Christian Atsu’s first-half goal saw Newcastle win at bottom-of-the-table Rotherham to keep the pressure on Championship leaders Huddersfield.
The Magpies’ Yoan Gouffran had several early chances, while Joe Newell and Jon Taylor went close at the other end.
But Atsu scored the decisive goal just before half-time, firing into the top corner from the edge of the box.
Dwight Gayle and Jonjo Shelvey had chances to make it 2-0 and Dominic Ball hit the woodwork for the hosts late on.
Listen to Rotherham boss Alan Stubbs speaking to BBC Radio Sheffield
Gouffran was unlucky not to put the Magpies ahead when his volley was blocked on the line by the chest of Ball, and Taylor had a decent chance for the Millers when his shot clipped the crossbar.
Newcastle took the lead four minutes before the break as Atsu cut inside from the right to unleash an unstoppable strike.
After Gayle failed to get a strong enough connection on a Shelvey free-kick, Atsu saw his next shot pushed away by Rotherham keeper Lee Camp.
Mohamed Diame, Shelvey and Ciaran Clark all had decent chances before Ball was unfortunate not to equalise, and Will Vaulks had a header cleared off the line.
Rotherham United manager Alan Stubbs:
“We have taken the game to Newcastle and, if I am being honest, it has been a pretty uncomfortable 90 minutes for them.
“We are certainly getting better. On Tuesday, we could have taken a point and today one bit of quality has been the difference between the two teams.
“When you’re down there a little bit of luck deserts you, but you have to make your own luck in this game.
“There were positives out of the display but not out of the result. For me, it was a step in the right direction.”
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez:
“It was a great, great goal. We won against a good team. I said before that (Rotherham) don’t deserve to be where they are.
“They were pushing and pushing us and with that kind of play they will win games and be higher in the table.
“To get three points is what you have to do. We can try to play nice football but sometimes it is not enough.
The game plan was to work hard and do our best in terms of physicality and tempo and then after that use your quality. That is what we did.”