Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Falcons Floored by a Power Cut

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Falcons Floored by a Power Cut

Article excerpt

Byline: By Duncan Madsen

Events at Llanelli ultimately made this Powergen Cup tie meaningless but the Falcons can take little comfort from their performance against a Leeds side packed with youngsters.

Indeed, had a weakened Sale side pulled off a spectacular draw at Stradey Park instead of going down 24-23, the Falcons and their management would have had egg all over their faces at missing out on a semi-final place at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

As it was, they can hardly be said to have built on last Sunday's home Guinness Premiership victory over Wasps and taken their game forward, as had been their stated aim beforehand.

True, they started off well and opened the scoring with a Matt Burke penalty in the second minute.

Throughout the opening half their lineout, so recently one of the most fragile aspects of their game, worked perfectly while their rolling maul is undoubtedly improving.

So much so that after 34 minutes the forwards drove over the Leeds line and Cory Harris got the touchdown for their first try to reduce the Tykes' lead to 13-8.

Sadly before then, silly mistakes had denied Newcastle several gilt-edged scoring opportunities as well as gifting Leeds valuable territory and points.

Gordon Ross, who controlled Leeds well from No 10, levelled the scores with a penalty after 11 minutes and the Tykes took the lead midway through the half after referee Wayne Barnes had missed a blatant knock-on in open play.

Even then it should not have been a try but there appeared to be no defensive communication between Burke, Flood and Noon and that allowed Leeds full back David Doherty to cut through and score under the posts.

Ross' conversion was a formality and nine minutes later the Scotland international increased the home lead to 13-3 with a drop goal.

After Harris' reply and with the half one minute into injury time, Leeds hooker Gordon Bulloch was penalised and sin-binned five metres from his line for deliberately handling the ball in a ruck.

There wasn't sufficient time to kick to touch and have a lineout but, amazingly with Leeds down to 14 men, the Falcons didn't opt for a five-metre scrum and instead tapped and ran, only for Jason Smithson to be held just short of the line. …

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