine room – under huge pressure allowing No.8 Junior Paramore to make a textbook pick-up from the back of the scrum and collect the five points.
Mercier was on target with the conversion, but by the end of the half the Falcons had battled their way back to within a point of their opponents at 13-12.
Following the break, Gloucester continued to dominate territory and possession and with Paul kicking two penalties following the replacement of Mercier by James Simpson-Daniel, Gloucester had built up a 19-12 lead going into the final quarter.
It was only at this point that the game came alive, with Taione crashing over for his late try and Wilkinson supplying the extras to draw their side level.
But this late blow saw Gloucester dig deep into their physical and mental reserves as they threw everything downfield to try and steal the game. Paul was off-target with a drop-goal but then, when a draw looked on the cards, was able to land his third penalty to give Gloucester another win.
For NewcastleTries: Epi TaioneCon: Jonny Wilkinson Pens: Jonny Wilkinson (4)
For GloucesterTries: Junior ParamoreCon: Ludovic MercierPens: Ludovic Mercier (2), Henry Paul (3)