Ciaran Clark claimed an important point for Newcastle United at St James's Park this afternoon.
Rafa Benitez's side came from behind to draw 2-2 with struggling Bristol City.
The result saw Newcastle go two points clear of Brighton and Hove Albion, though they can go top with a win over Reading at the Amex Stadium this evening.
Third-placed Huddersfield Town remain five points behind United after being held to a 1-1 draw by Barnsley at Oakwell.
Newcastle had disastrous start against a team which had lost 10 of its previous 13 matches.
Aaron Wilbraham, the visitors' 37-year-old striker, lost his marker to head a Gary O'Neil cross past Karl Darlow with 11 minutes on the clock.
Benitez felt Wilbraham was offside, but the goal stood.
And it got worse for United in the 21st minute when a mix-up between Darlow and Paul Dummett led to a second for Lee Johnson's side.
Darlow fumbled an attempted back header from Dummett, and Cotterill rolled the ball into the net.
Newcastle were better after the break, and defender Aden Flint, the visitors' last man, was fortunate to stay on the pitch after bundling Aleksandar Mitrovic over just outside the box.
But an own goal from Korey Smith got United back in the game just before the hour-mark.
And Clark claimed what could prove an important point for the home side with a headed goal from a corner eight minutes from time.
Matt Ritchie, a yellow card away from a two-game ban, also avoided a booking ahead of Tuesday night's visit to Brighton.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Darlow; Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett; Shelvey, Colback (Diame, 58); Ritchie, Perez (Gouffran, 78), Atsu; Mitrovic. Subs not used: Elliot, Gamez, Hanley, Anita, Murphy.
BRISTOL CITY: Giefer, Vyner, Flint, Wright, Bryan (Magnusson 71), Cotterill (Hegeler, 90), O'Neil, Reid, Smith (Pack, 82), O'Dowda, Wilbraham. Subs not used: Fielding, Tomlin, Taylor, Paterson.
Goals: Wilbraham 11, Cotterill 21, Smith 59 (og), Clark 82
Bookings: Wilbraham 51
Referee: Chris Kavanagh (Lancashire)