Lascelles leveller rescues point for Newcastle after Darlow howler
Newcastle skipper Jamaal Lascelles spared goalkeeper Karl Darlow's blushes with an 80th-minute equaliser as a pulsating SkyBet Championship game at Norwich ended in a 2-2 draw,
Lascelles volleyed home at the back post after the hosts had hit back from falling behind to an Ajose Perez goal after just 23 seconds.
Jacob Murphy equalised after 12 minutes before an awful error from Darlow, who miss-kicked a routine clearance, gifted Norwich the lead seven minutes later.
Cameron Jerome will never have scored an easier goal, but Newcastle regrouped and came away with a deserved point to maintain their position at the top of the table.
Newcastle made a stunning start, catching the hosts cold by taking the lead from their first attack.
Static Norwich defending allowed Jack Colback to pick out Perez just inside the box and the Spaniard produced a cool low finish to beat John Ruddy.
It should have been 2-0 in the fifth minute when a slip from Russell Martin let Aleksandar Mitrovic race clean through, but Ruddy did well to block the shot.
More poor defending, this time at the other end, played a major part in Norwich getting back on level terms.
Lascelles was caught in possession by Jerome when he should have cleared his lines and the striker coolly squared for Murphy to side-foot into an unguarded net from point-blank range.
If that was bad from Newcastle then what followed after 17 minutes was a whole lot worse.
Keeper Darlow was under little pressure as he stepped out to make a routine clearance, but he sliced the ball horribly and Jerome found himself completely in the clear with the ball at his feet. He even had time to celebrate before tapping into the empty net.
The visitors were stunned, but they quickly hit back and it took an excellent reaction save from Ruddy to keep out a powerful header from Mitrovic.
It was breathless stuff and the Canaries almost made it 3-1 just before the half hour when Newcastle were caught short at the back and Steven Whittaker fired inches wide.
There was still time for Mitrovic to fire a close-range effort against a post and Jonny Howson to curl a long-range shot narrowly wide before a high-octane first period drew to a close.
The leaders came desperately close to getting back on level terms eight minutes after the break when Matt Ritchie slammed the ball against the crossbar from inside the six-yard box after being set up by DeAndre Yedlin. Replays showed the ball had not crossed the line.
The Magpies were having the bulk of possession, with Norwich now defending well, although they lived dangerously again after 73 minutes when Mitrovic got to the byline, but was unable to pick out a colleague in the box,
They finally got back on level terms 10 minutes from time after Norwich failed to deal with an inswinging free-kick from Jonjo Shelvey. The ball finally found its way to Perez, who crossed for Lascelles to volley home at the far post.
Shelvey almost bundled home a late winner, while Ruddy denied first Perez and then Shelvey in injury-time, but both sides had to settle for a point.