Anglo-Welsh Cup defending champions Saracens sink Newcastle
Reigning Anglo-Welsh Cup champions Saracens got their first win in this year's competition with a 29-18 win against 14-man Newcastle at Allianz Park.
After losing their first round game to Gloucester, tries from Nick Tompkins, Scott Spurling, Jared Saunders and George Perkins helped the hosts to a bonus point win.
For the Falcons, who ended the game with 14 men after Craig Willis' red card for a dangerous tackle, it meant a second defeat in the competition after the opening round loss to Northampton.
Opeti Fonua opened the scoring for the visitors and Santiago Socino added a late consolation try but in between Saracens controlled the match.
The hosts applied early pressure, with the returning Nathan Earle looking particularly dangerous - but Newcastle held firm.
The Falcons then took the lead in the 14th minute after Saracens' second row Nick Isiekwe, was yellow carded on his home debut and Brett Connon successfully kicked the penalty to make it 3-0.
The visitors increased their advantage as they powered their way through the home side's backline and Fonua dotted down for the game's first try. Connon converted to put Newcastle ahead by 10 points.
With Isiekwe back on the pitch, Saracens soon reduced the deficit. Tompkins kicked through and the ball fortuitously popped back into his arms, leaving him with a clear run to the line.
Tom Whiteley converted for the home team and, after missing a penalty kick on half an hour, the fly-half successfully pulled Saracens level, on the stroke of half-time, with another three points.
Newcastle regained the lead seven minutes after the restart as Connon kicked his second successful penalty of the game. Soon after Whiteley had another opportunity to kick his side level - however his effort cannoned off of the upright.
Saracens soon took control with two quickfire tries - both coming from successful driving mauls - as hooker Spurling and replacement prop Saunders went over. Whiteley found his kicking boots to convert both, making it 24-13 to the hosts.
The visitors' Craig Willis was shown a red card with 10 minutes remaining for a dangerous tip tackle and soon after a sweeping Saracens move saw Perkins get the bonus point score.
Debutant Socino added a late consolation try for the Falcons to complete the scoring.