Newcastle wing Tom May sealed a dramatic late Guinness Premiership victory over Leeds Carnegie on Friday at Kingston Park, smashing over a 40-metre drop goal to snatch the points for the Falcons.Against a battling Leeds side which fought its way back from 15-8 down at the break, the Falcons survived injuries to captain Phil Dowson and talisman Matthew Burke to outlast a gallant Yorkshire outfit.
Taking their home tally to three from three this season, the hosts were made to work all the way despite a dominant first half performance.
It had been Leeds, however, who grabbed the early lead just five minutes in through scrum half Joe Bedford, as runs from Leigh Hinton and Lee Biggs and quick offloading set up the scoring chance down the blindside.
Burke fired wide with his first long range pop at goal, but with the Newcastle pack in the ascendancy there was no shortage of forward momentum as flanker Geoff Parling broke through the defensive line with a string of leg-pumping runs round the fringes.
Sixteen minutes in to the game Newcastle were finally rewarded for their efforts as right wing Tom May kept up his 100 per cent home scoring record this season with a weaving diagonal run having been played in by a sublime deft pass from fly half Steve Jones off quick line out ball.
Burkes missed conversion kept the scores level at five apiece, but the Falcons pack was delivering a statement of intent with an onslaught of power in the scrum to drive the Yorkshiremen to drive them off their own ball as well as stealing a bagful of opposition line out ball.
Denied a second try from a Burke chip-and-chase, the hosts finally took the lead on 24 minutes as Jones slotted back in to the pocket to stroke over a drop goal from inside the 22.
Frustratingly failing to turn their forward possession in to more points from their spell camped in the Leeds 22, the home pack finally got the try it deserved on the half hour as hooker Andy Long rumbled over from a line out catch-and-drive in the left corner.
Burke converted from the touchline, but a never-say-die Leeds team kept themselves in the game just before the interval as Hintons penalty narrowed the half time gap to just 15-8.
The Falcons second-half cause was dealt an early blow as skipper Phil Dowson was forced from the field with a popped AC joint in his shoulder, Hinton stroking over a penalty to get Leeds within four points before a cool-headed Burke nudged over a timely drop goal with his left foot from the 22.
Burke was again to the fore in producing a try-saving tackle on his own line as Leeds Countered, and it turned out to be his last contribution after leaving the field due to cramping and the illness he had been suffering all week in the build-up.
A third Hinton penalty narrowed the gap back to four on the hour mark, but the Kingston Park crowd was stunned in to silence when a sustained period of pick-and-go play on the Falcons line resulted in lock Erik Lund burrowing over for an unconverted try to snatch a one-point lead with 11 minutes to go.
But step up Tom May, the man to take on the pressure and line up for a match-winning drop goal fully 40 metres from the uprights holding his nerve to drill through the kick and seal the points on another prosperous home night for his Falcons outfit.
Tries: May, Long
Drops: Jones, Burke, May
Tries: Bedford, Lund
Pens: Hinton 3
15 Matthew Burke (Ollie Phillips, 64)
14 Tom May
13 Mark Mayerhofler
12 Joe Shaw
11 John Rudd
10 Steve Jones
9 Lee Dickson (James Grindal, 57)
1 Joe McDonnell (Jon Golding, 50)
2 Andy Long (Matt Thompson, 54)
3 David Wilson (Joe McDonnell, 70)
4 Jason Oakes (Andy Perry, 62)
5 Mark Sorenson
6 Geoff Parling
7 Phil Dowson (captain, Brent Wilson, 53))
8 Russell Winter
15 Leigh Hinton
14 John Holtby (Jon Goodridge, 59)
13 Tom Rock
12 Lee Blackett
11 Tom Biggs
10 Richard Vasey
9 Joe Bedford
1 Tommy McGee (Michael Cusack, 53)
2 Vili Ma'asi (James Parkes, 59)
3 Colin Noon
4 Stuart Hooper (captain)
5 Erik Lund
6 Rhys Oakley
7 Calum Clark (Kearnan Myall, 61)
8 Mark Lock
Referee: Andrew Small