Newcastle United Women 1 West Bromwich Albion Women 0
Newcastle United Women went top of the FA Women's National League Northern Premier Division thanks to super sub Becky Ferguson's late winner.
Previous leaders Burnley Women saw their fixture with Derby County Women postponed due to a frozen pitch but, thanks to the efforts of the Newcastle Falcons groundstaff, the Kingston Park pitch was playable on a bitterly cold Sunday afternoon.
But United looked set to be frozen out by a resolute Baggies defence - until Ferguson struck with just five minutes remaining to make it 13 wins from 14 games in all competitions for Becky Langley's side.
Kacie Elson just failed to connect with a Tyler Dodds delivery in the fifth minute, then in the tenth, Olivia Watt crossed from the left but Dodds, still waiting for her first Newcastle goal following her summer arrival from Sunderland Women, stabbed wide at the far post.
United appealed for a penalty when Elson went down under Ashlee Brown's challenge after racing onto Charlotte Potts' ball, before Georgia Gibson was denied by goalkeeper Anna Miller and leading scorer Bridget Galloway saw a header drop onto the roof of the net following another Dodds cross.
The Baggies' first opening came in the 24th minute, when Fran Orthodoxou met Hannah George's free kick but her looping header went over the bar.
For United, Potts fired over before Gibson saw a 35-yard strike fielded by Miller after great work in midfield from Elysia Boddy, but the visitors remained a threat on the counter-attack and Beth McGowan shot over following a swift break in the 32nd minute.
In first-half stoppage time, Galloway headed off target from an Emma Kelly set-piece, then at the beginning of the second period, Elson prodded over.
A Galloway volley from a Kelly corner in the 53rd minute went too high, then the same two players combined for another chance but again Galloway was unable to direct her header goalwards.
United's 11-goal leading scorer then couldn't quite convert a dangerous Gibson cross, then tried to turn provider with a teasing centre which Ferguson was unable to force home, with United feeling she was pushed by an Albion defender.
An ambitious free kick from Potts failed to test Miller as the clock ticked down then in the 74th minute a Kelly strike was kept out by the goalkeeper.
Another strong claim for a penalty was waved away by by referee Jonathan Walker, as Galloway went down under Isabel Green's challenge, and in the 77th minute a free kick from West Brom's Olivia Rabjohn whistled just over.
Boddy's strike was saved by a diving Miller, who then dealt with an effort from Gibson with nine minutes left.
But the goalkeeper was finally beaten by Ferguson - fittingly ice-cool in the sub-zero conditions - in the 85th minute. She swept home from 12 yards to take United two points ahead of Burnley, with the sides now having played the same number of matches.
The Newcastle players celebrated in the snow which still lay around the perimeter of the pitch and little wonder; it could prove to be a huge goal and a massive victory in the Magpies' season.
Newcastle United Women: Grace Donnelly, Tyler Dodds (Katie Barker 81), Amber-Keegan Stobbs (c), Charlotte Potts, Olivia Watt, Emma Kelly, Georgia Gibson (Daisy Burt 90), Elysia Boddy, Kacie Elson (sub Becky Ferguson 60), Hannah Greenwood (Jasmine McQuade 83), Bridget Galloway (Anna Soulsby 90)
Subs not used: None
Photograph courtesy of Colin Lock