Alan Pardew's visitors posed problems all afternoon, but there were some outstanding displays in the home ranks, with four leading contenders for the day's man of the match award.
Michael Carrick was a non-stop hub of industry in the centre of the park for the Reds, leading the repeated fightbacks from falling behind. The midfielder also embossed his display with a pair of invaluable assists, alertly teeing up Robin van Persie before a sublime cross for Javier Hernandez's winner.
Restored to his original role on the left flank, Ryan Giggs was hugely influential throughout. The Welshman's sheer will to win inspired those around him and helped lift the Old Trafford crowd, and his second-half supply line of crosses, on another day, might have yielded a hatful of goals.
The Reds' last-gasp strike was fitting reward for a tireless shift from Javier Hernandez. The little Mexican ran all over the pitch throughout the afternoon, hassling and harrying the Magpies' defenders and asserting himself physically. Despite repeatedly falling foul of Newcastle's offside trap, Chicha timed his run perfectly when it mattered most.
Alongside the Mexican, Robin van Persie gave another masterclass in attacking play. While starved of service in the first half, the Dutchman's free-kick prompted Jonny Evans' goal, and after the break his influence grew further. Robin smashed home a superb finish to bring the scores to 3-3, and Newcastle rarely got to grips with his attacking menace.