Allan Saint-Maximin was the hero after the winger's late strike gave Newcastle a much-needed 1-0 win over 10-man Southampton in a VAR-dominated clash at St Mary's.
The hosts' task was made all the harder when Moussa Djenepo was sent off after referee Graham Scott was urged to consult the pitch-side monitor to decide the Mali international's dangerous tackle on Isaac Hayden warranted a straight red card just before the half-hour mark.
The Video Assistant Referee was involved again on the cusp of half-time when judging Sofiane Boufal had handled the ball in the box, only for Alex McCarthy to keep out Matt Ritchie's penalty,
However, that miss was forgotten by the visitors when Saint-Maximin - recalled to the starting line-up after a recent knock - took advantage of Yan Valery's mistake to score the winner 11 minutes from a time, a victory that lifts Steve Bruce's side above their opponents into 13th in the Premier League table.
Meanwhile, the Saints have slipped to 14th in the table after back-to-back league defeats and now sit just seven points from safety.
Southampton: McCarthy (9), Bertrand (8), Stephens (6), Bednarek (6), Valery (6), Djenepo (6), Ward-Prowse (6), Hojbjerg (7), Boufal (6), Long (6), Ings (7)
Subs: Adams (6), Obafemi (6)
Away Team: Dubravka (7), Rose (6), Lascelles (6), Fernandez (6), Manquillo (6), Ritchie (6), Shelvey (7), Hayden (6), Saint-Maximin (9), Gayle (6), Almiron (7)
Subs: Joelinton (6), Lazaro (6), S Longstaff (6)
Man of the match: Allan Saint-Maximin
How Toon moved further clear of trouble
Having won on only one of their previous 25 visits to the south coast, and with a desperately poor away record in the league this season, it is safe to say hopes were not high for a Newcastle win at St Mary's.
However, a 28th-minute incident changed the complexion of the game after Djenepo went in dangerously on Hayden, catching the Newcastle midfielder with a nasty-looking tackle that initially referee Scott waved away.
However, after being advised by the VAR to look at the tackle again on the pitch-side TV monitor, the official changed his mind and rightly sent off the winger. It was the third red for a Saints player this season, more than any other side.
The VAR became even more unpopular with the home fans a minute before the break when deciding Boufal had dipped his shoulder in enough for it to be deemed a handball as the Moroccan tried to clear a corner.
Ritchie, though, saw his well-placed spot-kick saved low down to his left by McCarthy, capping a brilliant first half for the Saints keeper in which he produced a number of impressive stops.
Newcastle, however, were left to rue a fourth missed penalty out of five since returning to the Premier League three years ago, and that setback appeared to have knocked the visitors' confidence in the second half.
However, when Valery dithered over a clearance with just 11 minutes left, Saint-Maximin - the subject of a heated midweek argument involving Bruce and a journalist - nipped in to score the winner off the right-hand post and end a run of four games without a goal for the visitors.
Southampton forward Danny Ings started, with Michael Obafemi dropping to the bench, while defender Yan Valery and winger Moussa Djenepo also returned.
Newcastle striker Joelinton dropped to the bench, with wide man Allan Saint-Maximin replacing the Brazilian after a recent hamstring issue. And full-back Javi Manquillo also started having recovered from a hamstring injury.
- Newcastle have won three consecutive league games against Southampton for the first time in their history
- Southampton have lost both matches against Newcastle in a single Premier League season for only the second time, also doing so in 2004-05
- Newcastle were awarded their first penalty in 37 Premier League games (March 2019 v Everton), while the Magpies have now missed four of their last five penalties in the Premier League
- Alex McCarthy is the first Southampton goalkeeper to save a penalty at St. Mary's in the Premier League since Kelvin Davis vs Man Utd in September 2012 - 2743 days ago
- All three of Allan Saint-Maximin's goals for Newcastle in all competitions have come away from home, also netting vs Sheffield United at Bramall Lane in the Premier League
- No Premier League side has received more red cards in 2019-20 than Southampton (3), following Moussa Djenepo's 28th minute sending off
⚫ Newcastle miss the chance to take the lead at Southampton with the 1st penalty they have been awarded in the Premier League this season.— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) March 7, 2020
Newcastle’s penalty record since returning to the PL in 2017:
Ralph Hasenhuttl: "I cannot criticise my team for not doing everything, they left everything on the pitch. It was a good performance on our side.
"We tried to stop the opponent and we did it for a long time but then one mistake can decide the game. I didn't have the feeling that they had a game plan, an idea of how they were going to score.
"We defended well, we were very compact and close to centre. The distances between the lines and the players was very good and it helped us to win a lot of balls in front of our box and had a few counter-attack chances also."
Steve Bruce: "I'm very relieved. Arguably, we were better against 11. But of course, when a team is well-organised and drop deep and get behind the ball, it was difficult to break them down.
"But a little bit of magic from Allan, the only bit we really created in the second half. We had better chances in the first half, but the game really should have been out of sight by then. We had some wonderful opportunities, but did not take them.
"Today, VAR went for us a little bit, but I do not think that anyone who has seen the challenge would deny it was a red card. And the VAR ultimately got the big decisions right. That is what they are here for, it has gone for us today. Although we did not capitalise, it was the right decision."
Man of the Match - Allan Saint-Maximin
The Frenchman has become a talisman for Newcastle after his move from Nice last summer and the pacy winger was at it again at St Mary's on Saturday with another eye-catching display down the left for the visitors.
Yan Valery will have nightmares about the 22-year-old speedster after this clash as he tormented the Southampton right-back all afternoon long with his trickery and quick feet.
And Saint-Maximin got his rewards after cleverly dispossessing Valery as the defender tried to clear his lines, before keeping his cool to score his first league goal of the season.
Southampton take on bottom-of-the-table Norwich at Carrow Road next Saturday afternoon, while Newcastle face Sheffield United at St James' Park, with that clash also at 3pm on Saturday March 14.