Newcastle 25, Brive 19: May drops in to finish off Falcons' Brive encounter

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The Independent Online

Steve Jones kicked five penalties and converted Joe McDonnell's try as Newcastle scrambled to victory in this European Challenge Cup tie against Brive at Kingston Park.

Brive came back from being 16-6 down to 19-19 before Jones kicked his fifth penalty with 10 minutes left and Tom May added a drop goal in injury time.

Newcastle drove from the first line-out and it was effective, winning a penalty for going in at the side. Jones kicked it. Another drive led to a penalty two minutes later but Jones missed from 40 metres.

A bustling run by Farid Sid down the right then had Newcastle scrambling and they were forced offside in front of the posts, Benjamin Dambielle levelling the scores with his boot.

The Falcons' England centre Jamie Noon then smashed through two tackles but a third knocked the ball from his grasp. From the scrum, Brive tried to run behind their own line but Dambielle's pass to Barry Davies was knocked on by the full-back. The Falcons' captain, the Kiwi prop McDonnell, pounced to score and Jones converted for a 10-3 lead.

Dambielle missed two long-range penalties but Brive deservedly cut the lead to 10-6 when Davies bisected the posts from 40 metres. Two Falcons players were forced off with cuts to the head and the No 8 Russell Winter went off with a neck injury. Jones kicked a second penalty after the prop David Wilson was barged off the ball.

The referee, Peter Allan, lost patience when Jean-Philippe Bonrepaux dived over the ball. He was sent to the sin bin and Jones kicked his third penalty in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time.

Dambielle kicked an early second-half penalty for Brive, who were now boosted by the former England hooker Steve Thompson, and Maxime Petitjean kicked another to make it 16-12.

Newcastle attacked through John Rudd, Noon and Ben Woods, and Brive went over the ball for Jones to land his fourth penalty, but then Phil Dowson was shown a yellow card for preventing release.

Ryno van der Merwe scrambled over for Brive and Petitjean's conversion made it 19-19 before Jones and May settled the result.