Mathew Tait produced an inspired second-half performance, scoring one try and making another as Newcastle battled back for an unlikely draw against Gloucester yesterday.

The Falcons were 22-6 down at the break before coming back to lead 27-22.

It needed a try three minutes from the end of normal time from Luke Narraway to give Gloucester the draw and three points - two for the draw and one for scoring four tries - to stay just ahead of the Falcons in the table.

Falcons' boss Rob Andrew gave his side a dressing-down at half-time and the result was three second-half tries.

''I told them at half-time to stop feeling sorry for themselves and get out there and show people what they could do.

''It's all in the head with this side and their minds weren't right at the start of the game.

''We were just terrible in the first half, but we are a good side when we go at teams.

"Had we won it would have been a sensational victory but we'll settle for the draw. I thought Mathew Tait was sensational in the second half.''

Andrew claimed Tait had been damaged after being axed from the England squad following his debut against Wales.

Last week's 83-10 hammering at Leicester would have done nothing to restore Tait's confidence, but he was back at his best as he raced 30 metres for his try.

Dave Walder, making his first start since January 2 following a knee operation, had a mixed afternoon at full back.

He kicked a third-minute penalty for Newcastle, but a missed touch kick and a positioning error led to Henry Paul's long kick to the corner.

Michael Stephenson had to concede the line-out, at which the Falcons were penalised, but Paul hit the post.

Gloucester gathered the rebound, but Newcastle's pack - led by hooker Andy Long - turned it over.

When Walder missed touch again Andy Gomarsall tried a drop-goal which was charged down.

The ball broke kindly for Gloucester again and when Seti Kiole flicked a pass out to Marcel Garvey it needed superb defence to snuff out the threat.

The Cherry and Whites had the pressure on and it took a couple of great tackles from Mark Mayerhofler and Cory Harris to stop Terry Fanolua right on the line twice in quick succession.

But Newcastle's defence was very shoddy when Gomarsall broke through. They stood off the England scrum-half as he weaved his way to the corner for a 21st-minute try with Stephenson making the tackle too late.

Four minutes later Garvey scored under the posts but Newcastle were furious with Fanolua blatantly obstructing Mark Wilkinson to make the gap.

Paul's conversion made it 12-3 but then Adam Eustace barged Mayerhofler as he chased a kick and Walder cut the gap to 12-6.

A Paul drop-goal followed after Mayerhofler missed touch badly to put his side back under the cosh, then three missed tackles, the last by Long, let in Fanolua for another try under the posts.

Newcastle had a couple of chances at the start of the second half with line-outs in the corner but they failed to make them count until replacement Joe Shaw found Walder, who released Mayerholfer in his own 22.

The former All Black broke clear and popped the ball up for Matt Tait on halfway and he chipped ahead for Stephenson to scorch through for the try, which Walder converted.

Mayerhofler then broke through and Tait made a brilliant early run to cut inside and race 30 metres to score.

Walder converted to make it 22-20 before he was just wide with a 40-metre penalty in the 70th minute.

Then Mayerhofler scythed through the middle for a try after replacement scrum half Hall Charlton popped the ball up and Walder's conversion took Newcastle 27-22 ahead.

But they were denied victory when Narraway was driven over for a try in the corner.

Although Henry missed the conversion, Gloucester nearly won it at the death when Kiole broke through and Hall Charlton and Tom May only just got to him to make a try-saving tackle.

Gloucester coach Dean Ryan blasted referee David Rose and his players afterwards.

The former Newcastle player-coach said: ''We just wanted to sit on the fence and win 22-6 after half-time.

''We let Newcastle back into the game and didn't take any responsibility in that second half.''

Ryan felt Rose had contributed to the Newcastle fightback with a penalty count of 9-1 against Gloucester in the second half.

''There was a period in the second half when I thought there wasn't a referee on the pitch!

''He also sat on the fence and didn't make any decisions. It would have been better if there'd been one of the players refereeing.''

* Wasps' director of rugby Warren Gatland revealed that harsh words in the dressing room inspired his side's outstanding second-half performance, which saw them secure a 33-19 win over London Irish.

The Zurich Premiership champions ran in three second-half tries and Gatland said: ''They got a roasting at half-time then went out and played to instructions. There was some outstanding rugby."

Gary Gold, the London Irish head coach, will be looking for the extra consistency when his side visit struggling Leeds in the Powergen Cup semi-final next weekend but he is expecting a stiff test.