Newcastle scored twice in the last 10 minutes to beat Brighton 2-1 to shift momentum the Toon's way in the Sky Bet Championship title race.
Glenn Murray's controversial early penalty put Brighton in control of the game, but the game changed when Mo Diame fortunately flicked his team level with a freak goal on 81 minutes.
Brighton, who lost out in the play-offs last season, were rocked by the equaliser and substitute Ayoze Perez made it 2-1 with one minute remaining.
The result lifts Newcastle two points clear at the top of the table while Brighton sit six points ahead of in-form Huddersfield in third, who also have a game in hand.
However, with 12 games left in the race for the Premier League, Rafa Benitez's men still have to face Huddersfield, Reading and Sheffield Wednesday on the road while Brighton's run-in only involves one fixture against a team in the top six - against Leeds.
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Brighton kept the same side that impressively saw off promotion chasing Reading 3-0 while Rafa Benitez sprung a surprise by naming no out and out striker. He decided to leave Daryl Murphy and Aleksandar Mitrovic on the bench and start Christian Atsu and Yoan Gouffran with the emphasis clearly on testing the mobility of Brighton's back four.
Benitez's early game-plan was to stifle Brighton's rhythm and quieten down a raucous home crowd who were letting the visitors know who was top of the league.
It worked, but for only 13 minutes.
An imaginative set-piece conjured up by Anthony Knockaert released Sam Baldock in behind. His effort from a tight angle was tipped wide by Karl Darlow and it was from the corner where Brighton got a game-changing decision.
A whipped-in ball caused a bit of a ruck in the six-yard box and found Lewis Dunk free at the back post. As Dunk headed the chance wide, the referee blew his whistle, seemingly for a foul committed by Murray who was tangling with Ciaran Clark. With both men on the floor in the six-yard box the referee pointed to the spot and Murray gleefully accepted the opportunity by sliding the penalty home.
Newcastle now needed to come out of their shell. It took them time to warm to their task but Matt Ritchie kick-started their charge on 20 minutes with a cross-come-shot that beat David Stockdale but flicked the top of the crossbar.
Brighton still remained positive in possession and Murray's skilful volley on the turn from 18 yards had to be splendidly palmed to safety by Darlow on 33 minutes.
The game continued to ebb and flow at an exciting pace and the next chance fell to Atsu just before the break but he could only divert DeAndre Yedlin's brilliant cross straight at Stockdale from 10 yards out.
Brighton could have doubled their lead on two occasions in the first five minutes of the second period. First, Dunk's looping header was hooked clear over his own crossbar by Paul Dummett before Knockaert's slippery work inside the area forced Darlow into another smart stop.
Despite this being a match of huge magnitude, nerves were in short supply for the large majority of the game but Stockdale almost handed Newcastle an equaliser on 55 minutes.
He looked full of anxiety as he received a simple pass back and planted a pass straight to Gouffran, who just had to beat the goalkeeper from the edge of the area. However, Stockdale stood tall and blocked away the Frenchman's meek effort.
Benitez sent on Murphy to add some much needed muscle to his forward line on 75 minutes and he headed a very presentable chance straight at Stockdale from a Jonjo Shelvey corner two minutes later.
Brighton didn't heed the warning from that Shelvey set-piece and lost their lead with nine minutes to play.
Shelvey's corner was cleared out to Atsu, who hit a wayward shot that ricocheted off Diame and he could hardly believe his luck as it found the top corner.
Brighton started to sink deeper and Newcastle completed the turnaround with one minute remaining.
Atsu was released down the right by Ritchie and his cross was turned home from close range by Perez, who had only been on the field for three minutes.