Goals from Yoan Gouffran and DeAndre Yedlin proved to be the difference as Newcastle edged Derby out in a 2-0 win at the iPro in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday.
Gouffran's sublime first-time volley set the Magpies on their way in the first half, and substitute Yedlin sealed the three points in stoppage time.
Newcastle came into the game having won three consecutive league games, with just one goal conceded, while promotion hopefuls of the last few years, Derby, had started the season in the opposite fashion - just five points from five.
Such a contrast between the two sides was not immediately apparent; the play started with a low tempo, with two players looking as though they would define the game - Will Hughes and Jonjo Shelvey.
But while the former showed neat touches around the box, the latter took it one step further and set up the opening goal for Newcastle with a trademark set-piece.
To the untrained eye, it may have looked as though his corner had been overhit, but lurking at the far post was Gouffran who arrowed the ball into the back of the net with a sweet first-time volley; his first goal for 20 months.
While Derby were not shaken by the goal, they could not force a way through and might feel unlucky upon watching the replays of Jack Colback's trip on Craig Bryson inside the area on the cusp of half-time.
There were chances aplenty as the second half began. Marcus Olsson curled a shot just wide in the opening minutes before Dwight Gayle was fouled 25 yards out - Shelvey could not build on his assist and hit the free-kick over.
Another chance was missed when Mo Diame misjudged a chip when bearing down on goal and it did look at times like Newcastle might regret missed chances like these. Ikechi Anya hit the top of the bar for Derby and the less said about substitute Nick Blackman's wild effort, the better.
Derby have scored just two league goals this season so for all their efforts, the Magpies would be forgiven for being complacent, but as the final minutes ticked down, they did not need to worry as they doubled their lead.
And it was that man Shelvey involved again. His cross was brought down by Ayoze Perez, who passed in the direction of Yedlin and, as Olsson attempted to stop him from tapping the ball over the line, he only aided the power that helped it cross.