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Match report: Newcastle Falcons 25 Northampton Saints 22

24 Mar 2018
Match report: Newcastle Falcons 25 Northampton Saints 22

Toby Flood kicked Newcastle Falcons to a pulsating victory over Northampton Saints in the Big One at St James’ Park.

The Falcons fly-half racked up 20 points with the boot while a Vereniki Goneva try also played a part in Dean Richards’ troops racking up their eighth win in nine Aviva Premiership Rugby matches.

With a crowd of 30,174 in attendance, both sides were welcomed into a white-hot atmosphere and the hosts very nearly thought they had blazed into the ascendancy in a heartbeat.

With just a minute on the clock, Sinoti Sinoti streaked away to dot down after the ball span loose favourably but the try was ruled out for a knock-on.

Instead, the Falcons took flight through a Flood penalty but in the 11th minute, the visitors went over with their first meaningful offensive of the match, David Ribbans powering over the line from the breakdown.

However, another Flood penalty shortly afterwards put Newcastle 6-5 to the good and then the home side caught their opponents napping, Vereniki Goneva somehow afforded the space to saunter clear, waltz over the line for his 50th Aviva Premiership Rugby try, and then pay tribute to St James’ by performing Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer’s trademark celebration.

With just under six minutes until the break, however, back came Northampton, George North and Rob Horne putting the Falcons under pressure from an aerial ball, with the latter managing to knock forward before dotting down, Stephen Myler adding the extras.

Flood kicked his third and fourth penalties of the game either side of half-time for the Falcons to make it 19-12 but it didn’t take long for the Saints to get back on level terms, Nafi Tuitavake showing fleet of foot before stretching the ball over the line, Myler adding the extras to tie things up.

That deadlock was maintained as Flood and Myler exchanged penalties.

And then, with 13 minutes to go, Flood booted his sixth effort of the day, this time from 47 metres, in what would prove to be the match-winning penalty, despite a last-gasp rally from the Saints.