Premiership: Newcastle Falcons 12-16 Leicester Tigers
|Newcastle (12) 12|
|Tries: Lawson, Sinoti Cons: Catterick|
|Leicester (6) 16|
|Tries: Bell Cons: Burns Pens: Burns 3|
Tommy Bell scored a controversial late try as Leicester Tigers extended their winning run to six matches with victory over Newcastle at Kingston Park.
Scott Lawson and Sinoti Sinoti had rewarded an enterpising display by the home side with first-half touchdowns.
Leicester had an edge in the scrum in the first half, but lacked their usual attacking verve with ball in hand.
Freddie Burns kicked three penalties to keep them in contention and Bell's try after a high kick secured the points.
Leicester's Mathew Tait and brother Alex, the Falcons full-back, jumped for the ball, but neither was able to take cleanly and Bell grounded the ball, with the try confirmed after lengthy scrutiny of the replay.
Burns added the conversion as the Tigers moved above Wasps, who were beaten at home by Saracens, into fifth place in the table.
However, the Falcons could consider themselves unfortunate after more than holding their own for most of the match.
After two early carries by Juan Pablo Socino, they went in front when hooker Lawson scored from a rolling maul, which followed a line-out, and Tom Catterick added the two extra points.
Burns replied when the home side were penalised for offside at the scrum and then added a second before Alesana Tuilagi came within inches of a second try for the Falcons, only to be tackled by Niall Morris.
They were not to be denied and Tuilagi began the move which led to Adam Powell throwing a long pass to Sinoti, who forced his way over in the corner despite two tackles coming in, while Leicester lost flanker Tom Croft with an injury.
Newcastle had to settle for a 12-6 advantage as Catterick's conversion attempt struck the upright, but they continued to take the fight to their opponents following the re-start, only for Burns to reduce the deficit after a ruck infringement.
The fly-half then fell five metres short of bringing the scores level when the home side were penalised on halfway for collapsing a scrum.
Josh Furno threatened a third try for the Falcons, only to be foiled by a tap tackle and it was Leicester who found the way through in the closing stages to snatch the win.
Newcastle's defeat meant that London Welsh's relegation will not be confirmed for another week.
Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards: "The boys put their heart and soul in it and they do every weekend, but when we have a chance to put our foot on the throats of the opposition we have got to make that happen.
"It's all about our understanding of the game and game management. We had so much possession, so much territory and enough line breaks to kill them off and we didn't so that's our fault.
"That's the seventh game in 13 this year that we have scored more tries than the opposition - that's a hell of a stat when you score more tries and lose seven games - it's frustrating to say the least."
Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill: "Newcastle played really well. They have a brand of rugby which suits them on that pitch.
"We played as well as they let us, but we found a way to win even with the disruption of losing Tom Croft with what looks like a dislocated shoulder.
"That we managed to find a way to win having been on the back foot for large parts of the game is credit to the boys and a lot of credit also goes to Newcastle - they played really well."
Newcastle Falcons: A Tait; Sinoti, Powell, Socino, A Tuilagi; Catterick, Tipuna; Vickers, Lawson, Rogers, Thompson, Barrow, Mayhew, Welch, M Wilson.
Replacements: Tiesi for Socino (64), Cato for Tuilagi (75), Takulua for Tipuna (75), Furno for Thompson (41), Saull for Mayhew (75). Not Used: Hawkins, O'Donnell, Irving.
Leicester Tigers: M Tait; Morris, Goneva, Bai, Thompstone; Burns, Harrison; Ayerza, T Youngs, Mulipola, De Chaves, Parling, Croft, Gibson, Pearce.
Replacements: Bell for Morris (42), Roberts for Bai (67), Rizzo for Ayerza (59), Ghiraldini for T Youngs (59), Balmain for Mulipola (59), Salvi for Croft (36), Crane for Pearce (51), Mele for Roberts (74).
Referee: Luke Pearce