Chiefs extend Falcons' barren run
Exeter Chiefs cruised to a comfortable 23-13 win over Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park to clinch eighth place in the Aviva Premiership.
Luke Cowan-Dickie and Ben White grabbed close-range first-half tries to put the Chiefs in charge and ensure the Falcons' run without a Premiership win would be extended to 16 matches.
Henry Slade added a conversion and two penalties for the Chiefs to two from Joel Hodgson before a late flurry saw Fetu Vainikolo add Exeter's third try in the 79th minute and Falcons No8 Mark Wilson score in stoppage time with Phil Godman adding the conversion.
Newcastle made a bright start with Sinoti Sinoti and Alex Tait making penetrating runs which eventually led to tackles being penalised. Hodgson knocked over both in the third and seventh minutes for a 6-0 lead.
But Exeter's well-organised line-out drive made it look easy for hooker Cowan-Dickie to claim the first try for the Chiefs in the 12th minute to make it 6-5, Slade failing to add the conversion.
It seemed Dave Lewis must score when he raced away after snapping up the ball in broken play just inside his own half but the scrum half was chased down by Hodgson and caught just 10 metres short.
The Falcons were happy to escape when Lewis dived into the scrum to concede a penalty.
Exeter looked the more threatening and some heavy-duty pick and drives ended with Oliver Tomaszczyk diving in to concede a penalty which Slade kicked after 28 minutes to ease the Chiefs 8-6 ahead.
Newcastle wasted a couple of chances when they failed to win their own ball at a line-out five metres out and then Gonzalo Tiesi was hauled down just short of the corner flag after clever footwork from Sinoti.
But Exeter dominated the closing minutes of the half as flanker White crashed through from close range again and Slade's conversion secured a 15-6 interval lead.
The Falcons started the second half well with James Fitzpatrick bouncing off a couple of tackles but their inability to hang on to the ball was proving costly and they spent the next 10 minutes defending during which Slade kicked a 57th minute penalty for 18-6.
Newcastle did rally briefly with Sinoti barrelling through again and the ball went through several pairs of hands in a brief flurry down the left but Godman's attempted chip was charged down and Exeter broke out of defence to move back into the Falcons half and dominate the last quarter.
Slade kept the Falcons pinned in their own 22 and they could even afford a missed penalty from Gareth Steenson with three minutes left because Vainikolo crashed over a minute from time with the home defence shredded.
The Falcons did, at least, have the last word when Wilson rumbled through deep into stoppage time and Godman added the extras.