Saints suffer another frustrating defeat after Newcastle Falcons came back with a 80-minute try to steal the win at the death.
Saints had almost the perfect start, sending Rob Horne over the whitewash within 13 seconds, and though that early effort was ruled out, Saints began the scoring with a Harry Mallinder scorcher at the 20-minute mark.
Falcons responded immediately though with Sinoti Sinoti barrelling over after freeing himself from the Saints' defence with a quick conversion from Flood giving the away side the lead.
Falcons doubled their lead moments later, sending Josh Matavesi over in similar fashion but Saints did well to retaliate and their hard work paid off as a penalty try brought things back within two points.
Flood left the field as a result and Saints made the most of their extra man, working close to the line before thinking that the skipper Dylan Hartley was over. This effort, like Horne's earlier one, was disallowed and the game entered the break with Saints trailing by two.
Getting close to the line after the restart, Saints were on top but Falcons regrouped and Flood sent a penalty over moments after returning from the sin bin.
Less than ten minutes later, Saints sent a maul close to the line again and this time the TMO awarded Hartley the score to restore Saints' lead.
Saints went in search of the try bonus point and after Alex Waller's charge down the wing they got close. Ahsee Tuala looked to have been over but another trip to the TMO, too, ruled this effort out.
A Piers Francis penalty put Saints five clear with ten left on the clock but after Falcons had one score scratched by the TMO, it was only a matter of time before their pressure paid off and eventually Scott Lawson levelled things.
Sonatane Takulua had just a simple conversion left to steal the win from Saints' grasps.
SAINTS Mallinder; Estelles, Horne, Stephenson, Foden; Grayson, Reinach; Waller, Hartley (capt), Ford-Robinson, Paterson, Lawes, Wood, Gibson, Harrison
Subs - Haywood, van Wyk, Hill, Ratuniyarawa, Eadie, Groom, Francis, Tuala
FALCONS Hammersley; Goneva, Harris, Matavesi, Sinoti; Flood, Takulua; Vickers, Cooper, Welsh, Green, Robinson, Welch (capt), Graham, Wilson
Subs - Lawson, Mavinga, Wilson, Witty, Latu, Stuart, Hodgson, Tait
21’ SAINTS Try Mallinder 5-0
24’ FALCONS Try Sinoti Conversion Flood 5-7
29’ FALCONS Try Matavesi Conversion Flood 5-14
34’ SAINTS Penalty Try 12-14
HALF TIME Saints 12-14 Falcons
52’ FALCONS Penalty Flood 12-17
60’ SAINTS Try Hartley Conversion Francis 19-17
70’ SAINTS Penalty Francis 22-17
80’ FALCONS Try Lawson Conversion Takulua 22-24
FULL TIME Saints 22-24 Falcons