It would have been hard for both sides to recreate the entertainment that they managed to produce inside the first 45 minutes, but as referee Paul Tierney blew for the beginning of the second period it looked like the half would be much more of an even affair.
Cook struck two minutes into injury time to give Eddie Howe's team only its third league win. We'll take any win, regardless of how they come.
"That was the Josh King of last season".
But for that offside decision, the woodwork, the excellence of goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and the bravery of defender Cook, the Spanish manager would have been richly rewarded for his bold approach inside the opening 45 minutes. First half they were better than us but we upped our game.
The home side didn't look in the mood to show mercy to their South Coast counterparts as they continued to pepper their goal with opportunities, an excellent block denied them in the 12th minute as Gayle looked certain to turn in Ritchie's floating cross into the back post but Cookwas there brilliantly to put it behind.
Ahead of the showdown with the Cherries, who sit in 19th place in the table, many may predict that the Spanish manager would change up his side, considering his history of rotation.
Merson however, still expects Newcastle to run out victors on Saturday afternoon.
Home substitute Ciaran Clark headed over from a Jonjo Shelvey corner, and Javier Manquillo was floored when he blocked Jordon Ibe's piledriver as play moved swiftly from end to end.
The Cherries had earlier hit the post through Marc Pugh, but the visiting fans were celebrating deep into injury time when Cook rose highest to nod in Andrew Surman's corner.