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Newcastle Falcons 26 Gloucester 25
11:41pm Friday 2nd December 2011 in Newcastle Falcons Match Reports
NEWCASTLE picked up only their second Aviva Premiership win of the season as they clung on for a narrow victory over Gloucester at Kingston Park.
Two first-half Gloucester tries from Olly Morgan and James Simpson-Daniel were answered by scores from Jordi Pasqualin and James Fitzpatrick, but it was the visitors who led 20-17 at the interval.
Three Jimmy Gopperth penalties in the second half put Newcastle six points ahead, but they were grateful in the end to Freddie Burns, who, when Scott Lawson went over after 65 minutes, missed the conversion which would have sent the points back to Gloucester.
It was a familiar story for Newcastle as, after only two minutes, they gifted a try to the visitors when Gopperth sliced his touch kick into the strong wind and Gloucester simply ran it back for Morgan to score in the corner. Burns converted from the touchline.
But Gopperth narrowed the gap with a fourth-minute penalty and after nine minutes the Falcons were in front.
It was Pasqualin who got the try against his former club after a clever pop pass from Michael Mayhew and Gopperths conversion made it 10-7.
Burns levelled the scores with a 14th-minute penalty, when Euan Murray was adjudged to have dropped the scrum, and then made it 13-10 when Newcastle were again harshly penalised at the line-out in the 19th minute.
The Falcons defence was shredded when Simpson-Daniel surged crossfield from left to right for a try converted by Burns in the 24th minute to make it 20-10 to the Cherry and Whites.
Flanker Alasdair Strokosch was sinbinned in the 33rd minute for a trip on Gopperth and Newcastle made it count immediately with Fitzpatrick bursting through the middle to score under the posts.
Gopperth's conversion cut the lead to 20-17, and he levelled the scores within seconds of the restart when Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu was penalised for hanging on to the ball on his own 22.
He added another nine minutes later to put Newcastle back in front at 23-20.
Gloucester should have scored when Akapusi Qera and Peter Buxton charged down Pasqualins kick, but Buxton knocked on with no-one between him and the Newcastle try line.
It was a real let-off and Gopperth made Gloucester pay with his fourth penalty in the 60th minute to put Newcastle six points clear.
With 15 minutes left hooker Scott Lawson squeezed over to make it 26-25 but, crucially, Burns missed the conversion - his first miss of the match.
Gopperth had a chance to seal it for Newcastle with a penalty two minutes from time, but he missed and the Falcons had to defend desperately to hang on for their victory.