Newcastle clinch brilliant Premiership win over Leicester
Newcastle breathed life into their hopes of avoiding relegation with a stunning victory over Leicester Tigers at Kingston Park.
The 26-14 defeat was Leicester's second successive Aviva Premiership loss - they went down 10-3 to Sale last weekend and conceded 20 first-half points against a fired-up Newcastle side.
It was one of Newcastle's best opening 40 minutes of the season as they scored two tries to lead 20-9 at the break.
The second half was nowhere near as enthralling a spectacle with Newcastle seeking to protect what they and Leicester desperately looked for a way through which only arrived with 15 minutes left with a try by replacement Laurence Pearce.
Despite an early darting run by Marcus Watson, Andy Goode's fumble from Sam Harrison's box kick led to a penalty when he was turned over by the Tigers chase and did not release and Freddie Burns made it 3-0 after just three minutes.
Another lively run from Watson had Leicester back-pedalling and hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini was slow to roll away from the tackle to concede a seventh-minute penalty but Goode missed a kick he would normally have landed in his sleep.
Full back Telusa Veainu's powerful run caused all sorts of problems for Newcastle and led to a second Burns penalty in the 14th minute, but the 6-0 lead lasted just two minutes with Falcons full-back Simon Hammersley weaving through and then getting on the end of a textbook attack. Newcastle recycled and the full-back was over the corner with Goode's conversion edging Newcastle 7-6 ahead.
Back came Leicester and a penalty at the breakdown saw Burns kick his third goal in the 22nd minute to put the Tigers back in front at 9-7.
Falcons prop Taione Vea's powerful run led to a penalty with Marcos Ayerza lucky not to be shown the yellow card as he ended up over the ball for the second time in the match.
Ayerza was unhappy and had to be pulled way by his team-mate and his protests were to no avail and Goode kicked the 26th-minute penalty for 10-9.
The Tigers were sailing close to wind when Peter Betham tackled Goode without the ball shortly afterwards and the fly-half banged the penalty into the 22. The Falcons pack immediately drove it infield where Leicester pulled it down, Goode kicking the goal for a 13-9 lead on the half-hour.
Newcastle's pack were impressing and they hammered away at the Tigers line in a series of pick and drives before Micky Young saw an opening and put the ball out for Adam Powell to slide through for the Falcons second try in the 36th minute, and Goode converted.
Goode missed a good chance to stretch Newcastle's lead with a line-out penalty but he was wide in the 47th minute before a streetwise Young engineered another penalty three minutes later and this time Goode did not miss.
Newcastle were on the back foot for much of the second half but they scrapped, frantically at times, to keep out the Tigers pack before finally cracking with 15 minutes left, Pearce storming his way upfield and then careering over in the corner for a try to cut the lead to 23-14.
Burns missed the conversion from wide out and Craig Willis kicked a penalty in the 80th minute to complete a fine night for the hosts.