It was a desperate way to finish for the visitors who after being outplayed in the first half, were dominant for large periods after the break and were close to securing the spoils before the late drama.
After Romelu Lukaku cancelled out Demba Ba’s opener, the Baggies looked the only team likely to strike again, only for substitute Cisse to deflect home a shot with his back and bag only Newcastle’s second win in eight league games.
Considering how bright West Brom were in the second half, it was a surprisingly lacklustre and error-ridden start by Steve Clarke’s outfit who came to St James’ Park hunting a victory that would have hoisted them to fourth.
But being able to recall big-hitters keeper Tim Krul, Ba and captain Fabricio Coloccini after being rested for Thursday’s Europa League venture, it was the Magpies who looked initially hungry and sprightly.
Ba, Shola Ameobi and Hatem Ben Arfa were causing havoc in the opening exchanges and the hosts could easily have been three goals to the good within 20 minutes.
First Ba nodded Ameobi’s cross shockingly high and wide from five yards, Ameobi then headed straight to Ben Foster and the keeper was again on red alert, pushing away Davide Santon’s low shot.
Finally, the Baggies spurted into life and on-loan striker Lukaku was through on goal from Graham Dorrans’ through ball, only for Krul to stand strong and palm to safety.
It was all-out attack for both teams in a breathless final 15 minutes of the half and it was the Newcastle faithful who were celebrating, yet again from Ba’s clinical shooting boots.
A long punt by Krul was flicked on by Ameobi and after centre-back Gareth McAuley’s poor header, Ba pounced to thump the ball home for his seventh goal in nine league matches.
With just two away league goals this season, the joint-lowest in the Premier League, West Brom had the perfect chance to boost their tally before the break, but again the hesitant Lukaku could not beat Krul when clean through.
The urgency and menace gathered momentum in the second half for the visitors and they deservedly drew level (55), with Lukaku making amends for his profligacy, nodding in Zoltan Gera’s teasing cross at the back post.
Sloppy in possession and dragged around by their revitalised opponents, Newcastle threw on Gabriel Obertan and Cisse, but West Brom were sniffing the win and substitute Shane Long twice went close.