New signing Moussa Sissoko claimed a second-half brace to give Newcastle United a 3-2 win at home to Chelsea yesterday that prevented the visitors from making ground on the Premier League's top two.
Chelsea striker Demba Ba endured a torrid return to St James' Park, getting jeered by the fans of his former club and taking a kick to the face from one-time team-mate Fabricio Coloccini before being replaced by Fernando Torres.
By then, Newcastle had taken a 41st-minute lead through a Jonas Gutierrez header, but Frank Lampard equalised 10 minutes into the second half with a thumping strike from 25 yards.
A curling effort from Juan Mata gave Chelsea the lead for the first time six minutes later, but Newcastle came back again and drew level when Sissoko finished after Petr Cech saved from Yoan Gouffran.
To Chelsea's cost, there was more to come from the former Toulouse man, who crashed home a low shot from Santon's pass in the last minute to give Newcastle consecutive victories for the first time this season.
Defeat left Chelsea six points behind second-place Manchester City and 13 points shy of leaders Manchester United.
Adel Taarabt had a second-half penalty saved as Queens Park Rangers were held to a 0-0 draw by Norwich City that left them four points adrift at the foot of the table.
Victory would have taken Harry Redknapp's side to within a point of safety, but Taarabt saw his 56th-minute spot-kick parried by Mark Bunn to leave QPR six points from safety.
"That's how it goes. Adel was outstanding again," said QPR manager Redknapp.
"It's just one of those things. If we score, then we win the game, there's no doubt."
Arsenal left it late to beat Stoke City 1-0 and move to within a point of the Champions League places. Lukas Podolski claimed the only goal in the 78th minute with a low free-kick that deflected off Geoff Cameron to wrong-foot goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
At Goodison Park, Marouane Fellaini netted an injury-time equaliser to earn Everton a 3-3 draw at home to Aston Villa, who once again failed to defend a lead and remain in the bottom three.
Villa are now two points below fourth-bottom Reading, who won 2-1 at home to Sunderland to keep themselves above the bottom three. Jimmy Kebe scored both goals for the hosts, netting an 85th-minute winner after Craig Gardner had cancelled out his early opener with a 29th-minute penalty.
Southampton were denied a precious victory after conceding a last-minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Wigan Athletic.
Elsewhere, on-loan Liverpool striker Andy Carroll scored only his second goal of the season to give West Ham United a 1-0 win at home to Swansea City.