Premiership: Newcastle Falcons 16-8 Bath - Flood leads hosts off bottom of table
|Newcastle: (10) 16|
|Tries: Williams Cons: Flood Pens: Flood 3|
|Bath: (5) 8|
|Tries: McConnochie Pens: Atkins|
Newcastle moved off the bottom of the Premiership with a gritty win over Bath at Kingston Park.
Toby Flood's early penalty was followed by a try for Bath's Ruaridh McConnochie before Johnny Williams went over for Newcastle just before the break.
Darren Atkins' penalty brought Bath closer, but Flood restored the lead with a penalty of his own after Josh Bayliss was sin-binned.
Flood kicked a third penalty to stretch Newcastle's advantage and seal victory.
The Falcons leapfrog Sale who are now bottom of the table prior to their game with Northampton on Saturday, while Bath drop to seventh after Worcester's win over Harlequins.
Bath had a difficult opening to the half - fly-half Freddie Burns and full-back Tom Homer both having to come off injured after 11 minutes before Bayliss had a try disallowed for obstruction.
Todd Blackadder's side threw away chances with a mixture of ill-discipline and poor handling before quick passing between Cooper Vuna and replacement Atkins freed substitute McConnochie and the Olympic Sevens silver medallist scored his first try since his summer move to the Rec.
But it was Williams who got what proved to be the decisive score as he gave Newcastle the lead at the break - the centre ended Falcons' best move of the game as he cut a good line through the Bath defence after a line-out in the visitors' 22.
Bayliss was then given a yellow card for a dangerous tackle on Flood 16 minutes after the restart, but Newcastle could not take full advantage of their extra man.
However, it did not matter as Flood's kicking and some solid defence was enough to seal a first victory in the Premiership since they won at Worcester on 15 September.
Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards told BBC Radio Newcastle:
"It was a bit of an arm-wrestle all the way through, we gave some silly penalties away in the first half which cost us territory, but once we tidied that up I think we controlled the game very well.
"In terms of our accuracy in attack, I thought we lacked that a little bit. A couple of times we got within five or six metres of their line and we fluffed our lines, which cost us dear.
"We're not playing with the fluidity that we really want, and if we did we'd be scoring a lot more tries, but there's a number of boys missing and when they're back hopefully things will change slightly."
Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder told BBC Radio Bristol:
"We had our opportunities, it was a hard-fought game and it probably didn't help with our two playmakers going off.
"I thought we had control for big parts of that game and little things like the yellow card put a bit of pressure on.
"It was always going to be a tough game to win here tonight and it was disappointing at times when we kicked the ball and held a lot of pressure."
Newcastle: Hammersley; Arscott, Harris, Williams, Sinoti; Flood, Stuart; Lockwood, Cooper, Welsh, Green, Young, Graham, Hardie, Nagusa
Replacements: McGuigan, Brocklebank, Wilson, Davidson, Burrows, Young, Connon, Bettencourt
Bath: Homer; Rokoduguni, Willison, Roberts, Vuna; Burns, Chudley; Catt, Dunn, Thomas, Attwood, Garvey, Ellis, Bayliss, Mercer
Replacements: Walker, van Rooyen, Lahiff, Charteris, Douglas, Cook, McConnochie, Atkins