Exeter Chiefs scored four tries as they edged an intriguing Aviva Premiership Rugby battle at Newcastle Falcons to secure their third win of the season.
Ollie Devoto raced 60 metres to score the visitors’ first try in the opening period, before Scott Lawson crossed for the hosts.
Thomas Waldrom restored the Chiefs the lead with a typical finish following a line-out but the Falcons showed plenty of spirit as Alex Tait got them to within striking distance.
But James Short and Will Chudley killed off any hopes of a comeback as they crossed to score Exeter’s third and fourth tries in the second half, condemning Newcastle to their fifth defeat of the campaign.
Yes boys!!! @ExeterChiefs Enjoy the bus home 👌🏻🍻
— Sam Hill (@SamHill_93) November 18, 2016
Exeter may not have enjoyed the start to the season they wanted but director of rugby Rob Baxter was able to call upon full-back Phil Dollman and scrum-half Chudley after injury.
But it was England centre Devoto who made an immediate impact as he intercepted a loose pass in midfield and sprinted 60 metres to score.
The Chiefs tried to use their momentum and add a quick second, but it was the Falcons who got on the score sheet next through a Mike Delany penalty.
Exeter fly-half Gareth Steenson was happy kicking the ball into touch with regularity as they put the Falcons set-piece under pressure, but it was the hosts who scored next.
Strong work from Will Witty and Sam Lockwood pushed the Chiefs back and it was finished off by hooker Lawson from close range, but, undeterred, the Chiefs regained their composure and made their line-out pressure count as Waldrom’s try put them back ahead.
Steenson extended that less than a minute after half-time with a penalty, but Delany responded with his own effort from 40 metres.
— Maxime (@BarrettBigFan) November 18, 2016
Steenson added another minutes later before the Falcons were reduced to 14 men as Calum Green was sent to the sin-bin.
They responded in style as full-back Tait burst through for a try, but Exeter wrestled the initiative back right away as Short finished a well-constructed, flowing team move.
They thought they had secured a bonus point with five minutes left to play as Dollman crossed to score, only for play to be bought back and the try chalked off.
But they scored a fourth try minutes later as scrum-half Chudley crossed late on.