Newcastle United threw away a two-goal lead at Dean Court to draw 2-2 with relegation rivals AFC Bournemouth.
Dwight Gayle’s brace had put the Magpies ahead, and United held on to that advantage until the final 10 minutes, when they imploded.
First substitute Adam Smith fired in Bournemouth’s first goal, with Martin Dubravka unsighted, before former Magpies midfielder Dan Gosling smashed in the Cherries’ leveller in the 89th minute.
It was a disappointing end to a game which Newcastle had controlled for 80 minutes, and Rafa Benitez will question how his side managed to throw it away in such fashion.
Gayle has taken on the challenge of Islam Slimani’s arrival head on - and he finally got the goals his recent performances warranted at Dean Court.
It was Gayle’s excellent assist which set up Matt Ritchie’s winner against Manchester United, but the roles were reversed on the south coast as the Scotland winger fizzed a low ball across the box for the Magpies striker to backheel into an empty net at the second attempt.
Gayle’s second was also a poacher’s strike, with Ayoze Perez the provider on this occasion, arrowing a cross between three Bournemouth defenders and through Asmir Begovic’s arms - with the Cherries keeper partly at fault for both of Newcastle’s goals.
But that should take nothing away from Gayle, whose all-round display was extremely impressive. Not only did he score twice - his first strikes since December 9, and his fourth and fifth league goals of the season respectively - but the forward also ran the channels, help up the ball and brought his team-mates in to play.
The 27-year-old has received his fair share of criticism so far this season, with many arguing he is not top-flight quality, but Gayle looks full of confidence right now - and he deserves all the plaudits he gets for this display.
Magpies supporters were understandably concerned when news filtered through from Benitez’s pre-match Press conference on Friday that Slimani is unlikely to feature until deep into March.
Given that Slimani was brought in on loan on deadline day in order to fire Newcastle to survival, it is concerning that we are yet to see him in black and white.
Jonjo Shelvey squandered a sitter just seconds before Smith’s strike - the Newcastle midfielder fired over from eight yards out with the goal gaping - while Christian Atsu, Matt Ritchie and Ayoze Perez almost missed chances too.
Slimani was brought in because Newcastle desperately needed a striker who would provide them with the goals to fire them towards survival.
Benitez admitted on Friday it was a “risk” signing Slimani because of his thigh injury, and so that is now proving.