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Match Report: Newcastle Falcons 26 Harlequins 19

31 Jan 2016
Match Report: Newcastle Falcons 26 Harlequins 19

Andy Goode came off the bench to kick Newcastle Falcons to a fantastic win over Harlequins that lifts the Kingston Park outfit off the foot of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table.

The 35-year-old slotted three penalties in the second half before converting Rob Vickers’ late try as Falcons came from behind to claim a famous victory.

They started the game impressively, Scott Lawson’s try and Craig Willis’ penalty opening a 10-0 lead for the home side.

But they were punished either side of the interval by Quins who crossed three times through Charlie Walker’s double and Dave Ward’s score.

Trailing 19-10, the Falcons – who have now won four in a row at home in all competitions – came roaring back as Goode replaced Willis.

Three penalties levelled up matters before Vickers went over from close range to seal back-to-back league wins over Quins for the first time since 2000.

Harlequins' impressive seven-match unbeaten run ended in Montpellier last Friday evening but they started the brighter of the two sides at Kingston Park.

The Falcons defence stood up well to the early test and Quins – missing some big names from their first XV on international duty – were not quite clicking at set-piece or with ball in hand.

And that clumsiness was punished by the home side with their first foray into Quins territory – hooker Lawson barging over at the back of a driving maul for the game’s first try.

Willis slotted the conversion and added a penalty just before the 20-minute mark after Alex Tait’s superb solo break had cut the Quins defence to ribbons.

Falcons – with only one win to their name in the league this season – were 10-0 to the good and not looking unduly troubled by a Quins team that started the weekend third in the table.

However just when it looked like Dean Richards’ side would get to the break with a ten-point lead a pumped up Ward gave the visitors a foothold.

Visibly fuming at a refereeing decision moments before, the hooker – playing at openside flanker today – burst through four Falcons tackles with ease before feeding Walker to dot down in the left corner.

Evans added a tricky conversion in blustery conditions and Conor O’Shea would have been delighted to see his side come in only 10-7 behind.

And straight after the break the hosts were hit by two sucker punches as Quins grabbed back-to-back tries to seemingly wrestle the game out of Newcastle’s control.

First Ward was driven over at the back of a driving maul in the left corner, Evans missed the conversion this time and they led 12-7.

Seconds later and they had their third try of the day and it was Walker who grabbed it, George Lowe creating an overlap down the left before releasing his winger who bounced off Simon Hammersley too easily to canter under the posts.

Evans' conversion made it 19-10 and it appeared the the Falcons had wasted a golden opportunity.

But Goode was introduced in the 57th minute and made an immediate impact. The veteran fly-half slotting two penalties either side of the hour mark to trim the lead to 19-16 as the game entered the final quarter.

And the fly-half was not finished there, booming over his third kick of the afternoon to level up proceedings when James Horwill was pinged for a high tackle.

But the Falcons wanted more than a draw and in the final moments they were hammering away at the Quins line – the Kingston Park faithful whipped into frenzy in anticipation of a famous win.

And in the end it was Vickers who barged over with help from Nili Latu to seal victory at the death, Goode adding the extras for good measure as the Falcons leapfrog London Irish and climb off the bottom. 

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