Two see red as Newcastle are denied deserved win

Leicester 16 Newcastle 16
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The Independent Online

There was the added agony of seeing Jonny Wilkinson holding his left knee after what referee Tony Spreadbury interpreted as a late challenge by Tigers' scrum-half Harry Ellis.

The Newcastle and England fly-half was eventually able to carry on into the 15 minutes of added time, although he then had to withstand a less subtle tardy tackle by Andy Goode, his opposite number, which earned the Leicester man a yellow card.

The Falcons hooker Andy Long followed suit for killing the ball, then three minutes later the England prop Julian White became involved in a punch-up with the Newcastle lock Andy Perry. The Leicester man appeared to land a couple of meaty punches, but Spreadbury showed both men a red card, White's dismissal leading to uncontested scrums in the second half.

It is unlikely that Tigers' prop Graham Rowntree will remember much of his 200th League appearance after being laid out by a Newcastle fist after half an hour. He had to be led off. Leicester went in trailing by the penalty that Ellis had conceded.

The second half opened with Tigers determined to revert to rugby. Ollie Smith got over but was adjudged to have been held up by television replays, but three minutes later lock James Hamilton was given the benefit of the doubt by the TV referee, even though he did not look. Then Tigers had that further slice of luck when touch judges Ashley Reay and Robin Goodliffe raised their flags, after much deliberation, to say Goode's conversion was OK, when television revealed the ball had struck the outside of the left hand post and bounced the wrong side.

But Newcastle countered, the ball went left and Robbie Morris sidestepped his way over for his first Premiership try, converted by Burke to level the scores.

Leicester: Try Hamilton; Conversion Goode; Penalties Goode 3.

Newcastle: Try R Morris; Conversion Burke; Penalties Wilkinson, Burke; Drop goal Wilkinson.

Leicester: G Murphy (S Vesty, 50); L Lloyd, O Smith, D Hipkiss, T Varndell (A Tuilagi, 69); A Goode, H Ellis (A Healey, 69); G Rowntree (D Morris, 30), G Chuter, J White, L Deacon (L Cullen, 36), J Hamilton, L Abraham, S Jennings, M Corry (capt).

Newcastle: M Burke; T May (J Noon, 62), M Tait, M Mayherhofler, A Elliott; J Wilkinson, H Charlton; M Ward (L Gross, 56), A Long (M Thompson, 67), R Morris, A Perry, G Parling, O Finegan (M McCarthy (56), C Harris (M Thompson 40+10-46), C Charvis (capt).

Referee: T Spreadbury (Somerset)