Papiss Cisse came off the bench to hand Newcastle United all three points in fortunate fashion against West Bromwich Albion at St James' Park.
The out-of-form Senegal striker scored his first Premier League goal of the season in injury time when Sammy Ameobi’s speculative shot deflected off his back and past Ben Foster.
The goal came after Romelu Lukaku’s second-half header had looked to have earned a deserved draw for West Bromwich Albion. The Belgian international had already missed two one-on-ones with Tim Krul when he rose to head in a left-wing cross from Zoltan Gera.
Demba Ba had given the Magpies a first-half lead after taking full advantage of a Gareth McAuley mistake.
This was an impressive away display from West Brom but had no time to react once they went behind for a second time in stoppage time.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew again left the out-of-form Cisse on the bench, with Shola Ameobi preferred up-front alongside Ba. Newcastle’s only change from the side that drew 1-1 at Sunderland last weekend was an enforced one as James Perch stepped in for the suspended Cheik Tiote.
Peter Odemwingie was handed a start for West Brom as manager Steve Clarke made three changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Manchester City in their previous game. The Nigerian replaced Marc-Antoine Fortune, while Lukaku and Zoltan Gera came in for Shane Long and the injured Claudio Yacob.
The game started slowly, with West Brom enjoying some good early possession, but both sides failed to create any clear cut chances until Ba spurned an opportunity after 11 minutes.
The hard working Shola Ameobi curled in a superb right wing cross for the Senegal striker whose diving header at the far post flew just wide. It was a presentable opportunity, although he would make up for the miss later in the half.
Before that Ben Foster had to be on his mettle to keep out a long-range shot from Davide Santon that dipped wildly in front of him but while Newcastle continued to go in search of an opener they were then almost caught out by a breathtaking West Brom counterattack.
The Baggies broke quickly and James Morrison played a well weighted ball through to Lukaku whose left-footed shot was pushed out by Krul.
The young Belgium striker would be made to rue that missed opportunity when Ba gave the Magpies the lead after 35 minutes.
Ameobi beat Jonas Olsson to flick on a long punt up field from Krul and McAuley got little direction on his attempted clearance. Ba showed no mercy as he capitalised on the defender’s poor header to blast the ball past Foster.
Newcastle were applying more pressure but Steve Clarke’s side have prided themselves on their counterattacking prowess this season and Lukaku missed another opportunity after a swift break up field.
The on-loan Chelsea front man got a yard on Fabricio Coloccini after a fine through ball from Youssouf Mulumbu but was again thwarted by Krul who expertly pushed his shot away in their second one-on-one of the afternoon.
West Brom took the game to their opponents in the second-half and deserved their 55th minute equaliser. The hardworking Lukaku knocked the ball down to Zoltan Gera who carried it forwards before hanging up a delightful cross which the Belgian headed in clinically with just Krul to beat.
McAuley then almost atoned for his earlier error when he eluded Cisse to get on the end of a James Morrison corner but could not direct his header on target.
West Brom continued to look the more likely winners as Marcus Rosenberg crossed for fellow substitute Shane Long who was crowded out at the near post.
There was little indication of a Newcastle winner going into injury time and Sammy Ameobi’s effort looked to be going well wide when he took aim from distance. But the shot hit fellow substitute Cisse on the back and wrong footed the helpless Foster.
Cisse has endured a difficult second season in the Premier League after scoring 13 in his debut season following his January move from Freiburg. This decidedly lucky goal may signal a change in fortunes for the Senegal front man.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Demba Ba (Newcastle United): The former West Ham striker led the line well and pounced to score his seventh Premier League goal of the season.
Newcastle United: Krul 8, Simpson 7, Williamson 7, Coloccini 7, Santon 7, Ben Arfa 7, Perch 6, Cabaye 6, Gutierrez 6, Ba 8, Shola Ameobi 7. Subs: Obertan 6, Sammy Ameobi 6, Cisse 7.
West Bromwich Albion: Foster 7, Tamas 7, McAuley 5, Olsson 6, Ridgewell 6, Mulumbu 7, Morrison 7, Odemwingie 6, Gera 7, Dorrans 6, Lukaku 7. Subs: Long 7, Rosenberg 7, Popov 6.