Premiership: Lima Sopoaga kicks Wasps to narrow 23-22 win at Newcastle
|Newcastle (15) 22|
|Tries: Wilson, Williams 2 Cons: Flood 2 Pens: Flood|
|Wasps (13) 23|
|Tries: Bassett, Watson, De Jongh Cons: Sopoaga Pens: Sopoaga 2|
Wasps won for the fourth time in five Premiership games this season as they came from behind to triumph over luckless Newcastle at Kingston Park.
In a first half of four tries, Josh Bassett and Marcus Watson crossed for Wasps either side of Mark Wilson and Johnny Williams scoring for the hosts.
After Williams' second try, the Falcons thought they had scored but Tom Penny's try was ruled out for a foot in touch.
And Wasps hit back to win with Juan De Jongh's try and Lima Sopoaga's penalty.
Newcastle ran hard and played well but, in a desperately tight finish, in which Sopoaga missed another 45-metre penalty attempt, they could not prevent a fourth defeat in five games.
Wasps, who started with England internationals Tommy Taylor, Kieran Brookes, Nathan Hughes, Dan Robson and Elliot Daly on the bench, had to survive six minutes of added time before a Falcons attack that went through 20 phases finally ended tamely with a forward pass.
After fly-half Sopoaga's first missed long-range penalty, Dai Young got on the scoreboard first on 13 minutes when his clever kick through set up Bassett's try in the left corner.
But Newcastle hit back five minutes later when, from Sinoti Sinoti's instinctive pass to Simon Hammersley, the full-back stepped inside to feed number eight Mark Wilson for a gallop to the lines.
Williams then forced his way over, Toby Flood converting and then kicking a 36th-minute penalty for offside to make it 15-8. But Newcastle failed to handle the restart and, with Wasps camped on the Falcons line, from the resulting scrum Sopoaga hurled a long overhead pass for Watson to score in the right corner against his old club.
Williams then scored again on 47 minutes, Flood converting. But the game turned on Penny's unlucky but correctly disallowed try.
South African international De Jongh galloped over on the hour and Sopoaga kicked the goal to reduce the arrears to 22-20 before he added his match-winning penalty from 45 metres when Newcastle were caught offside.
Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards:
"When you look at the opportunities we created and should have nailed, it's definitely one that got away. We had so many opportunities you couldn't count them on two hands, it was that ridiculous. We just couldn't finish them off.
"They scored three times purely through us being unable to execute our exit strategy. It's a simple thing to do and doesn't take much to do, but we didn't do it and it cost us dear. It's a real shame.
"It was a bit bizarre at the end. They took so long with the kick the referee said he was going to play the time and we missed opportunities there."
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young:
"It's all about getting results and we're happy to have done that. We've had two six-day turnarounds and come to two difficult places in Sale and Newcastle and edged two results that could have gone either way.
"We showed a lot of guts in the end. We tried to throw it away but we came through. Newcastle will be disappointed because of the number of line breaks they made and they couldn't quite finish them off.
"We found a way to stay in the game and see ourselves home. The quality we had coming off the bench made a big difference. Everybody talks about Nathan Hughes and his ball-carrying but he made some big interventions defensively and Dan Robson added a bit of tempo."
Newcastle: Hammersley; Goneva, Harris, Williams, Sinoti; Flood, Takulua; Brocklebank, McGuigan, Mulipola, Green, Cavubati, Graham, Welch (capt), Wilson
Replacements: Socino, Mavinga, Mullen, Witty, Chick, Stuart, Hodgson, Penny
Wasps: Miller; Watson, De Jongh, Le Bourgeois, Bassett; Sopoaga, Simpson; Zhvania, Cruse, Stuart; Rowlands, Gaskell, Johnson (capt), Morris, Carr
Replacements: Taylor, Harris, Brookes, Myall, Hughes, Robson, Searle, Daly.
Referee: Karl Dickson.