A late Michael Mayhew try snatched a share of the spoils for Newcastle Falcons against Worcester Warriors in the Aviva Premiership on Friday night.
Just over 7,000 fans witnessed a compelling encounter on Tyneside as the Falcons went in search of their third consecutive victory on home soil.
Mayhew’s score three minutes from time means it is as you were before Friday’s showdown, leaving Alan Tait’s men five points adrift of newly-promoted Worcester.
The Kingston Park outfit now have a two week break from domestic action as they head into the Amlin Challenge Cup with games against Lyon and Petrarca Padova.
Newcastle had to come from 13-6 down at the break to salvage a precious two points under the spotlight of the ESPN cameras.
Both sides exchanged a series of penalties in the first-half with Worcester’s Joe Carlisle and Newcastle’s Jimmy Gopperth smashing home two penalties each to make it 6-6.
The first period was a very physical contest which saw the likes of James Hudson, Jamie Helleur and Euan Murray put some notable big hits on their opposite number’s.
Hudson’s presence on the field after a four-week absence was a welcome boost for the northeasterners who continued to press for an opening throughout the game.
However the first try of the match was scored by the visitors thanks to Shaun Perry who scooted in at the corner following a neat pass from Carlisle.
The former England man slid over the sodden turf to touchdown with Carlisle converting from the touchline to extend Worcester’s lead to 13-6.
Newcastle came out for the second-half with a real urgency in their armour and were soon back in business winning a penalty in front of the sticks which Gopperth converted.
Reducing the arrears to 13-9 the Falcons got into the groove with their attacking game and were almost under the posts through South African hit-man Corne Uys.
Winger Alex Tait broke the Warriors’ defensive line at speed and offloaded from the floor only for Uys to spill the ball with the try line beckoning.
Anguish and despair etched on the former Free State Cheetahs centre was plain for all to see as a golden opportunity was spurned by the men from the north.
In the closing stages Andy Goode came on for Carlisle adding experience to the visiting backline and he restored Worcester’s seven point advantage with a well-taken penalty following a high tackle by Luke Eves.
This sparked a big reaction from the crowd who got right behind the home side with a packed South Stand sucking the ball to the try line.
And they got their wishes when Mayhew junior barged his way over the line to the delight and relief of all inside the ground. Gopperth kept his nerve to convert in typical fashion.
In the final minute Newcastle thought they had sealed a dramatic victory when Ally Hogg took an inside pass and had a clear run to the line. However referee Wayne Barnes adjudged Tim Swinson to have knocked-on in the build up.
Head coach Tait gave his assessment to the gathering media following the game saying: “It’s two points that will help us no end.
“I would like to thank everyone who turned up to support us tonight on the back of the club’s ticket offer. The supporters created a really good atmosphere and were fantastic.
“We should have been fast out of the traps but we were very nervy and we only seem to start to play when all seems lost.
“We have to start believing in ourselves. We have a fantastic squad but they have to realise that this is only November and stop being so nervous.”
Newcastle: 15 Greg Goosen, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Corne Uys, 12 Jamie Helleur, 11 Rikki Sheriffe, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Jordi Pasqualin, 1 Grant Shiells, 2 Joe Graham, 3 Euan Murray, 4 James Hudson (c), 5 Andrew van der Heijden, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch, 8 Ally Hogg
Replacements: 16 Michael Mayhew, 17 Ashley Wells, 18 James Hall, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 Redford Pennycook, 21 Chris Pilgrim, 22 Luke Eves, 23 Jeremy Manning