NEWCASTLE and Luton knocked each other into submission in an all-time classic at St James’ Park.
On an absolutely bonkers Tyneside afternoon, the Geordies threw away two first-half leads before the heroic Hatters raced into a 4-2 lead.
But the Magpies pegged Luton back to leave it honours even in the first 4-4 draw at St James’ since that iconic clash with Arsenal in 2011 when Toon came back from a four-goal deficit.
A perfect day for the neutral, Luton will be the happier of the two sides after this surefire contender for game of the season. They were absolutely brilliant, taking the fight to Newcastle from the off.
Chiedozie Ogbene was sensational down the right as he left Dan Burn looking like a pub player, while Ross Barkley dazzled in midfield as his stunning renaissance continues.
It may only be a point but Rob Edwards’ boys have shown recently they have more than enough to survive the drop.
They were a joy to watch, showing real quality to go with their spirit, organisation and attacking intent.
For Newcastle, however, this was two huge points dropped. After swatting Aston Villa aside in midweek, most fans would have had this down as a banker as they look to reignite their European charge.
Conceding four goals at home to a newly promoted side is a major cause of concern for boss Eddie Howe, and all of a sudden the next two against Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth look like potentially huge banana skins as well.
Academy sensation Lewis Miley started the move for the opener in this ding-dong nine minutes in with a great ball out to Kieran Trippier, and the marauding right-back claimed his ninth assist of the season with a low cross to Sean Longstaff.
The Geordie midfielder was under pressure as he burst into the box but rifled his third of the campaign first time beyond Thomas Kaminski.
Yet those Toon fans expecting a cakewalk from here were brought back down to earth when the Hatters equalised soon after.
Ross Barkley clipped a free-kick in from the right to the back post, Carlton Morris nodded it back into the mixer and Gabriel Osho came through undetected to nod home off the underside of the bar.
Roared on by their massive following, Luton sensed blood and were straight back on the attack – only to be done at the other end on the counter by that man Longstaff.
Miguel Almiron released Anthony Gordon down the left and the Scouser put on the afterburners to skip past Osho.
He then cut inside and saw an effort saved, but Longstaff – arriving bang on cue again – took one touch and fired in his second.
But the local lad went from hero to zero five minutes before the break when, weak in the challenge, Barkley nicked it off him in the build-up to Luton’s second.
The former Everton star drove to the edge of the box before slipping in Alfie Doughty, whose low ball from the left was only parried by Martin Dubravka into Barkley’s path to level up.
Beautifully chaotic, the first half was a classic – and the second was even better!
Jacob Murphy had the first chance but Kaminski was on hand to block at his near post.
Luton kept charging forwards and Ogbene soon had lumbering giant Burn on toast again.
The mismatch in pace was comical from the first whistle and Burn could do nothing as Ogbene strode ahead other than grab his shirt.
The contact started outside of the box before Ogbene went down inside it, with ref Tom Bramall somehow not giving anything.
The linesman flagged, VAR got involved and a penalty was given. Morris fired down the middle but was made to retake it before sticking it in the exact same place.
If the locals were restless now, it was bordering on mutiny three minutes later when Luton went 4-2 up, with the Toon Army demanding Burn be hooked.
Not content with a one-goal lead, they flew up the left this time. Doughty streaked into acres of space and squared to Barkley, who instead of shooting fed Adebayo to lash low beyond Dubravka.
This unforgettable game was far from done, however, as Newcastle made it 4-3 with 23 minutes remaining.
Bruno Guimaraes’ cross with the outside of his boot was exceptional and the finish from Trippier was a belter as he guided it into the far corner with a left-footed volley.
At fever pitch now, it was pandemonium when sub Barnes – on at in the 63rd minute for his first outing since September due to injury – dispossessed the otherwise outstanding Barkley, drove towards the edge of the box and curled a daisy-cutter beyond Kaminski.
There were late chances for a winner at both ends with the last falling to Ogbene, but his volley was saved by Dubravka and this slugfest ended with a point apiece.