The opening 45 minutes was one of missed opportunities and frustration for the hosts with chances from Dwight Gayle and Ayoze Pérez in the opening minutes to no avail. Swansea gave the home side a slight scare with Kyle Bartley's effort following Jonjo Shelvey's free-kick but Gayle's disallowed opener summed up the opening period.
Newcastle continued to sing from the same hymn sheet at the beginning of the second period as another chance passed Gayle and the hosts were punished as Jordan Ayew opened the scoring on the hour mark. They would only be behind for eight minutes as Joselu turned in the equaliser. There were final rolls of the dice from both sides as the clock ticked down with Wilfried Bony's effort cleared off-the-line at the death but both had to settle for the point.
Both sides headed into this clash in dire striates with Swansea anchored to the bottom of the table and Newcastle hanging two points above the dreaded drop zone, the magnitude of the rightly termed 'six-pointer' could be felt in the St James' Park atmosphere and it seemed to spur on The Magpies as they made a confident start to proceedings.
They tested the waters only three minutes in as Christian Atsu's cute nutmeg gave Paul Dummett the opportunity to cross in from the left, it found the head of Gayle but his effort was straight into the arms of Łukasz Fabiański.
The striker was presented an even greater opportunity minutes later after great work from the in-form Pérez, the Spaniard showed great trickery to get to the left by-line and get the cross in. Gayle was the man waiting in the middle as he was granted a free header at goal, his effort had Fabiański rooted to the spot but the effort glanced past the far post.
Lacking final touch
The Magpies continued to chip away at their Welsh adversaries as the half went on until another golden chance presented itself in the 26th minute, it all came from Matt Ritchie as his pin-point chipped ball sailed over the Swans defence and into the feet of Pérez. Considering the striker's latest streak of form many would have backed him in the one-on-one with Fabiański, but the Pole did well to block the flick and then the follow-up deflected behind.
The home side were handed another golden opportunity this time from referee Graham Scott as he awarded the free-kick on the edge of the area as Atsu was bundled over, Shelvey lined-up the free-kick against his former side but it curled well over the crossbar.
Attack had proven a rare thing throughout most of the first period for Carlos Carvalhal's side, but they showed they could still prove to be a fly in Newcastle' ointment with their first real opportunity. The corner was played in following Ki Sung-Yeung's deflected effort as it reached Bartley at the far-post, the skipper headed it back across the face of goal but nobody in red could steer it home.
St James' erupted moments later as Gayle met the corner in perfectly to head the ball home, but his and the celebrations of the masses were cut short as the goal was rightly ruled out for offside.
Swans snatch lead
Newcastle started the second period as brightly as they had the first but the concern of wasting chances also remained, Pérez proved hard to handle again four minutes after the restart as he fed it through to Gayle whose effort had Fabiański stretching but was just wide of the far post.
There could have been quite the distance between the two sides if not for Newcastle's wastefulness and they were made to pay as the visitors took the lead on the hour mark, Darlow did well initially to stop Ayew's free header from Mike van der Hoorn's cross but could do nothing as the Ghanaian was allowed to turn home at the second time of asking.
Rafael Benítez looked to inject some clinicalness into his forward line with the introduction of Joselu, and the former Stoke man repaid his faith almost instantly with the equaliser.
Pérez was involved again as his ball across the face of goal for Joselu, the Spaniard did well to turn and take the touch but odds looked stacked against him in terms of the angle but he did brilliantly to pick out the opposite corner much to the delight of home crowd.
The momentum seemed to be swinging in the favour of The Magpies as the clocked continued to tick down, a ball in from Ritchie found the head of Atsu who looked to cushion it into the path of Pérez but Fabiański showed great bravery to sterilise the danger.
The small consortium from Wales will have thought they were going away with all three points deep into extra-time, Darlow flew off his line to deny Luciano Narsingh but pushed it into the feet of Bony who had nothing standing in his way but DeAndre Yedlin was on the line to clear.