Alex Tait, Newcastle Falcons
Image credit: PA Photos
The Falcons made it three successive Pool Five wins, opening up a six-point gap on Montauban ahead of next week's return fixture in France.
Full-back Alex Tait stormed over for the game's solitary try during a game littered with unforced handling errors from both teams.
And fly-half Jimmy Gopperth's four penalties helped Newcastle recover from a 6-3 interval deficit after Johan Dalla Riva and Cedric Coll dropped goals for the visitors.
With only the five pool winners reaching the last eight this season - the remaining three places will be filled by Heineken Cup teams - Newcastle have put themselves in pole position.
And they crucially denied Montauban a losing bonus point by defending strongly during the closing stages when the French side threatened a close-range score.
Falcons scrum-half Micky Young, back in the side after injury, cajoled and prompted at the heels of a dominant Newcastle pack.
But the home team were guilty of wasting several chances before Tait's touchdown produced a huge collective sigh of relief in the Newcastle camp.
Gopperth missed the conversion, yet his four penalties - three in the second half as Newcastle posted 14 unanswered points - ensured victory.
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