The Panthers ran in the first two tries through Danny Galea and Rhys Wesser after just 16 minutes, and took a 14-0 lead into half time.
After 55 minutes Anthony Quinn ran 40 metres to score and Milton Thaiday crossed just 8 minutes later to give the Knights the lead by 22 points to 14.
The Panthers looked to have snatched the game from the Knights' grasp and led 24-22 with just 3 minutes remaining.
But with Andrew Johns on song yet again the Knights managed to steal the game in the dying minutes with a try out wide and a conversion to secure their first win of the season, 28 points to 24.
Newcastle secured a much needed win for their fans and maintain a glimmer of hope in avoiding the wooden spoon. As for the Panthers, they can kiss their premiership hopes goodbye for 2005 after another patchy performance.
Scorers: PENRITH PANTHERS 24 Tries: Galea 2, Wesser, Franze, Priddis Goals: Campbell 2 NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS 28 Tries: Newton 2, Tighe, Quinn, Thaiday Goals: Johns 4
Venue: Penrith Football Stadium Referee: Russell Smith Half time: Panthers 14-0
Live commentary: Must win game for both sides for different reasons. The Panthers still have a shot at the 8 and a win here is crucial. The Knights are looking for a win for nothing more than pride.
Changes: Panthers: Out: Luke Rooney In: David McLean
No changes for the Knights
0 min: Kickoff!, match underway at Penrith Stadium.
8 min: NEWS-Still no score on the board at this stage. Exciting start from the Knights who haven't been afraid to give their outside backs early touches, Andrew Johns and Preston Campbell having heavy involvement early.
11 min: TRY-Panthers. Try to Danny Galea off an exciting bust from David McLean. Conversion unsuccessful from Preston Campbell. Panthers 4-0
16 min: TRY-Panthers. Try to Rhys Wesser off a ball from Craig Gower from a scrum 10 metres out. Soft defence by George Carmont in allowing him through. Conversion successful from Preston Campbell. Panthers 10-0
24 min: NEWS-Panthers on the attack yet again here. Andrew Johns is being hampered by a groin injury and the Knights' attack appears to be suffering.
30 min: NEWS-Newcastle with a good attacking opportunity going to waste yet again, Andrew Johns is playing with purpose in attack but unfortunately for the Knights his players cannot take advantage of it.
35 min: NO TRY-Brett Howland crosses in the corner after some crafty work from Craig Gower and Preston Campbell, called back for a forward pass.
37 min: TRY-Panthers Danny Galea crosses in the corner after a brilliant crossfield kick from Craig Gower. Conversion unsuccessful from Preston Campbell. Panthers 14-0
HALF TIME-Tremendous first half effort from the Panthers, their attacking potency is reminiscent of their premiership year in 2003. As for the Knights their woeful season is continuing, nothing is going right for them and they need a miracle to come back from here.
Andrew Johns restarts and we are underway in the second half.
45 min: TRY-Knights Clint Newton scores about 10 metres to the left of the posts. Woeful defence from Penrith out wide. Conversion successful from Andrew Johns. Panthers 14-6
49 min: TRY-Knights Brad Tighe scores off a magical pass from Andrew Johns. Excellent start to the second half from Newcastle. Conversion unsuccessful from Andrew Johns. Panthers 14-10
55 min: TRY-Knights Anthony Quinn scores after a mistake from Danny Galea 40 metres out from the Panthers line, Quinn scores under the posts. Conversion successful from Andrew Johns. Knights 16-14
63 min: TRY-Knights Milton Thaiday scores after a beautiful pass from Andrew Johns and bursts through a massive hole in the defence. Conversion successful from Andrew Johns. Knights 22-14
67 min: TRY-Panthers Paul Franze scoots from dummy half to score a soft try after poor marker defence from Brendan Worth. Conversion unsuccessful from Preston Campbell. Knights 22-18
70 min: TRY-Panthers Luke Priddis burrows from dummy half to score, poor marker defence yet again from Newcastle. Conversion successful from Preston Campbell. Panthers 24-22
75 min: NEWS-Knights now deep on the attack with just 5 minutes left, can they score and get their first win of the season?
77 min: TRY-Knights Clint Newton barges across the line to give the Knights the lead with just 3 minutes remaining. Conversion successful from Andrew Johns. Knights 28-24
FULL TIME: The Knights have secured their first win of the season. In an unbelievable turn of events in the second half, Andrew Johns again showed why he is the best player in the world with an inspired comeback. As for Penrith, their season is as good as gone for 2005. Congratulations to Newcastle on a great 28-24 win.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - A Johns (Knights) 2 - C Newton (Knights) 1 - C Gower (Panthers) -----------------------------------------