Sunderland have collected a valuable point in the fight for Sky Bet Championship survival by recording a 1-1 draw with Millwall at The New Den.
A stunning strike from Bryan Oviedo gave The Black Cats a first half lead before Shaun Hutchinson bundled in a scrappy second half leveller for the hosts.
Millwall had the better of the opening exchanges and Jake Cooper saw a header tap the post from a corner kick after just six minutes.
Sunderland soon settled into the game though and a dangerous cross by Adam Matthews could have hit anyone in the six yard box as the home side rode their luck. It was The Black Cats who took the lead just before the half hour mark when a short corner routine saw the ball played to Oviedo who struck an absolute thunderbolt into the net from 20 yards after cutting in from the right.
The home side took until five minutes before the interval before producing another chance of note as a Shaun Williams’ effort into the ground from the edge of the box caused problems from visiting keeper Jason Steele who managed to palm the danger away.
Steve Morison also went close for The Lions but his close range header from a cross bounced just wide of the post as Sunderland went into the break 1-0 up.
Millwall had a good opportunity to level early in the second half but Lee Gregory failed to get sufficient power on his shot on the turn to severely test Steele while The Lions felt that they had a strong penalty shout when Ben Marshall hit the deck.
Gregory then saw a looping header tipped over the bar by Steele before the Sunderland keeper pulled off a stunning block to deny Gregory a certain goal.
Millwall levelled matters with 22 minutes remaining when Sunderland failed to clear the threat posed by a corner kick and Hutchinson bundled the ball over the line via the legs of two visiting defenders.
The goal left The Lions smelling both blood and three points as Sunderland went back to the drawing board. Gregory was soon inches away from giving Neil Harris’ men the lead but he failed to latch onto a Morison knock-down.
A flowing Millwall move then saw Jed Wallace blaze over from 16 yards before Morison did the same as the home side desperately searched for a winning goal to help them continue their climb up the table.
Five minutes of stoppage time produced plenty of enthusiasm from both sides but there was to be no third goal as Millwall and Sunderland were made to settle for a share of the spoils.