|Newcastle (10) 17|
|Tries: Kibirige, Williams Cons: Flood 2 Pens: Flood|
|Exeter (14) 24|
|Tries: S Simmonds 2, Kvesic Cons: J Simmonds 2, Steenson Pens: J Simmonds|
Number eight Sam Simmonds bundled over for two tries as leaders Exeter beat a stubborn Newcastle at Kingston Park to make it four wins from four.
Falcons led inside two minutes when last-minute replacement Zach Kibirige weaved through from 25 metres.
Reigning champions Exeter quickly replied through Simmonds and his second try put them 14-10 up at the break.
A slick Johnny Williams try helped restore parity, but Matt Kvesic powered over to ensure victory for the Chiefs.
Kvesic’s try from a typically well-worked line-out move settled a fiercely competitive contest, but the visitors, who move four points clear at the top of the table, were pushed all the way after an inauspicious start.
Kibirige, who replaced Alex Tait just before kick-off, showed some stunning footwork to go over after 106 seconds following a brilliant Williams break and one-handed offload.
An immediate response saw Simmonds go over from close to the line after Exeter retained possession thanks to a combination of forward power, fine handling and excellent decision making.
His brother Joe Simmonds added the extras and then made a tremendous try-saving tackle to bring down full-back Simon Hammersely as he raced towards the line.
Sam Simmonds grabbed his fifth try of the season, to become the Premiership’s joint top scorer with Saracens’ Alex Lewington, to put Chiefs ahead.
And although Newcastle drew level at 17-17 after the interval when Sonatane Takulua, Toby Flood and Tom Arscott combined brilliantly to set up Williams, Exeter responded again.
Argentine wing Santiago Cordero made one of numerous jinking runs from deep and, after Flood was sin-binned, that laid the platform for Jonny Hill to gather from a line-out and Kvesic to go over.
Newcastle are eighth having lost three of their four games this season, while Exeter’s failure to pick up a bonus point means second-placed Saracens can go top with a five-point win against third-placed Gloucester on Sunday.
Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter told BT Sport:
“Any win the Premiership is a good win. The reality is that they were a top-four side last season and we won away from home so you have to take that.
“But we lacked the clinical edge. We made some errors and that kept the pressures going. But I am proud we came through that see-sawing of pressure pretty well.
“It’s not always going to go your way, but it’s about how often you create chances, If you miss one you have to be confident to take the next one.”
Newcastle: Hammersley; Tait, Harris, Williams, Arscott; Flood, Takulua; Brocklebank, McGuigan, Mulipola, Green, Witty, Graham, Welch (capt), Wilson.
Replacements: S Socino, Mavinga, Payne, Cavubati, Chick, Stuart, Hodgson, Penny.
Sin Bin: Flood (64).
Exeter: Dollman; Cordero, Slade, Whitten, Cuthbert; J Simmonds, Maunder; Moon, Cowan-Dickie, Williams, Atkins, Hill, Armand (capt), Kvesic, S Simmonds.
Replacements: Yeandle, Hepburn, Francis, Dennis, Ewers, Maunder, Steenson, Hill.
Referee: Andrew Jackson (RFU).