GARY Gold could hardly have chosen a happier hunting ground than Kingston Park to celebrate Aviva Premiership safety and his appointment as permanent director of rugby by ending Worcester Warriors’ 13-month winless league streak on the road.

Warriors had not lost away to Newcastle since November 2009 and were six minutes away from maintaining that winning streak.

But they let slip a hard-earned 14-9 lead as their valiant defence was pierced by a darting run from the back of a close-range ruck by Falcons’ Tongan scrum-half Tane Takulua.

That tied the scores at 14-14 but Takulua’s conversion secured victory for the home side, cruelly thwarting a second-half Warriors fightback that yielded a penalty try and a five-point score by the influential Wynand Olivier.

Ryan Mills captained the side in the absence of the rested Donncha O’Callaghan and the fly-half was prominent as Warriors set out their attacking intentions from the off.

With Mills and scrum-half Francois Hougaard dictating the flow Worcester stretched the Newcastle defence.

In the seventh minute Bryce Heem almost finished off a slick move in the right corner but was tackled just short of the line by Sinoti Sinoti.

There were also a series of promising line-out drives that came to nothing as Warriors dominated possession and pressed for a breakthrough.

It ought to have come in the 16th minute but after a barnstorming break up the middle by Marco Mama Mills chipped a kick into the left corner and Olivier deftly fed the ball on to Perry Humphreys only for the winger to spill the ball over the try line.

Such was Worcester’s stranglehold it took Newcastle 30 minutes to get within range of the Newcastle 22.

Mills was fortunate to concede only a penalty when halting a home attack with a deliberate knock-on but Warriors found themselves 3-0 down when Takulua knocked over a subsequent penalty.

That came in the 31st minute and four minutes later Takulua doubled the home side’s lead when Warriors conceded a penalty while defending close to their try line.

Dewald Potgieter departed with a streaming head wound suffered in that desperate scramble with Alatofi Fa’osiliva taking over from the South African in the second row.

Potgieter appeared for the second half and so did Fa’osiliva as a permanent replacement for Sam Lewis in the back row.

Takalua stretched Newcastle’s lead to 9-0 with his third penalty five minutes into the second half but Warriors absorbed the setback and hit back.

In the 52nd minute Mills kicked into the left corner and a line-out drive finally bore fruit with referee Greg Garner awarding a penalty try as Newcastle dragged it down.

Mills added the extras from the conversion and Worcester were back in the hunt at 9-7 down.

Five minute later they were in front for the first time.

Humphreys sliced through the Newcastle defence with a charge up the middle before shipping the ball wide to Heem who neatly fed it inside for Olivier to score.

Mills converted and Warriors were 14-9 up.

They were down to 14 men in on the hour though with Will Spencer being sent to the sin-bin for pulling down a Falcons maul.

Spencer was back on the field and in the thick of the action as Worcester manned the defensive barricades in the closing stages only for the razor-sharp Takulua to deny them.

Warriors: Pennell; Heem, Olivier, Te’o, Humphreys; Mills, Hougaard; Rapava Ruskin, Taufete’e, Alo, Vui, Spencer, Potgieter, Lewis, Mama. Replacements: Singleton, Bower, Milasinovich, Barry, Fa’osiliva, Baldwin, Lamb, Vuna.