Alan Shearer broke Jackie Milburn's all-time Newcastle scoring record with his 201st goal and helped his side to a much-needed win over Portsmouth.
Shearer holds off Andy O'Brien to break the record
The Magpies were playing their first match under temporary manager Glenn Roeder after Graeme Souness was sacked this week.
They went ahead thanks to a low Charles N'Zogbia effort on 41 minutes.
And Shearer made his mark in the second half, picking up Shola Ameobi's backheel to fire past Dean Kiely.
The former England captain will take the headlines but Newcastle's overall performance will have heartened the home crowd.
There was certainly more than a touch of nerves from both teams in the first 10 minutes, but it was Newcastle, who started the day six points above the relegation zone, who got into their stride the quickest.
Portsmouth's defence was kept busy during a first 45 minutes that saw Kiely tested to the limit by the much-improved Ameobi and Shearer.
Kiely was also assisted by a superb rearguard effort from defender Linvoy Primus, who threw his body at every low cross which came from the wing play of Nolberto Solano and N'Zogbia.
Primus also prevented N'Zogbia opening his account earlier in the match, with a last-ditch tackle inside the six-yard area.
His luck, and Portsmouth's, ran out just before the interval when Solano delivered a beautifully weighted cross from the right that Shearer pounced on to force Kiely into a stunning save.
But the alert N'Zogbia was on hand to slot the ball in, giving Newcastle reward for their endeavour.
Much of Newcastle's forward play stemmed from midfielder Scott Parker, and it was his tackle that led to Shearer's goal.
The former Chelsea star broke up the play in the middle of the pitch, before the ball went back to keeper Shay Given.
Given launched the ball up the field which fell to the feet of Ameobi, who took on two defenders before backheeling the ball into the number nine's path.
After 394 games, Shearer made the Newcastle goalscorers' crown his own with a clinical finish into Kiely's left corner.
Newcastle peppered the Portsmouth goal with more efforts as the confidence grew throughout the team, but it was more than fitting that Shearer had the final say.
Newcastle caretaker manager Glenn Roeder:
"It couldn't have been more perfect, in my opinion.
"Winning 2-0 was the perfect result, but then throw into the mix Alan Shearer breaking the record, then you have got the lot, haven't you?
"The way he scored the goal, there have been so many Shearer goals like that."
Portsmouth manager manager Harry Redknapp:
"Newcastle played really well today.
"They have not been playing that way for some time and haven't played well all season.
"It was interesting they could put in a performance like that after such a bad run. But they have a team full of good players and it was difficult for us."
Newcastle: Given, Ramage, Boumsong, Bramble, Babayaro, Solano (Dyer 74), Parker (Clark 86), Emre (Bowyer 74), N'Zogbia, Shearer, Ameobi.
Subs Not Used: Harper, Elliott.
Goals: N'Zogbia 41, Shearer 64.
Portsmouth: Kiely, Griffin (Pamarot 46), Primus, O'Brien, Taylor, Routledge (Todorov 46), Davis (Diao 76), Pedro Mendes, O'Neil, D'Alessandro, Mwaruwari.
Subs Not Used: Ashdown, Karadas.
Ref: M Halsey (Lancashire).