Tigers squeeze past Falcons

Leicester Tigers went into the top four of the Aviva Premiership with a 14-13 victory over Newcastle Falcons.

The Tigers came from 10 points down to record their second victory of the season as Newcastle picked up their first bonus point of the campaign, though they remain in the lower echelons of the table. 

Freddie Burns' kicking was crucial to the victory, but Leicester held out for the points despite playing the last 10 minutes with 14 men and Newcastle having a golden chance with the last kick of the game. 

Neither side were at their best and it could have gone either way, but Leicester had the benefit of making the most of their chances while Newcastle failed to capitalise on their early lead. 

Both teams made early errors but it was Leicester who made the most crucial one, allowing Juan Pablo Socino too much space as he tracked down the centre of the pitch before touching down beneath the posts after receiving the offload from Sonatane Takulua. 

Mike Delany made use of the simple conversion for the Falcons. The visitors struggled to recover and handed Delany two chances to extend the lead into double figures, the New Zealand fly-half taking advantage with the second penalty. 

Midway through the half, sustained pressure from the Tigers paid dividends as Mike Fitzgerald scored his first Premiership try in the far corner, halving the deficit in the process. The narrow angle proved too difficult for Burns, but he atoned minutes later with a simple penalty kick to close the gap further. 

The last action of the first half saw Delany unable to nose Newcastle back into a substantial lead, his penalty looking destined to go through before striking the post and bouncing out. Leicester started the better of the sides in the second half though, and completed the turnaround with a Burns penalty from 40 metres out with 50 minutes played putting them one point ahead. 

The match then descended into a kicking affair with neither side able to take hold of the game and make sure of the points, but another Burns penalty for Leicester did put some day-light between the two sides. 

That was quickly extinguished as Newcastle kicked a penalty via the boot of Delany, but it could have been so much more as the TMO ruled out a try for Daniel Temm just being in touch with his foot. 

Referee JP Doyle went back to the penalty, sent Peter Betham to the sin-bin, and the successful kick set up a scintillating final few minutes. 

A late Newcastle attack resulted in a Leicester injury and as tempers between the two sides frayed, the Falcons worked the ball out for a drop goal, but Joel Hodgson smashed the ball wide from just metres out as the final whistle blew.

The scorers:

Newcastle Falcons:
Tries: Socino
Cons: Delaney
Pens: Delaney, Hodgson

For Leicester Tigers:
Tries: Fitzgerald
Pens: Burns 3

Newcastle: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Dominic Waldouck, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch (c), 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Evan Olmstead, 4 Calum Green, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Sam Lockwood
Replacements: 16 Ben Sowrey, 17 Rob Vickers, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Will Witty, 20 Dan Temm, 21 Michael Young, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Belisario Agulla

Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait (c), 14 Telusa Veainu, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Owen Williams, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Luke Hamilton, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Mike Fitzgerald, 3 Dan Cole, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Ellis Genge
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Greg Bateman, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Will Evans, 21 Jono Kitto, 22 Jack Roberts, 23 Adam Thompstone

Referee:  JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Peter Allan, Jonathan Healy
TMO: Rowan Kitt