A dour first half saw few chances for either side, but Simon Mignolet denied Jay Rodriguez with a good save after the forward's shot had travelled through a sea of players.
As the second half wore on, Sunderland manager Paulo Di Canio became increasingly frustrated with his side's inability to keep the ball.
However, after 67 minutes, Phil Bardsley - who returned to the starting lineup for today's game - thundered the ball beyond the reach of Artur Boruc, albeit with the aid of a deflection from Jos Hooiveld.
Just a few minutes later Jason Puncheon equalised for the visitors. Mignolet saved well from the midfielder's header, but the rebound fell at the feet of Puncheon, who swept the ball home from close range.