Rob Vickers try seals comeback win for Newcastle over Harlequins
Newcastle snatched a 26-19 victory with a try two minutes from the end of their Aviva Premiership clash with Harlequins at Kingston Park.
The Falcons came back from 19-10 down against a much-changed Quins side in a frenetic finish to level thanks to three Andy Goode penalties and then scored a drive-over try through Rob Vickers which Goode converted for victory.
Harlequins put out a side with seven players who had come through the club's academy system because of international demands, but despite all the changes they dominated the opening 10 minutes.
Marland Yarde sparked the early pressure with an electric run into the Falcons' 22, but it was Newcastle who scored first with an 11th-minute forwards try.
Lock James Horwill cleaned out Sean Robinson at a line-out and was lucky not to be yellow-carded, but Craig Willis banged a long penalty into the corner and Nili Latu and Scott Lawson were driven over for the try from the line-out with Lawson getting the touchdown. Willis made it 7-0 with the conversion.
Alex Tait's weaving run split the Quins defence before being brought down by Rob Buchanan, but Horwill clumsily went over the ball and Willis made it 10-0 with the penalty in the 20th minute.
Newcastle did not miss a tackle throughout the first half but shot themselves in the foot right on the stroke of half-time when Willis missed touch with a simple penalty clearance and Quins ran it back with tacklers bouncing off Dave Ward, and Charlie Walker showed deadly finishing to score in the corner. Evans made it 10-7 with the conversion to put his side right back in the game.
The try changed the face of the game with Quins running it out of defence for the restart and Walker's chip and chase led to a penalty with Simon Hammersley hanging on in the tackle. Evans went to the corner and a second penalty followed, and another line-out saw Ward driven over for a regulation try in the 43rd minute.
Quins were back almost immediately with George Lowe offloading to Walker and the winger cut back inside to leave the Falcons defence floundering and Evans' conversion made it 19-10.
Newcastle were being turned over at the breakdown with embarrassing ease. Harry Sloan cut them to ribbons and it should have been a fourth try but the Falcons somehow turned it over themselves and eventually won a penalty deep in the Quins 22 which Goode, on the field less than two minutes, kicked for 19-13 and then a minute later he hammered over another from 50 metres to cut Quins' lead to just three points.
Six minutes later it was level with Goode hammering over a 45-metre shot after Horwill's high tackle on Powell.
Newcastle launched a massive series of drives and with two minutes left prop Vickers was driven over, referee Luke Pearce giving it after going to the television match official and Goode, of course, converted from wide out for a win.