Mark Viduka struck a priceless late equaliser to deny bottom club Derby their second win over Newcastle - and their second win of the season.
Viduka's late strike spared Newcastle's blushes
Kenny Miller's superb finish from Gary Teale's flick-on looked to have sealed victory for Derby but Viduka came to Newcastle's rescue with a half-volley.
Giles Barnes had put the visitors ahead from 20 yards on six minutes before Viduka equalised with a precise effort.
And in a frantic end, Derby claimed a penalty for a tackle on Tyrone Mears.
But referee Andre Marriner was unconvinced that Newcastle defender Claudio Cacapa had made contact.
For all Derby's bravery, defeat would have been harsh on Newcastle, who had much the better of the first half despite ending it on level terms.
The visitors came into the game having registered one point and one goal away from home all season, with their sole league victory coming at home to the Magpies in September.
Their hopes of completing a remarkable double were hit before the kick-off when Claude Davis was injured in the warm-up, forcing Paul Jewell into a defensive reshuffle which saw Dean Leacock move back into defence and Eddie Lewis come into the midfield.
Newcastle - with Viduka restored to the starting line-up - found gaps in the new-look back-line from the off, with only James Milner's poor control in front of goal saving Derby from going behind after just a minute.
But the hosts were stunned when Derby scored with virtually their first attack, Barnes arrowing a shot into the bottom corner for his first goal in the Premier League and Derby's second away goal.
St James' Park fell briefly silent but not for long, because the home side were quickly back on the attack, Alan Smith denied a penalty when he was barged by Mears as he shaped to hit an overhead kick.
Barnes came to his side's rescue when he blocked Obafemi Martins' header on the line while Stephen Bywater produced a sharp save from Habib Beye's angled shot.
The pressure simply had to tell - and it did on 27 minutes when the Derby defence allowed a prostrate Smith to dig the ball out and prod it towards Viduka, who took one touch before thumping a low shot just inside the post.
But if the home fans thought that would spark a goal flood against a naive Derby defence, they were mistaken.
Indeed it was Newcastle's suspect backline which crumbled first, Gary Teale rising to flick on a long ball and Miller easily sidestepping David Rozehnal before finishing clinically.
That prompted a change in formation by Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce, with Obafemi Martins joining Viduka up front and Alan Smith moving back into midfield but Derby were starting to play with confidence.
Steve Howard blazed wastefully over the bar after Miller's clever back-heel and as Newcastle pressed forward in numbers, several dangerous counter-attacks came to nothing.
With the St James' Park crowd roaring on their side with increasing desperation, Damien Duff came on to make his first appearance since April.
But Derby's defence - with Jay McEveley and Darren Moore outstanding - looked likely to hold out until Viduka latched onto a long clearance and fired home from 15 yards.
With three minutes still remaining, there was time for more drama as the Derby fans pleaded for a penalty before Newcastle substitute Emre dragged a shot wide with almost the last kick of the match.
But defeat for either side in a typically hell-for-leather Premier League encounter would have been unjust.
Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce:
"We're very disappointed but we'e on a run because we're undefeated.
"We should have beaten Derby and it is our own fault - all of us together - that we didn't.
"We know we should have won this game but we haven't lost it and now we have to go forward with our undefeated run."
Derby boss Paul Jewell:
"It's always disappointing when you lose a goal so late, particularly such a poor goal as well.
"There's disappointment we didn't win but a lot of positives. I'm pleased with a lot of aspects of how we played.
"There's a lot of hard work ahead but I'm starting to see improvement. If we do get relegated we want to go down with dignity."
BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Derby's Giles Barnes 7.35 (on 90 minutes).
Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.