Late Wilson try enables Falcons to swoop for win at Northampton
Visitors edge thriller at Franklin’s Gardens.
Mark Wilson’s 86th-minute try and Toby Flood’s conversion gave Newcastle Falcons a shock 16-14 win at Northampton Saints in a thrilling Gallagher Premiership encounter at Franklin’s Gardens.
Bottom of the table Newcastle had trailed 14-9 in the closing stages after Cobus Reinach’s try double for the hosts.
But Wilson – back from England international duty – was on hand at the end to break the Saints with Flood simply adding the two-points in front of the posts to give the Falcons their third Premiership win of the season.
England captain Dylan Hartley returned from international duty for the Saints for his 250th appearance for the club.
Flood kicked Newcastle ahead inside two minutes after Jamie Gibson was penalised for taking out a player in the air at the game’s first line-out.
Biggar was pulling the strings at outside-half for the hosts, demonstrating his worth as Wales’ number one 10. His inch perfect reverse ball to Ahsee Tuala sent the full-back running towards the try-line but the visitors held firm to clear their lines.
That was a repeating story as the Saints went without reward for a number of promising attacks.
Unforced errors hampered the hosts in the first half. Biggar’s loose pass led to the Saints being penalised at the breakdown with Courtney Lawes’ comment to referee Matthew Carley seeing Flood going from a kick to touch to a shot at goal, which the former-England international duly took to double Newcastle’s lead.
Eventually, after 30 minutes, the Saints had their breakthrough. Gibson’s clever pass found Reinach, who beat three tackles to cross at the posts for his first try.
Biggar converted and on the stroke of the interval found touch with a penalty – but the hosts could not make the most of a golden opportunity.
Northampton deservedly doubled their lead after the break when Reinach scored his second of the game. The scrum-half collected Teimana Harrison’s inside ball at the 22 and darted away to touch down beneath the bar.
Clear-cut chances were few and far between for both sides in the second half, with the hosts remaining well in control of proceedings.
Falcons had a rare sniff midway through the half but could not make the most of that with prop Sam Lockwood eventually penalised and Saints able to clear their lines.
At the other end Saints failed with another good opportunity from a rolling maul and later on had to rely on Tuala’s last-ditch tackle to halt a charging Vereniki Goneva from scoring in the corner.
With 10 minutes remaining, the Falcons cut the gap to five points when replacement Brett Connon drilled a penalty from distance.
And they sealed a thrilling victory with the clock well in the red when flanker Wilson scrambled over to level the game, with Flood kicking the conversion.