Northampton Saints were made to pay for Kieran Brookes’ first-half red card as Newcastle Falcons battled to victory in the Premiership at Franklin’s Gardens.
Vereniki Goneva’s late try won it for Newcastle, who move into seventh place.
Joel Hodgson crossed early for Falcons and traded penalties with Stephen Myler before Brookes was sent off for clearing a ruck with his shoulder.
Christian Day’s try put Saints ahead, but a Will Witty score kept Falcons in it before Goneva struck.
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Newcastle went into the game with just one away win all season, but started superbly as Hodgson passed out to Goneva on the right wing and the big Fijian returned it to the former Saints fly-half, who went over.
Goneva thought he had set up a second try for Marcus Watson soon after, but Juan Pablo Socino was adjudged to have impeded Luther Burrell in the build-up.
With the score 8-3, the game looked to have turned on its head when Brookes was red-carded in the 38th minute as he crashed into the head of David Wilson with his shoulder.
But to Northampton’s credit they were the better team after the break as Day was forced over from a line-out, but Witty’s close-range effort saw Newcastle take a two-point lead.
Myler’s third penalty put Saints one point up with 10 minutes left, but Goneva intercepted Tom Kessell’s pass deep in his own half and ran the length of the field before side-stepping Ben Foden to score his first try for Newcastle to win the game.
Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder:
“I’ve looked at it a few times and what happened was that someone put their head into the ruck, they came in and caused that first offence, Kieran Brookes took exception to that and their players took exception to Kieran Brookes.
“What you can’t do is retaliate. You can’t strike anybody near the head and the referee had no option.
“If you’re behind in the game or ahead in the game, you don’t want anyone getting sent off – it puts your team under a lot of pressure.
“But I think the 14 men responded really, really well in that second half and we should have come away with the win.”
Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards:
“What a great win. And to be honest there were a couple of tries that went begging as well. It was an unbelievable start, and we had a try scratched off when it shouldn’t have been.
“I haven’t looked at the sending off too closely, but if he has made contact with the head it is disappointing from Kieran’s point of view.
“In the second half we turned over a few balls, but we fought our way back and got the win that we wanted.
“Niki is a quality player, to step aside Foden at the end for the try was sheer class.”
Northampton: Foden; Elliott, Burrell, Hutchinson, Collins; Myler, Kessell; Waller, Haywood, Brookes, Craig, Day (capt), Paterson, Gibson, Nutley.
Replacements: Clare, Waller, Hill, Onojaife, Ludlam, Groom, Hanrahan, Wilson.
Red card: Brookes
Newcastle: Tait; Goneva, Waldouck, Socino, Watson; Hodgson, Young; Vickers, Lawson, Wilson, Green, Witty, Chick, Wilson (capt), Hogg.
Replacements: Sowrey, Rogers, Wilson, Civetta, Fonua, Egerton, Connon, Burdon.
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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/38067080