Rugby Union

Dean Richards thanks 'noisy bunch' of Newcastle fans for supporting the Falcons

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Football News

Dean Richards praised Newcastle's biggest crowd of the season for playing their part in the Falcons' fourth successive home Aviva Premiership victory.

Newcastle's 26-25 win over Northampton moved them back up to 10th in the table and they have now beaten Bath, Harlequins, Leicester and the Saints in successive games at Kingston Park.

Richards said: "The crowd were great, they are a noisy bunch here and they really got behind the team today and they won't have gone home disappointed."

Veteran Andy Goode pulled the strings and he kicked 16 points, converting first-half tries by Alex Tait and Chris Harris and landing four penalties as Newcastle led 26-11 with 20 minutes left before Saints hit back with two Lee Dickson tries.

Jim Mallinder's men seemed certain to snatch it but an interception by flanker Mark Wilson prevented what seemed a certain try and, with 14 seconds left on the clock, Newcastle turned over an attacking Saints line-out inside their own 22.

"That last line-out steal was quite pleasing," said Richards. "But the quality of our play in the last three or four games has been top drawer and we won today against a quality side - it was one of our best performances.

"We showed lot of character and effort but I think there is a lot more to come from this side.

"I think we missed at least four try-scoring chances but I'm sure Northampton can say the same. At the moment the boys are pretty confident and they are pretty much marshalling themselves which is a good sign."

Dickson was possibly fortunate to be on the pitch after he escaped any sanction when his boot came into contact with number eight Ally Hoggs' head and referee Waynes Barnes came in for plenty of stick from the crowd.

His failure to play a crucial advantage with Ben Foden in possession and in the clear following a Newcastle knock-on was particularly galling for Mallinder.

"The referee made a couple of big calls," he said. "But I'm not going to blame him - we have to look at ourselves.

"We conceded too many loose points early on. We talked about playing the full 80 minutes but despite being on top in the forwards we didn't convert that into points often enough.

"A win would have pushed us towards the top four but there is still a long way to go this season - we just need to regroup and sort things out."

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