Gallagher Premier: Saracens 26 Newcastle 12
PUBLISHED: 17:17 06 April 2019
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Newcastle remain at the foot of the Gallagher Premiership table after going down to a 26-12 defeat to Saracens at Allianz Park.
The Falcons will be disappointed to come away with nothing as they failed to take advantage of their first-half superiority against an out-of-sorts home side.
Sean Maitland, Max Malins, Alex Lozowski and Nick Tompkins scored tries for Saracens with Owen Farrell adding two conversions.
Tane Takulua kicked four penalties for Newcastle.
Welsh international Liam Williams was a late withdrawal for Saracens as he protected a hamstring tweak. Alex Lewington replaced him with Matt Gallagher coming onto the bench.
Falcons also made a change in their line-up with Callum Green replacing Andrew Davidson in the second row.
Newcastle dominated possession for the first 15 minutes with good distribution from Toby Flood enabling Falcons to show some neat handling and good ball retention but they lacked the creativity to penetrate the home defence.
Farrell made three uncustomary kicking errors as lethargic Saracens struggled to make any impact.
After last week’s 56-27 hammering of Glasgow in the European Cup quarter-final, the scoreless first quarter was a huge letdown, which was not surprising with the hosts having changed nine of their starting line-up.
After 23 minutes, Newcastle had the first chance for points and Takulua made no mistake with a 20-metre penalty.
Saracens continued to make elementary errors, a couple of line-outs were lost, and there can not have been many poorer 30-minute performances from them in recent times.
From nowhere, they sprung to life after Farrell decided to move the ball after Takulua lost possession on half-time. Ben Spencer made the crucial break before a vital contribution from Malins sent Maitland over.
Farrell missed the conversion so a second penalty from Takulua was enough to give Falcons a deserved 6-5 interval lead.
After the restart, Farrell found a good touch to ironic jeers from the crowd but the home side wasted their platform in the opposition 22 by conceding a needless penalty.
The third quarter saw an improved performance from Saracens, who penned the visitors in their own half and they were rewarded with a second try.
Skilful running from Malins put Maitland into space and when the wing kicked ahead, Malins was on hand to pick up and score.
Farrell converted before Takulua kicked his penalty to leave his side trailing 12-9 at the end of the third quarter.
With 12 minutes remaining, Saracens sealed victory when Tompkins joined a driving line-out to score before Takulua looked to have earned his side a valuable bonus point with a superb strike from half-way but Lozowski’s last-minute try took it away.