Newcastle Falcons search for a win in this season’s LV= Cup continues as Cardiff Blues stunned them with a second-half comeback to snatch a narrow victory at Kingston Park.
The Falcons had burst out of the traps with tries from Adam Powell, Ruki Tipuna and Rob Vickers inside 28 minutes handing them a 21-7 half-time lead.
However Tipuna’s yellow card at the start of the second 40 turned the game on it’s head with the Ellis Jenkins and Rory Watts-Jones adding to Harry Davies’ first half try to leave the Blues in with a sniff of victory.
Simon Humberstone’s penalty then nudged them in front but there was still time for drama as first Juan Pablo Socino and Rory Clegg then missed late penalties to win it for Newcastle.
The hosts, with ten changes to the side following last weekend’s defeat to Northampton Saints, had got off to a rapid start, with Powell diving down in the corner after seven minutes.
The Falcons had enjoyed the lion’s share of possession from the kick off and with Alex Tuilagi making up good ground, Powell was able to slip the tackle to score, Socino with the extras.
But their lead did not last long as, with Falcons losing possession from their own line out, Cardiff kicked forward and Davies pounced to score on his debut, with Humberstone levelling the scores with the conversion.
Newcastle were unperturbed and got a second try of the night on 15 minutes following a series of strong line-outs close to Cardiff’s line.
The breakthrough finally came after a strong attacking scrum and Tipuna crossed with Socino converting again for 14-7.
Socino blotted his kicking book on 26 minutes, pushing his penalty wide of the posts after Rory Watts-Jones was sent to the bin for the Blues.
But it didn’t take long for the hosts to make the man advantage count, as a period of pressure on the Blues line saw Vickers shunted over, Socino back on target for the extras to make it 27-7 on 28 minutes.
The second-half started in frantic fashion with Newcastle reduced to 14 after Tipuna was sinbinned for a dangerous tackle and the Blues pounced on the opportunity with Jenkins driving over on 43 minutes.
Humberstone added the extras for 21-14 and he was called upon to take another conversion just six minutes later as a Falcons’ kick was charged down and Watts-Jones touched down.
Humberstone was off target with his kick but it wasn’t long before his side were in front as Newcastle were caught offside and the Blues fly-half slotted his 57th minute penalty for 22-21.
All the pressure was coming from the visitors and Humberstone missed a chance to extend their lead with 19 minutes to go as he sent his penalty wide.
A shell-shocked Newcastle twice had chances to win it at the very end though but first Socino missed from 40m out before Rory Clegg, taking over kicking duties, saw his own penalty fall agonisingly short two minutes from time.
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