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Howard frustrated with poor performance

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"Frustrating" was the word used by head coach Pat Howard to sum up a 31-29 defeat for Leicester Tigers at Newcastle Falcons on Sunday. Tries from Andy Goode and Leon Lloyd helped to establish a Tigers lead before an hour had elapsed, but Falcons fought back strongly. And although a Sam Vesty penalty put the visitors in front again at 29-28 in the dying moments, Newcastle fly-half Toby Flood responded with a long-range penalty to clinch the victory.

The bonus point took Tigers level with Guinness Premiership leaders Bristol, while the gap over fifth place remains nine points.

"We played poorly - we had a poor day," said Howard. "We need to be more clinical and you expect to close the game out when you are ahead. You have to trust your ball control but we got ourselves into some awkward situations. It was a messy day. I thought our patience overall was extremely poor and, more than anything, that is what frustrated me.

"Leon's try was nicely constructed but we did not maintain enough momentum or dominate in the areas we thought we might. We got some nice possession, some nice phases and we created holes but we missed the last pass or knocked on. It is frustrating when you know how well you can play. We had scored four or more tries in each of the last four games and we did create a few opportunities again but we threw the ball away and did not finish."

Goode, who had a 100-per-cent kicking record with four penalties and two conversions, as well as scoring an opportunist try in the first half, suffered a hamstring injury and is a doubt for Saturday's Heineken Cup tie with Cardiff Blues at Welford Road.

Daryl Gibson, though, returned from an Achilles problem and came off the bench for the final half-hour at Kingston Park.