Newcastle ran in three second-half tries to defeat Harlequins and take a big step towards Aviva Premiership Rugby safety.
Quins were in the lead after just three minutes with a series of forwards drives and then the ball spun wide for Tom Williams to cross in the corner and Rory Clegg’s conversion made it 7-0.
Newcastle hit back with a big scrum in front of the posts and Quins were penalised for Jimmy Gopperth to make it 7-3 and despite some probing attacks from the Falcons, Clegg had a chance to stretch the lead with a long-range penalty for offside but pulled it well wide.
Quins were penalised again for taking the scrum down and there was another flare-up among the forwards – the third in 14 minutes – and both Falcons loose head Jon Golding and Quins tighthead James Johnston were sin-binned. Ceri Jones joined his Quins team-mate in the bin in the 23rd minute when he trundled back and got in the way of Micky Young’s pass as Newcastle attacked and Gopperth made it 7-6 with the penalty.
Quins were a little fortunate at a line-out when Clegg’s kick through ricocheted off a Newcastle player but they made it count with series of drives which led to a penalty for Clegg to make it 10-6 on the half-hour. Back came Newcastle and when Dave Moore came in the side, Gopperth fired over his third penalty six minutes from half-time.
Newcastle lost full-back Jeremy Manning who was stretchered off just before the break with what looked a nasty leg injury and right on half-time, Quins dropped the scrum again and Gopperth made it 12-10 with his fourth successful kick at goal.
Clegg eased Quins back in front 13-12 early in the second half with another penalty. But Newcastle did most of the attacking without being able to make the breakthrough but it came when James Fitzpatrick charged through and Alex Gray picked up as he was tackled just short and dived over, Gopperth converting for 19-13.
Luke Fielden then went over as Falcons stretched further clear, with Gopperth again adding the extras to make it 26-13 to the home side. Quins hit back when Mike Brown scrambled over but Clegg missed the conversion and then with three minutes left Young dived over for the killer try and Gopperth’s conversion made it 33-18.