Premiership: Newcastle Falcons 11-10 Harlequins

Vereniki Goneva
Vereniki Goneva scored his sixth try of the season for Newcastle
Aviva Premiership
Newcastle (11) 11
Try: Goneva Pen: Takulua 2
Harlequins (0) 10
Try: Brown Con: Smith Pen: Smith

Vereniki Goneva's try on his return for Newcastle helped the Falcons edge out Harlequins at Kingston Park.

Goneva muscled his way up the right-hand touchline to score and two Sonatane Takulua penalties put Newcastle 11-0 ahead at half time.

But they failed to add to their lead as Quins mounted a second-half comeback.

Mike Brown went over for the visitors shortly after the break and Marcus Smith's penalty brought them to within a single point but Newcastle held on.

Harlequins were pressing for a penalty as the clock ticked down but a knock-on ended their hopes and consigned them to a defeat that continues their inconsistent season.

Newcastle's sixth Premiership win kept them in touch with the sides chasing the play-offs - they are just three points off fourth-placed Saracens and level with Leicester ahead of the clash between those two on Sunday at Welford Road.

Falcons dominated the first half but only produced one try as Sinoti Sinoti's break was well-finished by Goneva.

James Chisholm and Alofa Alofa carried strongly to set up Brown's try to revive Quins, and although Smith penalty brought the visitors within one point with 12 minutes remaining, they couldn't force victory.

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards:

"We said before the start of the Christmas period, 'There's games to be won here, let's go out and win them'.

"If we win two out of three I'll be reasonably happy, if it's all three I'll be delighted, and if it's just one out of three I'll be pretty upset and so will the boys.

"It's not so long ago people were talking about us losing three or four but the season goes like that, it's the nature of the game."

Harlequins director of rugby John Kingston:

"It was a bit of tightrope, but we were far too inaccurate. They had the rub of the green but that often happens when you play at home, and it's a very difficult place to win.

"They had a lot of the ball in the first 20 minutes but we felt we were the better team after that.

"Ultimately, we weren't quite accurate enough, but we move on. We have two very big important games coming up and we hope to have Danny Care back soon."

Newcastle: Hammersley; Goneva, Harris, Socino, Sinoti; Flood, Takulua; Vickers, Cooper, Welsh, Green, Witty, M. Wilson (capt), Graham, Latu.

Replacements: Sowrey, Lockwood, S. Wilson, Robinson, Burrows, Young, Hodgson, Tait.

Harlequins: Brown; Walker, Alofa, Roberts, Visser; Smith, Kitto; Marler, Ward (capt), Sinckler, Merrick, Glynn, Chisholm, Robshaw, Bothma.

Replacements: Piper, Boyce, Swainston, Matthews, Luamanu, Lewis, Lang, Cheeseman.

Referee: Luke Pearce.

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