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Aviva Premiership: Newcastle fight their way past Sale
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Newcastle recorded their first victory since returning to the Aviva Premiership after eking out a 15-14 success over Sale at the AJ Bell Stadium.
The Falcons responded impressively to being overpowered 21-0 in torrential rain at home to Bath last week to shock the Sharks, who were surprise 22-16 winners at Gloucester last time out.
The visitors' points all came from penalties, four by former Scotland fly-half Phil Godman and the clincher from his replacement Rory Clegg.
Sale captain Dan Braid scored the game's only try 10 minutes before half-time but fly-half Nick Macleod, preferred again to Danny Cipriani, rued missing the conversion and two penalties.
Macleod failed to capitalise on early pressure when his right-sided penalty attempt came back off the left upright, but he made no mistake from the left of the sticks a few minutes later.
Sale twice stole line-outs in the Newcastle half but could not take advantage. Indeed, the Falcons won two penalties down the right and from the second Godman levelled with a long-range kick.
But the Sharks responded positively and another Macleod penalty, from a similar position to that which hit the post, restored their lead at 6-3.
Sale attacked again and, after Newcastle flanker Dom Barrow was sin-binned, they kicked to the right corner and from the line-out opposite number Braid dived over to score.
The Falcons rallied quickly, Godman putting over a penalty from right in front as Barrow returned. A further foray into Sale territory saw Godman add three more from the left to make it 11-9 at half-time.
Newcastle picked up from where they left off and Godman's penalty from the right put them ahead for the first time, but Macleod responded in kind to put the home side in front again.
The Falcons were dominating at the scrum, which gave them a penalty just to the right of the posts with 13 minutes to go and Clegg made no mistake.
Sale then threw everything they had at Newcastle, but the visitors were up to the task.
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com