Fleet-ingly in front, but Black share the spoils Cats forced to share the spoils
SUNDERLAND saw another two points slip through their fingers as they were held to a draw by Fleetwood Town.
Charlie Wyke scored his eighth goal of the season as he headed the Black Cats into a deserved lead on the hour - but Fleetwood skipper Callum Connolly levelled following a goalmouth scramble with a little more than 15 minutes remaining to salvage a point for his side.
It means Sunderland climb one place to seventh in the table and the gap between them and the automatic promotion places now stands at five points, although they still have a game in hand of secondplaced Peterborough.
Just as at Doncaster on Saturday when they led until injury-time, this will be seen as another missed opportunity for the Wearsiders.
It heaps the pressure on them to take maximum points from their back-to-back home games against third-bottom Burton Albion on Tuesday and basement side Wigan Athletic next weekend.
Phil Parkinson made one change to the side which drew at Doncaster, Lynden Gooch ruled out with an ankle injury and replaced by Danny Graham.
In the first half it was Sunderland who looked the more dangerous side.
Denver Hume had sent a shot just wide inside the first five minutes but his effort minutes later brought a good save out of former Middlesbrough keeper Jayson Leutwiler.
The ball was played into the lefthand channel for Wyke to chase and he fed it into the path of Hume on the edge of the box, the wingback taking a touch before hitting a shot which Leutwiler did well to block.
Wyke was a handful throughout the first half and his hold-up play helped Sunderland get up the pitch, while Grant Leadbitter ran the midfield and Bailey Wright won every header in defence.
Graham and Josh Scowen both saw shots blocked on the edge of the area before the half-hour and Wyke also saw a header deflected just wide.
Fleetwood made a change at halftime with Ched Evans replacing Josh Morris - and it almost paid off within two minutes of the restart.
Camps rattled the crossbar with a long-range shot, Paddy Madden was first to the rebound and headed across the face of goal where it was met by Evans inside the six-yard box - only for Matthews to make an excellent save and hold on to the ball.
Sunderland came back strongly and on 59 minutes they took the lead as Fleetwood made a mess of a long ball forward from Tom Flanagan and
Wyke beat onrushing goalkeeper Leutwiler to the ball to plant a brave header over him and into the empty net.
After falling behind, Fleetwood had to chase the game and Madden and Sam Finley both saw shots blocked.
Fleetwood finally made their pressure tell on 73 minutes when a goalmouth scramble ended with Connolly firing into the bottom right-hand corner.
Both sides tried to find a winner in the final quarter-hour but neither could carve out a clear-cut chance.