The home crowd were stunned into silence as early as the third minute, when Morgan Schneiderlin gave the Saints an early lead, but it was all Newcastle for the rest of the half.
However, the Toon faithful had to wait until just after the half-hour mark to equalise, when Moussa Sissoko tapped in after Yoan Gouffran’s effort had been blocked by Saints’ stopper Artur Boruc, then Papiss Cisse’s spectacular 25-yard dipping effort gave Newcastle a deserved lead at the break.
Just as they had in the first period, Southampton came out of the blocks the quickest after the interval, and Rickie Lambert scored his 100th goal for the club from close-range to put the Saints level.
However, a Yohan Cabaye penalty and a bizarre own goal from Jos Hooiveld meant Alan Pardew’s men took all three points from this thrilling encounter.
It was France day at St James’ Park, with fans donning all kinds of Gallic attire to celebrate the influx of new faces at the club, but the positive feeling around the ground was soon turned sour by the Saint’s opener.
Rickie Lambert, who was a nuisance all afternoon, knocked down Luke Shaw’s diagonal ball into the path of the onrushing Morgan Schneiderlin, who swivelled and stroked the ball past Premier League debutant Rob Elliot, deputising in place of the injured Tim Krul.
However, after that it was all Newcastle, with the only surprise that it took so long for the home side to find that equaliser, which came thanks to Sissoko after great work from Gouffran down the right, bamboozling the Saints’ backline with some neat footwork, and firing a low shot which was saved by Boruc, but Sissoko was on hand tap in.
Papiss Cisse then produced a moment of magic reminiscent of his spectacular strike at Stamford Bridge last season, smashing in a thunderous effort from 25 yards to give the Magpies the lead at the break.
However, the Saints were soon level after the interval thanks to Southampton’s dangerman Lambert. Adam Lallana was allowed time and space to pick out the hitman in the box, who had no trouble stroking the ball past Elliot.
The momentum swung once again as Southampton sensed a rare victory in this part of the North East, but a blatant handball from substitute Danny Fox as the impressive Mathieu Debuchy attempted to hook a Cabaye cross into the dangerzone gifted Newcastle the opportunity to regain the lead from the spot, and Cabaye duly obliged, slotting his penalty past Boruc.
The goal that sealed the points for the Magpies was harsh on Southampton, but it was the manner in which it was scored that will anger boss Mauricio Pochettino.
Danny Fox attempted to lash the ball clear in his six yard area, but instead volleyed straight at Hooiveld, who was powerless to stop the ball bouncing in.