Premiership: Gloucester’s play-off hopes severely dented by defeat to 14-man Newcastle Falcons

·3-min read
 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Gloucester effectively saw their Premiership play-off hopes ended as they succumbed to a 17-12 defeat to a Newcastle Falcons side that played with 14 men for over an hour.

The Falcons were 7-5 ahead when Richard Palframan was red carded for a shoulder to the head of a Cherry and Whites player.

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Adam Radwan had given the hosts the lead following Sebastian Blake’s opener but, when Ollie Thorley touched down after Palframan had received his marching orders, it seemed a tall order for the Falcons.

However, Newcastle battled superbly and Gloucester would not score another point in the final hour. They defended brilliantly and took their chances to stun the West Countrymen.

Brett Connon reduced the arrears with a penalty just shy of the interval before man of the match Elliott Obatoyinbo crossed the whitewash in the second period to deservedly win the game for Mark Laycock’s men.

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Laycock was named interim head coach at Kingston Park following Dave Walder’s departure, and had to endure a rough opening half to his tenure.

The visitors hit the front after six minutes when Blake powered over following a tap penalty from five metres out.

Santi Carreras failed to convert – despite hitting both posts – and the north-east side made them pay seven minutes later with a superb try.

Obatoyinbo moved through the tightest of spaces and showed brilliant awareness to dummy the ball, beat both Jordy Reid and Thorley, and find Radwan on the outside to score.

But the game turned when Palframan caught Freddie Clarke’s head with his shoulder, and the officials decided to issue a red card to the Falcons number three.

The Cherry and Whites quickly regained the lead as Blake delivered a line out to Lewis Ludlow who found Thorley and the winger bulldozed through to the try line, with Carreras adding the simple conversion.

The lead could have been extended when Thorley looked certain to dot down after a threaded through ball from Lloyd Evans, but a slightly casual approach enabled Radwan to dart in ahead of him and prevent another try.

Reid was also denied before the break, with the TMO spotting a knock on in the build-up to his touchdown.

Connon struck a penalty just before half-time to reduce the arrears to 12-10 after Kirill Gotovtsev caught Mateo Carreras with a hand to the face.

And the visiting side were made to pay for their earlier missed chances in the second half when Obatoyinbo received a kick from Connon on 63 minutes and weaved past Carreras to dot down, before the fly-half kicked an excellent conversion from the left wing.

The kicker could not extend the lead six minutes later with a penalty attempt, but it did not matter as Newcastle earned a gutsy victory.

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