Saracens 40 Falcons 3

Sunday 03 November 2013 Written by: Adam

After only trailing 10-3 at the break, the Falcons were undone by four Saracens tries to end their two game unbeaten run in the Premiership.

Sitting in ninth place, the Falcons now gear-up for back-to-back LV= Cup games, hosting London Irish at Kingston Park next weekend, before travelling to Gloucester a week later.

The Falcons began the contest in positive fashion and had the chance to open up the scoring on 10 minutes with a Phil Godman penalty 25 metres out. However, the Scotland international cannoned the post with what looked like a simple kick and the hosts escaped an early set-back to keep the score poised at 0-0.

Working through the phases with experienced scrum-half Mike Blair dictating affairs at the breakdown, the visitors were putting the Londoners under significant pressure. A mammoth hit-up from skipper Will Welch made it clear that Saracens would be in for a game on a crisp autumn afternoon in the capital.

Newcastle made their early pressure count with 14 minutes on the clock when Godman made amends for his previous penalty miss to give the Falcons the advantage at 3-0.

Saracens were reduced to 14 men just short of the midway point when Matt Stevens was sin-binned for pulling down Carlo del Fava at the lineout. A heated scuffle ensued, and after both sets of players had calmed down, Godman struck his effort wide of the uprights. The Scottish fly-half had another opportunity to convert a penalty moments later, but again he was unable to slot it home.

Charlie Hodgson was gifted an opportunity to get Sarries on level terms on 24 minutes, but uncharacteristically the England international sliced his attempt wide.

Despite looking secure in defence for the majority of the first-half, Newcastle were eventually opened up 10 minutes from the break when Hodgson scythed his way through a gap to touchdown from five metres out. Alex Goode provided Saracens with the perfect platform after his line-break got his side to within inches of the Falcons’ line. The ball was shifted to Hodgson, who did the rest to the delight of the home crowd. Hodgson converted his own score from in front of the posts to give Sarries a 7-3 lead.

With the interval looming, Hodgson extended the deficit to 10-3 with a well-taken penalty 35 metres out. Referee Matt Carley awarded the penalty after Ryan Shortland was adjudged to have taken out a Saracens player in the air when trying to claim Hodgson’s up-and-under. Dean Richards’ men went into the interval 10-3 down, but had every reason to be satisfied with their first half display.

But the second half was a different story with Saracens looking more potent in attack with David Strettle causing problems for the visitors down the near side.

Newcastle made a sloppy start to the second stanza, conceding a penalty one minute into the restart which Hodgson duly converted to take the score to 13-3.

Hodgson increased the score-line to 16-3 on 54 minutes with his third penalty success of the afternoon after the Falcons were penalised at the scrum.

On 57 minutes Strettle scored the first of his two tries after the TMO judged the pacey winger to have got the ball down before putting his foot in touch. Hodgson’s touchline conversion hit the post, but Saracens led 21-3.

Hooker Jamie George was next on the score sheet, adding the finishing touches to a rolling maul with Hodgson again hitting the woodwork with the conversion.

10 minutes from time Goode touched down in the corner with the England international having an easy run to the line with Sarries making use of numbers on the far side. Hodgson converted to make it 33-3.

And three minutes from the end, Strettle grabbed his brace to rubberstamp Saracens’ supremacy on the day for a 40-3 win.

Attendance: 8,152