Substitute Fabio Borini denied Crystal Palace a first Premier League victory in 11 attempts after Connor Wickham's double had threatened to dump his former club Sunderland deeper into the mire.
The Italian, an 80th-minute replacement for the bloodied Lee Cattermole, lashed home a dramatic last-minute equaliser from an improbable angle to ensure Wickham's second-half double claimed only a point for the visitors.
A draw was of little use to the Black Cats, who looked to be on their way to a precious winwhen Dame N'Doye's deflected shot flew in off defender Scott Dann.
But it was more than they looked like getting when Wickham blasted home twice within six minutes to take the visitors to within seconds of a first three-point haul since December.
However, Borini collected DeAndre Yedlin's pass and drilled the ball across an astonished Wayne Hennessey and inside the far post.
Sunderland 2 C Palace 2