Premiership: London Irish 20-15 Newcastle Falcons
|London Irish (6) 20|
|Tries: Lewington, Ojo Cons: Geraghty 2 Pens: Noakes 2|
|Newcastle Falcons (0) 15|
|Tries: Latu, Watson Con: Goode Pen: Goode|
|Relive Sunday's Premiership and European Champions Cup action|
London Irish survived a Newcastle fightback to climb above the Falcons and send the visitors back to the bottom of the Premiership table.
Two Chris Noakes penalties put the Exiles 6-0 ahead at the break.
Alex Lewington's try straight from kick-off at the start of the second half and Topsy Ojo's score three minutes later sent Irish well clear.
Falcons hit back through Andy Goode's penalty and tries from Nili Latu and Marcus Watson, but the Exiles held on.
With this pair of sides having finished in the two places immediately above bottom spot last season both were tipped to struggle again in 2015-16, and they went into their meeting in Berkshire with only one win apiece from eight games and occupying the bottom two slots in the table.
A sparse crowd inside the Madejski Stadium were made to endure a cagey and try-less first 40 minutes, with two Noakes penalties the difference between the teams.
But, while the opening period was short of action in either 22, Lewington and Ojo both touched down within four minutes of the restart as the contest quickly opened up.
Latu then crossed in the corner and Goode, playing against the side for whom he signed in the summer but never played because of injury problems, landed a penalty to reduce the deficit.
Watson's converted try, while Irish hooker David Paice was in the sin bin, dragged Newcastle back to within five points - but the Falcons could not force another score despite heavy late pressure and had to be content with as losing bonus point.
London Irish head coach Tom Coventry told BBC Radio Berkshire:
"I was squirming in my seat there with a couple of minutes to go. It was a tough game, both teams probably played with a lack of confidence.
"We all played probably to not lose rather than go out there with a positive attitude and compete with the ball.
"It ended up being a bit of a dire spectacle even though we had a 20-point lead at one stage. We're still not managing those big moments well enough.
"I think it was our own doing that put us under pressure in the closing moments. We got the win, but we still need to be much better than that."
Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards:
"I feel sorry for (backs coach) Dave Walder in many ways. You look at the guys who are injured - we're probably lacking that little bit of X-Factor which you get with guys like (Alesana) Tuilagi, Sinoti Sinoti, Mike Delany, (Gonzalo) Tiesi, (Sonatane) Takulua and (Ruki) Tipuna.
"We've got a full international backline which is out at this moment in time and even though we scored twice and created four more opportunities, we're still not scoring and converting as many as we want to.
"London Irish didn't look like scoring (a try) other than on those two occasions and that was the disappointing thing."
London Irish: Ojo; Lewington, Hearn, Williams, Tikoirotuma; Noakes; McKibbin; Court, Paice, Franks, Symons (capt), Lloyd, Sinclair, Narraway, Treviranus.
Replacements: Ellis, Smallbone, Aulika, Trayfoot, Cowan, Steele, Geraghty, Mulchrone.
Newcastle Falcons: Hammersley; Tait, Harris, Socino, Watson; Willis, Young; Vickers, Lawson, Ryan, Wilson, Robinson, Welch (capt), Latu, Hogg.
Replacements: McGuigan, Rogers, Vea, Botha, Clever, Booth, Goode, Agulla.
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