Northampton (10) 34
Tries: Dickson, Tonks, Ansbro, Downey Cons: Myler 4 Pens: Myler 2
Newcastle (3) 13
Tries: Manning Cons: Gopperth Pens: Gopperth 2
James Downey's last-minute try secured Northampton a bonus point, as the Saints went top of the Premiership with victory over Newcastle Falcons.
The Saints controlled the first half but only led 10-3 at the break, helped by a try from Lee Dickson.
Falcons then grew in confidence and Jeremy Manning closed the gap to three.
But Greig Tonks' first try for the Saints calmed the home crowd's nerves, Joe Ansbro added another minutes later, and Downey secured the bonus point.
Northampton went into the game on the back of four successive victories in all competitions, with Newcastle searching for their first victory away from home this season.
Despite bossing the first 40 minutes Northampton were unable to make their superiority tell, and had to reply on three tries in the last 25 minutes to secure the extra point.
The visitors took a surprise lead when Jimmy Gopperth kicked a 40-metre penalty after the Saints were penalised at a ruck.
But Newcastle soon lost centre Gcobani Bobo, who was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on, and Stephen Myler kicked a 30-metre penalty to level the scores, after Micky Young was penalised for not releasing the ball.
Northampton then lost number eight Roger Wilson with a leg injury, but went ahead for the first time after 26 minutes, as Dickson broke through the defence to score a solo try, which Myler converted.
Gopperth had two chances to close the gap moments before the break, missing a penalty and drop-goal attempt, but the home side had a seven-point lead at the break.
Northampton had the home support roaring in approval early in the second half, as their scrum pushed the Falcons' pack fully 30 metres, resulting in a successful Myler penalty.
The Saints then lost try-scorer Dickson and, against the run of play, Newcastle hit back with a well-worked try from Manning, which Gopperth converted.
Tonks' first try for Northampton since joining from Leicester in the summer gave the home side some breathing space, and that was quickly followed by Ansbro's touchdown - both were converted by Myler, with Gopperth's penalty for Newcastle sandwiched in between.
With the last action of the match, Downey intercepted as the Falcons tried to run the ball from their own to score easily to pick up the valuable bonus point.
Northampton: Tonks; Ansbro, Clarke, Downey, Diggin; Myler, Dickson; Tonga'uiha, Sharman, Mujati, Clark, Day, Dowson (c), Wood, Wilson.
Replacements: Long, Dreyer, Mercey, Sorenson, Easter, Powell, Geraghty, Cornwell.
Newcastle: Tait; Fielden, Bobo, Eves, Amesbury; Gopperth, Young; Brookes, Vickers (c), Ryan, Levi, Swinson, Wilson, Pennycook, Hogg.
Replacements: Graham, Shiells, Hall, Wilson, Williamson, Pilgrim, Manning, Catterick.
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