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Match Report: Newcastle Falcons 13 Leicester Tigers 14

18 Sep 2016
Match Report: Newcastle Falcons 13 Leicester Tigers 14

Joel Hodgson missed a last-minute drop-goal as Leicester Tigers escaped Kingston Park with a one-point victory against Newcastle Falcons to move into the top four of the Aviva Premiership.

Hodgson had a shot to win the game for the hosts with the last kick in the 85th minute but skewed his effort wide of the posts from close range.

Newcastle had an early 10-point lead after Juan Pablo Socino’s try, but Leicester hit back through Mike Fitzgerald.

And Freddie Burns kicked three penalties to win it for the Tigers, who bounce back after last week’s loss against Wasps.

Newcastle made a fast start in front of their vocal supporters and raced into the lead as scrum-half Sonatane Takulua created a hole in Leicester’s defence before passing to Socino, who burst through to score.

The hosts continued on the front foot as former Tigers player Vereniki Goneva made a break from his own 22, before JP Pietersen conceded a penalty.

Falcons kicker Mike Delany sent it wide, but he made no mistake two minutes later to give his side a 10-point lead.

It took 23 minutes for the Tigers to burst into life, but once they did they found the try line as Ben Youngs off-loaded neatly to Fitzgerald on the blind-side to score.

Burns may have missed the conversion, but he kicked a penalty minutes later to close the gap to just two points.

With regular centre Chris Harris injured, Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards selected Dominic Waldouck – fresh after signing a new deal this week.

And the 28-year-old almost capped off a fine week with a try after a kind bounce fell his way but the referee pulled him back for double movement after he crossed the line.

Leicester’s sloppiness almost cost them again after the break as Simon Hammersley intercepted a pass down the right and sprinted for the try line, only for Matthew Tait to deny him with a late tackle.

The Tigers took the lead for the first time a few minutes later as Burns converted another penalty from the Falcons 10-metre line, but Newcastle almost stole it back when a neat grubber kick found Goneva in space but he knocked on while trying to collect it.

Handling errors were a feature throughout the match, as Ellis Genge undid all of Leicester’s hard work by misplacing an off-load just metres from the Falcons line after Pietersen’s initial break.

With the wind swirling around kicking proved to be difficult as Burns sent one wide, but a couple of minutes later he stretched the Tigers’ lead with a 40-metre effort.

Newcastle charged up the other end and wreaked havoc as Michael Young collected his own kick and rushed through Leicester’s defence.

A late tackle thwarted him, but the hosts moved it wide and Daniel Temm seemingly touched down in the corner, only for the TMO to rule it out for a foot in touch.

The visitors lost Peter Betham to the sin-bin after that phase and substitute Hodgson cut the gap to one point with a penalty.

Newcastle threw everything at Leicester in the dying seconds as they tried to score before Hodgson’s crucial miss.

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