Newcastle Falcons delivered an all-round performance to record their first away win in Aviva Premiership Rugby since October 2014, as they beat Gloucester Rugby 18-13 at Kingsholm.
Dominic Waldouck and Ross Moriarty exchanged early tries before Billy Burns and Mike Delany swapped penalties to send the teams in level at half time.
But Alex Tait’s second-half try and a Delany penalty was enough for Newcastle to seal just their third win at Kingsholm in Aviva Premiership history.
After a cagey opening ten minutes it was Waldouck that set the game alight.
The Falcons defence wrapped up Willi Heinz as the Cherry and Whites scrum-half tried to kick clear, and from the recycled ball play was transferred left to give the former Wasp an easy finish – Delany adding the extras.
But the home side were back in it within two minutes as Burns held his pass beautifully to feed Moriarty, who broke through the Newcastle line to touch down – Burns kicking the conversion.
And the home side nearly went ahead shortly after 20 minutes as a darting Heinz run set up Moriarty to feed Mark Atkinson, who was brought down just a yard shy of the line.
Falcons’ Will Welsh was penalised at the resulting breakdown though and Burns made no mistake from the kicking tee, giving his side a three-point lead.
In the 27th minute referee Dean Richards collided with Newcastle’s Mark Wilson and required a period of treatment, with heavy strapping being applied to his left ankle.
But the man in yellow returned to the fray and saw Atkinson orchestrate another break, three minutes later, but was held up before Gloucester made the Falcons 22.
Delany got the Falcons back on level terms with three minutes remaining in the first half as they capped a period of extended pressure by forcing an indiscretion from Moriarty, within kicking range.
Gloucester attempted to force a lead at the break but Heinz’s delayed pass was fumbled by Matt Scott and Newcastle saw out the clock to go in all square.
The home side almost grabbed a second try in the opening minutes of the second half but Henry Purdy knocked on when stretching to collect Burns’ clever chip over the Falcons defensive line.
And they missed another chance to keep the scoreboard ticking over five minutes later, as Burns was wayward with the boot after Falcons were penalised for taking the man without the ball.
Gloucester were dominating the game and fine passing interplay between each of their back row eventually came to nothing as Ben Morgan’s pass was knocked on by Purdy, again, as he tried to collect it inside the Falcons 22, with 52 minutes gone.
And after all of Gloucester’s dominance it was Newcastle that went into the lead as Delany struck a long-distance penalty after the Cherry and Whites were penalised at the scrum.
From the restart Delany received the ball but kicked out on the full and Gloucester went on the attack.
But the Falcons defence stood firm and the fly-half was eventually able to clear his lines after Gloucester were penalised at the breakdown, just five yards from the Newcastle line.
And they capitalised on the territory as a Delany-orchestrated move set up Micky Young to feed Tait, who crossed in the corner for his first try of the season, but Delany could not add the extras.
And the fly-half was wayward from the tee again as, in the 71st minute, he missed a penalty that would have put his side 11 points clear.
Replacement Greig Laidlaw did not waste his opportunity though, and four minutes later brought his Gloucester side to within five points of Falcons with his 17th consecutive successful kick of the season.
But Falcons showed some much-needed composure to keep the ball in Gloucester territory, picking and driving at every opportunity to eat up the clock and make sure of the win – despite a missed drop goal attempt by Joel Hodgson.