Falcons grab crucial win
May penalty dashes Gloucester's hopes for top spot
Last Updated: 11/01/09 9:54pm
Williams: fourth try in four games
A penalty from Tom May with 10 minutes to go saw Newcastle clinch a vital 10-7 victory over Gloucester and ease their relegation fears at Kingston Park on Sunday.
Danny Williams' first half try - his fourth from his last four starts - saw the Falcons take second placed Gloucester into half-time with a seven-point lead.
Despite scrum-half Rory Lawson replying for the West Country men immediately after the restart, Newcastle's defence remained solid, enabling May to grab the winning points close to the death.
Falcons fly-half Rory Clegg struggled with the blustery conditions, sending two kickable penalties wide in the opening eight minutes.
In contrast Gloucester, when awarded a penalty on the Newcastle 22, chose the scrum instead but to little avail.
It all changed on 25 minutes though, when a blistering run into the heart of Gloucester's defence by Jamie Noon saw the ball recycled to Clegg who fed the returning Williams.
The former England and Leeds Rhinos rugby league winger burst through two tackles before cantering in from 20 yards. Clegg made no mistake this time to add the extras.
After the break the visitors hit back rapidly, their grinding forward play finally paying off when Lawson plunged over from close in, with Olly Barkley on target for the conversion.
Steve Jones, who had replaced Clegg, missed an opportunity to put the hosts back into the lead soon after, sending his penalty wide.
Young took Newcastle to the visitors' line with a scampering run but repeated drives from the hosts came to nothing.
Minutes later however, May drilled his penalty through the posts to give his side the lead.
Gloucester, who could have gone top with a win, will rue the decision that saw them turn down a kickable penalty with five minutes remaining.
And injuries to England hopefuls Mike Tindall and Olly Morgan can only have added to their frustrations.
The crucial win will boost confidence in a Newcastle side who face a potentially decisive relegation clash with Bristol next month.