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Page last updated at 20:41 GMT, Friday, 15 April 2011 21:41 UK

Newcastle 15-22 Northampton

Newcastle (6) 15
Pens: Gopperth 5
Northampton (10) 22
Tries: Foden, Reihana, Ashton Cons: Myler 2 Pens: Myler

Newcastle v Northampton
Newcastle climb off the bottom of the Premiership due to a better points difference than Leeds

A late try by Northampton's Chris Ashton denied Newcastle a draw but did give Falcons a bonus point to lift them off the foot of the Premiership table.

Jimmy Gopperth put his side ahead with two early penalties but a converted Ben Foden try and Stephen Myler penalty gave Saints a half-time lead.

A Gopperth kick made it 10-9 to Saints before Bruce Reihana rounded off a fine sweeping move in the corner.

Gopperth booted Falcons level at 15-15 before Ashton's try sealed victory.

Gopperth, the Premiership's leading points scorer, put Falcons 6-0 ahead inside 10 minutes as the hosts came out in determined mood and ill discipline from Saints at the breakdown allowed their opponents a long spell of possession.

Newcastle exerted some intense early pressure on their opponents before Soane Tonga'uiha's break put the visitors on the front foot in the face of some ferocious defending.

Saints passed up an easy shot at goal right infront of the posts in favour of a scrum on 25 minutes and it paid dividends when Roger Wilson's pick at the base found Foden on the short side who stepped off his left to go over.

Myler added the extras to put saints 7-6 ahead on the half hour and extended their lead by three more on 37 minutes with a well struck penalty as Saints' greater possession began to reap rewards.

But the visitors rode their luck towards the end of the opening half when Gopperth missed a 40-metre shot at goal in front of the posts before pushing drop-goal attempt wide.

Newcastle started the second half as they had the first with Gopperth converting an early penalty to make it a one-point game at 10-9.

But 10 minutes into the half Saints produced a wonderfully worked try that saw Reihana cross in the corner.

The ball was moved from left to right with Courtney Lawes creating the hole up middle before Myler threw a screened pass to Foden on an arching run who fed Jon Clarke who found Reihana out wide.

Reihana thought he had a brace soon after when another good build up saw the New Zealander touch the ball down only for the video referee to deem he had been stopped short by Alex Tait's tackle.

Calum Clark was sin-binned for a late hit on Gopperth with an hour gone and with the man advantage Falcons' pack went on the rampage from a line-out and the maul was dropped Gopperth converted the penalty to make it 15-12 to Saints.

In a frantic and heated last quarter of an hour Myler knocked on the simplest of passes inside his own 22 with seven minutes left.

Following the scrum Saints were penalised for a dangerous tackle infront of their posts which Gopperth slotted with five minutes left.

It seemed the Falcons fly-half had saved the day but Saints rallied once more and Ashton's break from Myler's inside ball ended with the England man crossing to give the visitors a five-point lead.

Myler landed the conversion but the seven-point margin left Falcons with a losing bonus point - just enough to lift them off the bottom of the table on points difference.

Newcastle head coach Alan Tait:
"I'm chuffed to bits for the lads but there is a bit of disappointment we didn't hang on for the draw.

"We've thrown away a few points this season and now we're talking about a point rather than points - it's that vital.

"It is a concern we're not scoring tries and it just gets harder because we have Leicester next here on Friday, but if the crowd gets behind us like they did tonight then anything can happen.

"We may be off the bottom for just a few hours as Leeds are at Wasps on Sunday. I'll be out walking the dog, but I'm sure I'll get a text or two about the result there."

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder told BBC Radio Northampton:
"It's always tough coming to Newcastle. They're desperate and they played well. We've come through it.

"Sometimes you've got to play the full 80 minutes and fortunately we did. It was a great pass by Stephen Myler for Chris Ashton to score.

"You've got to keep working hard, keep your composure and when you come away from home, there's no easy games."

Newcastle: Catterick; Tait, Tu'ipulotu, Fitzpatrick, Bobo; Gopperth, Pilgrim; Golding, Thompson, Murray; Swinson, van der Heijden; M Wilson, Welch, Hogg.

Replacements: Vickerman for Tu'ipulotu (69), Eves for Fitzpatrick (60), Shiels for Golding (53), Vickers for Thompson (53), Brookes for Murray (72), Levi for Swinson (75), Gray for Welch (69).

Northampton: Foden, Ashton, Clarke, Downey, Reihana, Myler, Dickson, Tonga'uiha, Hartley, Mujati, Lawes, Day, Clark, Dowson, Wilson.

Replacements: Sharman for Hartley (72), Sorenson for Dowson (64).

Sin Bin: Clark (60).

Att: 5,167

Ref: Greg Garner (RFU).

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see also
Newcastle 29-30 Leeds
09 Apr 11 |  Rugby Union
Northampton 53-24 Sale
02 Apr 11 |  Rugby Union

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