Newcastle United were agonisingly denied a first Premier League win of the season at St James’s Park this evening.
Willian netted with a late free-kick to claim a point for Chelsea from a pulsating 2-2 draw.
Ayoze Perez and Georginio Wijnaldum had put Newcastle 2-0 up, but substitute Ramires got Jose Mourinho’s side back into the game at the hour-mark.
And Willian – who had also come off the bench – levelled in the 86th minute to deny United a fourth successive home league win over Chelsea.
The result leaves Steve McClaren’s side in 19th place, a point above basement club Sunderland, who were beaten 3-0 at Old Trafford by Manchester United earlier today.
McClaren, without several key players, handed a start to striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, available again after serving a three-match suspension.
The club’s head coach also gave defender Kevin Mbabu his debut in the absence through injury of left-back Massadio Haidara.
And it was Perez who broke the deadlock.
The forward took down deep right-wing cross from Vurnon Anita and, unchallenged by Kurt Zouma, he beat goalkeeper Asmir Begovic with his second touch, an angled half-volley.
Newcastle, beaten by Sheffield Wednesday’s reserves on home turf just three days earlier, had dominated the first half.
They added to their advantage in the 60th minute.
Wijnaldum headed a Perez corner past Begovic to put United in a commanding position, but Chelsea substitute Ramires pulled a goal back just six minutes after replacing Oscar.
And Willian struck direct with a 30-yard free-kick to equalise.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Krul; Janmaat, Mbemba, Coloccini, Mbabu; Sissoko (de Jong, 90), Anita, Colback (Obertan, 54), Wijnaldum; Perez, Mitrovic (Toney, 85). Subs not used: Elliot, Williamson, Lascelles, Thauvin.
CHELSEA: Begovic; Ivanovic, Zouma, Cahill, Azpilicueta; Matic (Willian, 61), Fabregas; Pedro, Oscar (Ramires, 73), Hazard; Remy (Falcao, 61). Subs not used: Blackman, Terry, Mikel, Kenedy.
Goals: Perez 42, Wijnaldum 60, Ramires 79
Bookings: Colback 34, Ivanovic 68, Pedro 90
Referee: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire)