The Falcons and Gloucester played out a nail-biting match at a cold, windy Kingston Park last night with Newcastle gaining four priceless points in a 26-25 win, giving us a fighting chance of avoiding relegation.
We now trail Worcester by five points ahead of their match this afternoon.
Alan Tait made a number of changes from Sunday's defeat at Harlequins, bringing in Grant Shiells, Euan Murray and Will Welch in the pack and Jordi Pasqualin, Corne Uys, Ryan Shortland and Greg Goosen behind them. Taiasina Tu'ifua and Suka Hufanga made home debuts. For Gloucester, Mike “just a rubbish Jamie Noon” Tindall played his first game since the World Cup, if you believe Sky Sports News.
To the horror of 4,000 of the crowd, but the delight of the probably other 111, Olly Morgan scored after around 60 seconds, cutting in down the Gloucester right. Freddie Burns converted but the Geordies didn't let this silence them, and Jimmy Gopperth reduced the deficit with a penalty.
After just six minutes, an error from Tindall allowed Pasqualin to outpace the away defence from 30 metres and prompt a little beer-spilling in the South Stand (I'm sorry again!).Gopperth added the conversion.
Two penalties by Burns restored Gloucester's lead, and then James Simpson-Daniel drifted across the pitch and ran through a gaping hole left by some reluctant Falcons defenders, giving his team a 10-point lead.
Here we go again.
Heading towards half-time, the game remained attritional but the Falcons snuck an advantage when Alasdair Strokosch was sent to the bin for a trip, and before half-time Fitzpatrick battered his way through the Gloucester defence and was not to be stopped from touching down for a vital try.
People might say that Fitzy is one-dimensional, but he is very good at what he does.
Gopperth's conversion got us to within three points at the break, and as the referee blew the half-time whistle both the home team and crowd had their tails up.
Gopperth equalised almost immediately after half-time, and two further penalties made the score 26-20 with 20 minutes to go. Six points, that magical number that looks OK but is never quite secure.
Gloucester rarely looked like scoring, but then the Falcons, for all their huge effort, couldn't get the score that would settle everyone's nerves. A knock-on in front of our line at 23-20 was a huge let-off and a sign of what was to come.
With a quarter of an hour left, Scott Lawson fought through and scored, and all eyes were on Burns, who had a 100% record with the boot up until then. Sometimes you just have to look up and say thank you, for example last night as the conversion missed.
Not that the Falcons had any regard for their supporters' heart rates either. Gopperth also spoiled his perfect kicking record by missing a late penalty.
With seconds to go the Falcons won the ball, and it was hacked out in front of the East Stand to the elation of everyone wearing black. Except any Gloucester fans wearing a black coat of course.
So for two hours this afternoon we will take a break from supporting the Premiership's northern-most team to its most southerly, as Exeter look to do us a favour and beat Worcester. They probably have a bit of self-interest in winning too.
Nil points for the Warriors today sets us up nicely for our next league game, at Sale on Boxing Day, and with Worcester at home to Leicester the following day, if we were just a point behind or even level it would really put the pressure on our relegation rivals.
The fightback always starts with us beating Gloucester at KP. Up the Mighty Falcons!
As soon as Wells came on, everything deteriorated. His first scrum was a disaster,nnthen a waterboy came on andnspoke to him and I guess he was not offering him a drink! His scrummaging seemed to pick up a li8ttle after that but in my view he is still hopeless, and for a prop, that aint good!
Thought the team played with a sense of meaning last night although Gopperths new trick of switching the play back accross thepark was picked up on quickly yet he continued to do it. A lot of aimless passing in the centres, a lot of mistakes in general but I am 100% happy with the result and let us hope that is then first of many.
Well done everyone!
For me - Jordi staked his place as the first choice No 9 - much faster ball all night (assisted by the forwards clearly who made his job that much easier) but either way a good solid performance from him until he took the knock to his head.
