Exeter edge past 14-man Newcastle after contentious red card
The hosts battled bravely despite the numerical disadvantage and spirited performance was nearly rewarded when George McGuigan’s try edged them in front.
The opening stages of the game will quickly forgotten be as both sides struggled with the poor weather.
Exeter won a series of penalties close to the Newcastle try line but were repelled by a stout Falcons defence.
A break by Josh Hodge threatened to give Exeter another attacking platform but after several phases of play a pass went into touch and gave the Falcons a chance to clear.
The Falcons took the lead with their first real attacking opportunity after 23 minutes.
Will Haydon-Wood intercepted a pass off the back of a scrum from Sam Maunder and the fly-half ran 70 metres, evading the last-ditch tackle of Hodge to score. The Falcons number 10 added the conversion.
But the hosts were reduced to 14 men only two minutes later when captain Chick was sent off for making contact with the jaw of Hodge after the full-back had spilled a high ball.
A clever kick in behind from Hodge threatened to get Tom O’Flaherty in but he could not gather the ball cleanly and Newcastle were able to survive once again.
Exeter got a reward for their first-half domination with three minutes of the half remaining as Patrick Schickerling went over from a lineout maul.
With the momentum seized, the visitors went ahead after 44 minutes as another maul was forced over the line with Jack Innard grabbing the try. Simmonds pushed his conversion attempt wide of the upright.
The Falcons kept plugging away and once again showed their clinical nature as George McGuigan powered his way over to level the game after good build-up play from Mathias Orlando and George Wacokecoke.
Haydon-Wood’s perfect conversion gave the hosts a narrow lead.
And with confidence flowing they began to turn the screw on Exeter at the set-piece, stealing line-outs and winning a scrum against the head as they battled manfully.
However, it was when the Falcons had the ball that they were making errors, seeing box kicks charged down and clearances going straight into touch to give the Chiefs opportunities to pin them back.
The Falcons held on until the 76th minute when Exeter won a scrum penalty and Simmonds was able to find range from the 22 to give the visitors a one-point lead.
The victory was harsh on a Newcastle side who battled gamely with 14 men for 55 minutes but left them still searching for a first league win in 2022.
Exeter made it back-to-back victories for the first time since late November.
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