David Meyler had the first chance of the match for the Black Cats, running with the ball before firing a shot which forced a save from Frank Fielding. James McClean then came even closer for the visitors, but his low shot bounced back off the post.
Sunderland continued to pile the pressure on their opponents, and new signing Carlos Cuellar almost opened his account for the club but he too saw his effort hit the post.
The visitors had to wait until the second half to get the opener, and it came through McClean, who fired past Fielding having been found by Kieran Richardson's through ball.
The hosts grabbed a late equaliser, however, as Nathan Tyson headed an effort into the top corner with just one minute left on the clock.