London Welsh 3 (pen Barkley), Newcastle Falcons 23 (tries Powell, M Wilson, Tipuna; con Clegg; pens Socino 2)

LONDON Welsh find themselves eight points adrift at the bottom of the Aviva Premiership after a disappointing defeat to relegation rivals Newcastle Falcons at the Kassam Stadium today.

The Exiles had plenty of possession and territory, especially in the second half, but lacked any real creativity to get through a stubborn Falcons defence.

Welsh, who were watched by another low crowd of 2,154, will say there are still 16 games to get enough points to survive in the top flight.

However, this defeat, after the nightmare start they have had, does not bode well.

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The hosts were not outclassed, as they have been at times on their return to the Premiership, but there was still a significant gulf between them and the division's 11th placed side, who have now won two on the bounce.

Welsh captain Tom May spent ten years at Newcastle, while Pete Browne, who started at blindside flanker, is also a former Falcon, but they had nothing to cheer against their old side.

Newcastle started with ex-Welsh player Gonzalo Tiesi and named double Oxford Blue, prop Ollie Tomaszczyk, on the bench.

Falcons fly half Juan Pablo Socino and his opposite number Olly Barkley traded early penalties, the former expertly slotting from the touchline.

The Falcons had a lot of territory, but their opening try on 14 minutes stemmed from a Welsh error.

Full back Seb Jewell saw his poor kick charged down and Newcastle turned the screw before centre Adam Powell eventually went over from close range.

Welsh were edging their way back into the game, but almost conceded a second try.

Socino's long kick set up a foot race between Welsh hooker Nathan Morris and Falcons wing Sinoti Sinoti, which the home player just managed to win and touch the ball down for a 22.

Newcastle went 11-3 up thanks to a second Socino penalty.

He then hit a post with a further effort after a major talking point.

Welsh No 8 Chris Hala'ufia smashed Falcons prop Scott Wilson with a heavy tackle, which was followed by some afters on the ground.

Hala'ufia was sent off while playing for London Irish against Welsh on his previous appearance at the Kassam Stadium, but this time only a penalty resulted after referee Wayne Barnes checked the video replay.

However, the half ended on a low note when relentless Falcons pressure led to flanker Mark Wilson forcing his way over from close range.

Newcastle led 16-3 at half-time and looked in control.

Welsh had some early pressure after the break, with lock Matt Corker held up, but they could not huff and puff their way over the line.

Instead, they were soon trailing 23-3 as Newcastle's greater incision paid dividends.

A slick move resulted in a try for scrum half Riki Tipuna, which replacement Rory Clegg converted.

Welsh dominated the territory after this, but lacked any real spark.

They won a series of penalties inside the visitors' 22, one of which saw Mark Wilson sin-binned, but Newcastle simply held them at bay.

Struggling to break down the Premiership's second worst team does not bode well at all.

Wing Nick Scott had a late flurry for the hosts, but was well tackled.

The final whistle soon followed to end a dismal day for the hosts.

London Welsh: Jewell, Stegmann, Reynolds (Crane 73), May (capt), Scott, Barkley, Weepu (R Lewis 52), Henn (Cahill 55), Morris (Vella 58, Morris 65, Henn 78), Vea (Gilding 17), Corker (Schofield 52), Down, P Browne, Thorpe (Pienaar 68), Hala’ufia. Rep not used: Roberts.

Newcastle Falcons: Tait, Sinoti (Catterick 75), Tiesi (Clegg 24), Powell, Cato, Socino, Tipuna (Blair 57), Brookes (Rogers 57), Lawson (Hawkins 73), S Wilson (Tomaszczyk 57), Green, Barrow (Furno 57), R Wilson, Welch (capt), Hogg (Mayhew 57).

Man-of-the-match: Socino.

Referee: W Barnes (Gloucestershire).

Attendance: 2,154.

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