Newcastle Falcons' late charge to the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals was completed in Italy on Saturday, as an eight-try demolition of Petrarca Padova sent the men from the north-east steaming through to the last eight.A trip to French outfit Clermont Auvergne now lies in wait for John Fletcher's side, a feat which looked impossible only three games ago after double defeat at Brive and Montauban.
Three bonus point wins in succession,however, paved the way for an assault on the knock-out rounds, with Saturday's mission at Stadio Plebiscito being the final hurdle.
In front of a large and vocal travelling support the Falcons did not disappoint, almost mirroring the 50-5 scoreline when the two teams met at Kingston Park back in October.
Right from the start it was wave after wave of white attack against the hosts in black, although the visitors were forced to regroup after Hall Charlton's departure only two minutes in after a heavy collision with lock Chresten Davis.
The first try was not long in coming, however, as Ollie Phillips scampered in down the left wing to get on the end of a Toby Flood grubber kick in to the huge dead ball area.
Flood converted, and despite persistent Newcastle pressure it was a full 13 minutes until the next score, again from Phillips as line out ball on the right hand side was transferred to the opposite flank.
A dogged Padova side, riding high in the top echelons of the Italian league, refused to lie down for the full 80 minutes, and they got themselves on the scoresheet as Fijian fly half Nicky Little stroked over a penalty from 30 metres.
Straight from the restart, however, the Falcons stamped their authority with a third try, Flood chipping and chasing as the England man regathered to score before converting his own try.
The vital fourth try, ensuring the bonus point needed for qualification came four minutes before the interval as centre Jamie Noon broke the line on half way and went on a marvellous solo run, standing up the last man with a sidestep to power over the line.
Following Flood's conversion there was still time for a fifth try before the interval, another superb individual effort as Anthony Elliott broke from inside his own half and outpaced the defence to score in the left corner for a 31-3 half time lead.
It was Padova who got the first score of the second stanza in the high-sided concrete stadium as replacement fly half Giacomo Preo nudged over a penalty from in front, but it was to be their last score on the day as the Falcons kept them at bay.
While the clinical edge of the first half may have been lacking from much of the second 40, it was still one-way traffic as No.8 Sisa Koyamaibole was sin-binned and hooker Andy Long rumbled over for a rolling maul try in the left corner.
With victory assured and the try count now the only factor the Falcons resorted to drop goal conversions, and they almost had a seventh try when Phillips supported a James Grindal line break, only a despairing ankle tap denying the winger his hat-trick score.
There was no stopping Loki Crichton, however, as the Samoan replacement exploited open space on the overlap to dummy and score down the right as a fragmented and broken game saw gaps appear in midfield.
Flood added the extras via a drop goal conversion, but the try of the match was reserved for the very last play as second row Jason Oakes ran 25 metres and through two tacklers to plant the ball over the line to rapturous applause from the travelling Geordies.
Tries: Phillips 2, Flood, Noon, Elliott, Long, Crichton, Oakes
Cons: Flood 5
Pens: Little, Preo
15 Mathew Tait
14 Anthony Elliott (Tim Visser, 60)
13 Jamie Noon
12 Mark Mayerhofler (Loki Crichton, 46)
11 Ollie Phillips
10 Toby Flood
9 Hall Charlton (James Grindal, 2)
1 Johnny Williams
2 Andy Long (Ross Batty, 60)
3 Micky Ward (Jon Golding, 40)
4 Jason Oakes
5 Andy Buist (Mike McCarthy, 70)
6 Geoff Parling (captain)
7 Cory Harris (Brent Wilson, 49)
8 Ben Woods
15 Luca Martin (Fabio Faggiotto, 40)
14 Alvarez Lopez Gonzalez
13 Silao Leaega
12 Manuel Dallan
11 Alessandro Onori
10 Nicky Little (Giacomo Preo, 40)
9 Stefano Canale (Nicola Leonardi, 47)
1 Michele Rizzo (Andreas Rondinelli, 40)
2 Stefano Codo (Galo Alvarez Quinones, 49)
3 Giovanni Boccalon
4 Daniele Tumiati (Alberto Saccardo, 47)
5 Chresten Davis
6 Andrea Bresolin
7 Nicolas Galatro
8 Sisa Koyamaibole
Referee: Neil Paterson (Scotland)