Lots of guts and determination last night from everyone, and it was starting to look as though it might come together. I have to confess I was more than just a little nervous when the replacements came on (especially when Wells came on) but again it all held together nicely.
Very promising indeed - still some silly mistakes - but much better - one happy punter - but it was freezing last night!!!!
A much better performance, and a good game of rugby, with some quality tries. The second half in particular showed better control of the game. It will be necessary to win most of the home games in this fashion, which is a tall order, but at least the possibility is there.
The new players will take time to blend in, but hopefully we can continue to hit a consistent standard like this. As supporters this is all we can ask for, and with luck it may even be enough.
Jordi is deffo first choice love to see a scrum half standing tall in control of the game. Box kicks need some work but gave Goperth a time to work and it showed.
Agree Wells not up to it yet needs more time.
How far is Golding away?
How good was the line out best I have seen it.
Got to keep M Mayhew here are we going to try and re-sign him? he is turning out to be a match winner. His line out throws first half where great.
Fitzy and Uys looked solid.
I know Hufanga not fully fit but why was he backing off when being attacked looked a little suspect. I expected big hits off him being Tongan even if not fit.
Got to fit Hellier into the team maybe move Uys to wing did you see his hand shake to every fan at the South stand barrier that's how to impress kids and get punters back in good on you passion in abundance.
Shortland good running game with some really good lines (not seen by his team mates in some instances) worked hard but again his defence looks a bit dodgy scrags his man a little.
But overall well done lads a very good game and result.
Some very interesting comments Ned.You been a rugby fan long? I presume you mean Jamie Helleur? As for game a win is a win,thank goodnes for the fact for some of the game Glaws looked like world beaters, but for most they looked like they had never played the game before .Our forwards put in one of their better performances at least they fronted up. Breakdown is still a mess and the ball ponderously slow still. The back line is nowhere near right. And our defence is still very poor in certain situations.but I am pleased, but as I have said before harder challenges are ahead and I can see Glaws dragged in to the dog fight at the bottom.These games are MUST! win as was Worcester!!!!
Glaws certainly helped the Falcons by mistakes leading up to the two tries and giving away penalties in front of the post. But overall they were a more talented side than Wasps and Worcester, so the Falcons' performance was better in my opinion. But it needs to get better still to get the number of league wins needed to escape.
Great to get the win, the team is going in the right direction, still room for improvement but hopefully we can use the next two Amlin games to build some winning momentum going into our next league game v Sale.
I actually thought Gloucester played quite well on Friday and we beat a decent side for a change and not a side that didnt turn up.
Jordi put in the best performance for us from a 9 this season and needs a run at it now.
A great team performance though and by no means perfect but under the pressure they were they deserved alot of credit.
Hopefully Golding and Fielden will be added to that 23 on boxing day but will also add I think Grant Shiells has been excellent for us this season.
One thing that does bug me though is the lack of credit giving to the lads for winning by posters on this site especially some of the over negative folk.....shame! If the bars had been slow or a rubbish band on or heaven forbid we'd just lost there would have been a rush !
It's the nature of message boards Steve, you know that.
I wasn't there so difficult to comment in detail. From what I've read I'd say it was a decent win, in fact no, it was a HUGE win, absolutely essential we did too.
If we can beat Sale I may just start believing we can pull off the impossible AGAIN, though we are dependent on Wuss not picking up points too, much the same as we were with Leeds last season, only this season I think we are up against a much better team in Wuss than we were in Leeds.
It's still a big ask to avoid the drop, no negativity there, just a dose of realism.
Massive win, but Steve - Glaws were awful, but for a change we were not as bad as the opposition. Some things went really well, lineout for example and a couple of excellent tries. I thought Shortland had a very good game, but the two South Sea lads didn't look fit - it will come in time I'm sure. If we can just cut out our own mistakes, especially the simple little things like spilling the ball in contact, then we will start to get losing bonus points as a minimum and wining points now and again (realism not pessimism). One thing I dont understand, how can VDH get MOM when he came off with about 25 mins left, or if he was playing that well, why did we take him off?
