James Wilson and Luther Burrell both went over for tries in the second half that finally ended Newcastle Falcons’ brave resistance and extended Northampton Saints’ winning streak to six.
Dean Richards’ troops came to Franklin’s Gardens with many tipping them for a heavy defeat against an in-form Saints side that remained second in the Aviva Premiership table with this victory.
But the Falcons’ sturdy efforts in defence saw them only trail their high-flying opponents by two penalties at the interval – the first time that Saints have failed to score a try in the first half this season.
After the break Saints’ dominance finally took its toll as Wilson powered his way over down the right and Burrell added a second soon after with a fine piece of quick-thinking.
The defeat, Falcons’ seventh in a row against the Saints, leaves Richards’ side ninth in the table while Saints stay second.
When Tom Collins went racing clear down the left for Saints in only the second minute, the game’s first try looked a certainty but Ryan Shortland appeared out of nowhere to drag him into touch agonisingly short of the tryline.
The first ten minutes were spent almost entirely in the Falcons’ 22 as the game entered a predictable pattern.
Skipper Will Welch and co were warned about their consistent infringements as Saints turned the screw in a five-metre scrum .
But the Falcons held firm and finally cleared their lines and could establish some territory after England hopeful Luther Burrell was pinged for hanging on.
And when Noah Cato went dancing clear against his former club suddenly the Falcons were within touching distance of the tryline, and the game’s first points.
That move came to nothing in the end but while many had predicted a Saints runaway win, the Falcons refused to buckle as they continued to disrupt the breakdown at every opportunity.
Just before the half hour the Saints came close again, Burrell’s clever dink to the corner collected by Jamie Elliott but when the ball was fed back inside it was Burrell who could not collect the ball by his shoelaces with the try line begging.
The Falcons job was then made that much harder when Carlo del Fava was sin-binned and from that subsequent penalty Saints were finally off the mark, Myler making no mistake with the routine conversion.
A clever break from Mike Blair then had the 14-men of Newcastle on the front foot again but Alex Tait was caught accidentally offside and the chance was lost.
A second comfortable penalty from Myler then doubled the Saints’ lead and they went in at the break only 6-0 to the good, a Phil Godman drop-goal attempt that would have halved the lead falling short on the stroke of the interval.
After the break Elliott and Mike Haywood both came close to scores but the Falcons defence refused to wilt before Wilson wriggled and rolled his way over down the right.
Myler was off target with the conversion but Saints did not have to wait long for the next score as Burrell showed great awareness to rip the ball and touch down while rolling over the try-line mid tackle.
This time Myler was on target with the extras for an 18-0 lead and despite some late chances for both sides that was how it finished.