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Exiles keep Falcons grounded
Sixth successive defeat for Newcastle
Newcastle continued their dismal run on Sunday, slumping to a sixth successive defeat at the hands of London Irish at Kingston Park.
A worrying neck injury to Jonny Wilkinson added to Newcastle's woes as they went down 13-8 to the visiting Exiles.
Wilkinson was able to resume after treatment but eventually had to leave the field with 12 minutes left on the clock.
The Exiles dominated possession throughout the first half but, despite repeated attacks on the Falcons defence, went into the break with only a Peter Hewat penalty and a 25th-minute try from Declan Danaher to their name.
Topsy Ojo went close early on with a solo effort and the winger would have scored but for a desperate, last ditch dive by Tom Dillon, who managed to clear the ball with his fingertips.
Wilkinson missed an opportunity to put Newcastle on the scorecard from 50 metres when Seilala Mapusua smothered the ball after Falcons lock Andy Perry was brought down on the halfway line.
But on 25 minutes the visitors broke, stretching the Newcastle defence to its limit as Irish spread the ball wide for Bob Casey to feed Danaher who crossed in the left corner.
A 43rd-minute penalty from Hewat atoned for his relatively straightforward miss just before half-time and further stretched his side's lead over Newcastle, who were yet to score a point.
Soon after Shane Geraghty made the Falcons pay for their inability to secure possession with a long pass to Richard Thorpe who put Danaher in at the corner for his second.
The hosts attempted to bolster a shaky looking pack with Carl Hayman and Matt Thompson and on 48 minutes Wilkinson managed to put his side on the score sheet with a penalty.
The England star was unable to make any further meaningful contribution before he had to leave the pitch.
A quick penalty take by Tom May, and a surging run and pass inside from John Rudd put Tim Visser over for Newcastle at the death.
But, while lending some, if not much, respectability to the result it was too little too late to make any impact on the eventual outcome.
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Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com