All in all though fairly happy, a little bit of progress and hope for continued progress and better things to come!
Both Vanders & Corne came off & immediately applied ice-packs. I agree with C-S - he didn't seem to do much (if anything) wrong all game. He made one huge hit on one of the Glaws team - who took a while to get up afterwards!
I may have been mis-interpreted by CS and DMc, I was not criticising VDH, but found it odd that he went off when playing reasonably well yet still got MOM. The two do not go together for me. If he had come off early after scoring 2 or 3 tries and destroying the opposition I could understand the MOM award but, as well as he played, he was not so good as to warrant MOM with 25 mins to go imho. If I am wrong and he was playing that well, then why bring him off? That question may well be answered now by DMc, with ice being applied, although I would suggest that ice is fairly normal for any player coming off, especially an abrasive forward, to minimimse bruising just from general impact etc rather than a specific injury.
Steve,Gloucester played quiet well !!!.You were looking at the game ? How on earth could you begin to think that? they were awful. Old is right we were marginally better and if they continue to play like that they will soon be in the mire!!They were one of the worst teams I have seen this year and I have not missed a game home or away.Get Real !!!
Are you calling me an idiot Twich? you know s*d all about me, so do not make judgements like that, I may not be as "idiotic" as you may think (an honours degree, a chartered professional position and directorship in the leading UK company in my field lay testament to that!). I do have an opinion though, to which I am entitled, and it is that Glaws were poor. My reasons for that opinion are, amongst others, that despite us gifting them points e.g. the first try, spilling ball in the contact several times, and occasionally looking disinterested in defence e.g. the JSD try, they still managed to lose to the team cut adrift at the bottom of the league - a poor show in anyones book I would say. That does not take anything away from a much improved Falcons performance which gives hope for the future, nor from the credit I bestowed where it was due e.g. lineouts where I gave credit "for makein the opposition look poor" as you put it.
I shall refrain from calling you a moron,as I do not know you,I just happen to have a different opinion to you!
Unlike Old, Twlch I dont feel I have to justify my position in life. But you can rest assured I am not an idiot,and again I like you am entitled to an opinion.If you read some of my posts assuming you can read, you will see I gave some credit for our performance, but any one who thinks we are out of woods is mad.We have a lot to improve, and luckily on the night Glaws were poor. I stood with a few of their supporters and they are very worried.
If Glaws have problems, it isn't at fly-half. Burns is a class player. His distribution is better than Jimmy and the only goal-kick he missed on Friday was virtually impossible because of the wind. Sale obviously need a fly-half and Saints are discovering that Lamb is too unreliable - although he always plays well against the Falcons.
If the team can dig itself out of the huge hole its in this season and with the new owner investing more I believe Jimmy can be tempted to stay if the salary is right.He has been a top club man since he arrived.
I dont think people should resort to name-calling just because another person has a different opinion. I have been critical of the coaching team and some have disagreed with me on here, I dont think they are morons just because they hold a different opinion to mine.
I have also said I will be considering my position to continue supporting the club because of poor performances and lack of direction from the coaching team. And that has not changed despite the Gloucester win, but the performance had a lot of promise.
I saw the whole game on premiership tv and was encouraged by what I saw. Some here are saying Gloucester were poor but sometimes you can make another team look poor if you exert pressure. In the Glos game, for the very first time( I dont know why we have not done it before) Gopperth restarts were perfectly timed, very high and we had chasers.We didnt give Glos a platform to go through their phases except may be at scrum time( And was suprised by the bad reffing there too).
Glos played poorly because we put them under pressure forcing their players to make rushed decisions then profiteering from their mistakes.So credit where it is due, the boys actually played well and we actually held on to the ball and gained territory. With a bit more nouce we could've won more comfortably.So well done to the boys and more of the same please.
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