Visiting Norwich broke the deadlock courtesy of Wes Hoolahan, but they had goalkeeper Mark Bunn sent off soon after. The Black Cats were level before the break through Craig Gardner, who scored from the penalty spot after Sebastien Bassong had been adjudged to have handled inside the area.
Sports Mole looks back over the clash to determine if either side can say that they should have won the encounter.
On target 8
On target 3
Was the result fair?
Even when they were up against 10 men, hosts Sunderland did not create enough clear goalscoring opportunities to argue that they should have taken maximum points. Norwich were strong in defence and for their efforts alone were deserving of a share of the spoils.
On today's evidence, it is easy to see why Sunderland are in the position that they are. When playing against 10 men at home, you'd always expect a team to go on and win the match. The Black Cats, though, never really looked like taking the points today. What will be concerning for Martin O'Neill is the fact that his side lacked ideas in the final third.
The Norfolk-based outfit deserve nothing but credit for the way they battled, particularly when you consider that they played for 60 minutes with a man light. A Sunderland onslaught was expected in the second half, but some stubborn defending meant that the home team were restricted to a number of shots from distance. They should also be praised for getting on with the game, despite having three controversial decisions go against them.
Sports Mole's man of the match
Russell Martin: The Norwich captain has developed into a really accomplished Premier League player over the last 18 months. His stock rose even higher today with another decent performance. With the Canaries down to 10 men, he defended so well that Adam Johnson was moved out onto the other wing to see if he could have better luck out there.
In all the controversy that surrounded Bunn's dismissal, many seemed to forget the error that Michael Turner committed just seconds before. It was his poor header that allowed the situation to develop and without that Norwich would have kept 11 players on the pitch.
Let's clear one thing up - referees have a very difficult job, there is no disputing that. However, Chris Foy had a torrid afternoon. Many will argue that he harshly sent off Norwich keeper Bunn, before going on to only award the away side a free kick when Danny Rose had clearly handled the ball inside the penalty area. Everybody has bad days and Foy will no doubt be looking to put that to one side next time out.
Sunderland: After the upcoming international break Sunderland are at home again when champions elect Manchester United make the trip to the Stadium of Light.
Norwich: It's another big encounter for the Canaries next time out as they travel to fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic.