London Irish earn vital Newcastle Falcons win

Topsy Ojo celebrates a try for London Irish

London Irish earned a vital 20-15 Aviva Premiership victory over bottom of the table rivals Newcastle Falcons at the Madesjki Stadium on Sunday.

The result could be pivotal at the end of the season in the relegation battle as London Irish have now moved off the bottom of the table and above Newcastle.

Both teams scored two tries each and the difference came down to a missed conversion and an extra penalty by the home side.

Alex Lewington and Topsy Ojo’s tries propelled Irish into a 20-0 lead before Newcastle fought back, showing real character. No tries were scored during a tight first half played in sunny conditions at the Madejski Stadium.

Newcastle enjoyed the lion’s share of possession during the opening minutes of the match, but it was the Exiles who took an early lead through Chris Noakes’ penalty.

Noakes missed a second shot at goal on 19 minutes as Irish found their stride with the ball in hand, but he was on target shortly after to double the lead.

Craig Willis was wide with a penalty attempt that would have got Newcastle off the mark, and it remained that way until half-time, with the hosts ending the first period on top.

Irish made a rapid start to the second half to extend their lead, scoring two tries within five minutes of the restart.

Alex Lewington sprinted over from the kick-off for substitute Shane Geraghty to convert, before Geraghty’s kick was snapped up by Topsy Ojo for the hosts’ second try.

The conversion made it 20-0 and left Newcastle with a mountain to climb in the final 30 minutes. Nili Latu eventually got the Falcons off the mark with a try, but the conversion was missed.

The gap was down to 12 points on the hour thanks to Andy Goode’s penalty, which came after Irish’s David Paice was sin-binned for a high tackle.

And the visitors set up a nervy finish when Marcus Watson collected a chip kick to score a great try, which Goode converted to make it 20-15.

Geraghty then missed a penalty for the hosts with eight minutes remaining but the hosts were able to hold on for victory.

Final Score London Irish 20 (6) Newcastle Falcons 15 (0)

Scorers

London Irish
Tries – Lewington, Ojo
Pen – Noakes (2)
Con – Geraghty (2)
Drop –

Newcastle Falcons
Tries – Latu, Watson
Pen – Goode
Con – Goode
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee :JP Doyle (103rd Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Greg Garner & Roy Maybank.
TMO: Graham Hughes.

Teams

London Irish

15. Topsy Ojo, 14. Alex Lewington; 13. Ciaran Hearn, 12. Johnny Williams; 11. Aseli Tikoirotuma, 10. Chris Noakes; 9. Brendan McKibbin; 1. Tom Court, 2. David Paice, 3. Ben Franks, 4. Matt Symons (Captain); 5. Will Lloyd; 6. Jebb Sinclair, 7. Luke Narraway, 8. Ofisa Treviranus

Replacements: 16. Tom Cruse ; 17. Tom Smallbone; 18. Halani Aulika, 19. Joe Trayfoot; 20. Blair Cowan, 21.Darren Allinson; 22. Shane Geraghty, 23. Fergus Mulchrone

Newcastle Falcons

15. Simon Hammersley, 14. Alex Tait, 13. Chris Harris, 12. Juan Pablo Socino, 11. Marcus Watson, 10. Craig Willis, 9. Michael Young, 8. Ally Hogg., 7. Nili Latu, 6. Will Welch (c), 5. Sean Robinson, 4. Mark Wilson, 3. Paddy Ryan, 2. Scott Lawson, 1. Rob Vickers

Replacements: 16. George McGuigan, 17. Alex Rogers, 18. Taione Vea, 19. Mouritz Botha, 20. Todd Clever, 21. Jamie Booth, 22. Andy Goode, 23. Belisario Agulla.

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