Leeds score late try to take a lead to Newcastle for second leg of play-off
Last Updated: 06/05/13 9:58pm
Leeds Carnegie defeated Newcastle Falcons 24-19 in the first leg of their Championship play-off semi-final at Headingley.
A see-saw contest in bright sunshine on Bank Holiday Monday went the way of the hosts thanks to a late try from Ryan Burrows, meaning Leeds will take a narrow lead to Kingston Park for the return fixture next Sunday.
Stevie McColl also touched down for in-form Carnegie, who had come into the knockout stages of the campaign off the back of six straight victories.
Ally Hogg crossed for the Falcons - who had finished the regular season on top of the table - with Jimmy Gopperth providing the rest of their points, the fly-half trading kicks with opposite number Joe Ford.
Leeds broke the deadlock midway through the first half when Fred Burdon did well to draw out Newcastle full-back Alex Tait before passing the ball on to the supporting McColl.
Ford converted and although Gopperth replied with a penalty, Leeds were gifted the chance to restore their seven-point cushion almost immediately when the visitors made a mess of the restart.
A further penalty took the score to 13-3, yet by the break the Falcons had drawn level; Hogg went over in the corner and after adding the touchline conversion, Gopperth slotted over a penalty with the final kick of the half.
The Leinster-bound no 10 then added six more points to give Newcastle a comfortable cushion going into the final 10 minutes of the game.
However, Leeds made sure they would have their noses in front ahead of the second leg with a rousing finish in front of their own fans.
A pair of Ford penalties made it 19 apiece before Burrows caught the Falcons flat footed in the dying stages, the replacement just managing to hold off the last defender to reach the line for a try that went unconverted.
RFU Championship play-offs 2012/13
Newcastle Falcons will face the Bedford Blues in the Championship play-off final following a 15-6 win over Leeds.
Nottingham will welcome back Tim Streather as they look to overturn a nine-point deficit against Bedford.
Leeds Carnegie coach Diccon Edwards has praised his players after they upset the odds to beat Newcastle 24-19.