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Brett Connon penalty proves decisive as Newcastle edge Exeter

By PA
Jack Yeandle (C) of Exeter Chiefs in action. Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Brett Connon kicked a decisive penalty to see Newcastle to a 24-21 win over Exeter in a tight contest at Kingston Park on Friday night.

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The Falcons led 21-14 at half-time after tries from George McGuigan, Mateo Carreras and Guy Pepper, with Ruben van Heerden and Jack Yeandle on the scoresheet for the Chiefs.

Connon’s penalty came from 40 metres out to extend the lead to 10 points, which proved decisive after Scott Sio scored for Chiefs.

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It was the away side with the momentum at the death, but the Falcons defended with heart and managed to hold on for a second win in three matches.

The Falcons were rewarded for their bright start on six minutes, with McGuigan going over from the back of a maul for his seventh try of the season.

Exeter levelled things up after a spell of pressure in the Falcons 22, with Van Heerden barging his way over from close range.

Carreras continued his blistering form for the Falcons as he put them back in front after Adam Brocklebank showed a dummy to take a defender out of the game and his pass allowed Carreras to beat the last man and dot down.

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Just before the interval, Exeter got back on level terms as Yeandle burrowed his way over from close range.

The Falcons took the lead once more with the final play of the half. A driving maul was halted illegally by Van Heerden and, from the ruck, Pepper went through the middle to score. Van Heerden was sent to the sin bin to compound the misery for Exeter.

The second half took a while to get going, but Freddie Lockwood almost made an immediate impact for Newcastle as he made a great line break, but he lost the ball reaching for the line.

The Falcons pack won a penalty 40m out and Connon opted to take the points to extend the lead as the game ticked past the hour mark.

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Exeter squandered a great opportunity to reduce the deficit, with Dan Frost seemingly destined to go over, but a Falcons hand managed to force the knock on with the try line beckoning.

A 74th-minute try from Sio – his first for the Chiefs – ensured a nervy finale, with Simmonds converting to make it a three-point game after a period of sustained pressure from the visitors.

The home side saw out the victory in the dying embers of the game as they ripped the ball from Exeter as the Chiefs pushed for the try line.

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