Premiership: Newcastle Falcons 29-12 Bath
|Newcastle (21) 29|
|Tries: Sinoti, Flood, Cooper, Goneva Cons: Flood 3 Pen: Flood|
|Bath (0) 12|
|Tries: Vuna, Perenise Con: Burns|
Newcastle Falcons gave their Premiership play-off hopes a boost with a bonus-point victory over Bath.
Sinoti Sinoti and Toby Flood scored tries inside 15 minutes, while Kyle Cooper also went over before the break as the hosts led by 21 points.
Cooper Vuna's debut try brought Bath back into the game before Niki Goneva's score increased Falcons' lead again.
The visitors grabbed a try with the last play of the game as Anthony Perenise dived over from a maul.
Newcastle replace Bath in fifth place in the Premiership table with their sixth successive home win and are now just a point behind fourth-placed Gloucester, who travel to Worcester on Saturday.
The home side took a fifth-minute lead when Josh Matavesi broke down the left wing and fed Sinoti to go over in the corner, before Flood broke through a tackle and glided over the tryline as the hosts opened up a 14-point advantage.
Bath were reduced to 14 when Aled Brew was sent to the sin bin and Falcons took advantage immediately, as a driving maul saw Cooper dive over before Flood added his third successive conversion to ensure Falcons led 21-0 at the break.
The hosts made the perfect start to the second half as Vuna somehow managed to stay in play and go over in the right-hand corner, before Nili Latu's floated pass set up Goneva, who beat three players to secure Newcastle's bonus point.
Flood added a late penalty to take his personal tally for the night to 14 points, while late pressure from Bath saw Perenise dive over for a last-minute try.
Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards:
"The boys have come off the pitch and they're not happy because we have conceded two soft tries - that's a measure of how far this squad have come.
"They felt they didn't get out of second gear consistently and had they done so they might have been happier. However, they really are upset about the two soft tries given what they aspire to and when they did get out of second gear, we look a very good side.
"Don't get me wrong, we're delighted with the win but the boys are a little bit upset they didn't perform as well as they could have."
Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder:
"I can only apologise to our fans who made the journey up to Newcastle. They are fantastic supporters and they back the team really well and the team let the supporters down tonight right across the board.
"It's just really disappointing. We actually started OK but then gave away so many penalties - eight in the first half - and there were 21 turnovers in the entire game.
"You're just not going to win when you do that and it's just simple basics. We just didn't look intelligent, we didn't look smart. You don't start well and you're just not on the front foot and it's a long way back from there."
Newcastle Falcons: Tait; Goneva, Harris, Matavesi, Sinoti; Flood, Young (capt); Vickers, Cooper, Welsh, Green, Witty, Olmstead, Latu, Hogg.
Replacements: Lawson, Lockwood, Davison, Burrows, Chick, Takulua, Hodgson, Mermoz.
Bath: Wilson; Brew, Hurrell, Tapuai, Vuna; Burns, Fotuali'i; Noguera, Batty, Lahiff, Phillips, Stooke, Garvey (capt), Grant, Mercer.
Replacements: Charles, Obano, Perenise, Douglas, Bayliss, Cook, Lewis, Williams.
Referee: Matthew Carley.