NORWICH City suffered a heartbreaking late defeat as Newcastle United scored twice in stoppage time to win 4-3 at St James' Park.
City were lucky that the opening half hour yielded only one Dwight Gayle goal after the Magpies were denied by the woodwork and an inspired Michael McGovern.
Gayle's close-range finish in the 24th-minute came after he had missed three other clearcut chances, but this time he beat City's in-form goalkeeper after Matt Ritchie had broken free down the right.
Alex Neil's men steadily got a foothold in the contest, though, and when Robbie Brady was hauled down in the area for City's third penalty in as many league matches, Graham Dorrans became the first successful taker by sending Karl Darlow the wrong way.
Seven minutes into the second period, Cameron Jerome then stunned the home crowd when he cut in on his right foot and looped a delightful finish over Darlow and into the far corner.
When Jacob Murphy's shot took a huge deflection and looped in, City had the three points in their grasp - but Gayle fired in again within a minute of the restart to give the home fans renewed hope.
As their pressure steadily grew, City's defence finally succumbed in the stoppage time when Gouffran stabbed the ball home from inside the box.
Remarkably, the Magpies still found time for a winner - and it was the thorn in City's defence, Gayle, who drilled in left-footed to leave the Canaries stunned.
HOW THEY LINED UP
Neil made two changes from the weekend win over Burton Albion, with Timm Klose missing from the starting eleven for the first time in the league this season.
Sebastien Bassong replaced him in central defence against his former club, while Alex Tettey returned to the team after a short absence with a hip problem.
He came into the side for Wes Hoolahan, who dropped to the substitutes' bench. Joining the Irishman in reserve was, among others, Steven Naismith, but Alex Pritchard wasn't in the matchday 18.
City looked like they were going to hold on for a fantastic victory, but their walls were breached in stoppage time when Gouffran pulled Newcastle level.
That readied the hosts for one final push, but not even the most enthusiastic of Newcastle fans could have foreseen what unfolded next as Gayle's winner sent the crowd, players and staff of the Magpies into delirium.
It was a suckerpunch of unprecedented severity for Neil and his players, who had fought valiantly to get into a winning position only to see the points slip agonisingly from their grasp.
WHAT IT MEANS
City stay in the top two but this defeat will not be forgotten quickly, and its lasting impact will be analysed over the coming days and matches.
Neil's men will need to pick themselves up quickly however, as they return to league action in just three days.
Dwight Gayle (24, 71, 90), Yoan Gouffran (90) - Canaries:
Graham Dorrans (pen 44), Cameron Jerome (52), Jacob Murphy (70)
: Darlow; Clark, Dummett (Atsu 90), Colback (Hayden 71), Lascelles (c), Gayle, Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame (Mitrovic 71), Gouffran, Yedlin. Subs not used
: Sels (GK), Lazaar, Perez, Mbemba.
: McGovern; Pinto, Martin (c), Bassong, Olsson; Tettey, Dorrans; Ja. Murphy (Bennett 79), Howson, Brady; Jerome (Oliveira 86). Subs not used
: Ruddy (GK), Naismith, Hoolahan, Jo. Murphy, Thompson.
: Peter Bankes
It's a quick turnaround for the Canaries, with another away game at Wolves coming this Saturday. Tickets for the televised 5.30pm kick-off are still available HERE
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