Ten man Sunderland struck late on to earn a hard fought point against a stubborn Burnley side in the Premier League Cup at Eppleton Colliery Welfare.
The Black Cats dominated proceedings throughout but were reduced to 10 on 19 minutes as George Brady was caught off guard when Khius Metz broke clear.
Burnley rarely threatened but edged ahead before the midway interval when Jimmy Dunn struck from a corner.
From there the visitors produced a defensive masterclass as they frustrated the hosts and limited them to few goalscoring chances.
Sunderland’s persistence did pay off though as they earned a point when George Honeyman rammed the ball home seven minutes from time after he combine with Andrew Nelson.
Andy Welsh stuck with the same back five that won at Southampton last time out, however made a host of changes at the other end of the field as Carl Lawson, Nelson and Luke Molyneux started.
Joel Asoro, Elliot Embleton and Josh Maja were left out following their involvement in the FA Youth Cup victory over Burton Albion on Thursday evening.
With a bitterly cold breeze swirling around the Eppleton Colliery Welfare stand, fans watching on where in dire need of something to cheer about.
However, following the Black Cats’ drab start maybe a coffee or cup of tea may have been a better choice as Welsh’s were left frustrated for most of the opening period.
Chances were few and far between, despite Nelson’s best efforts up top, with the Black Cats devoid of ideas as to how to unlock the Claret’s resolute and deep-lying backline.
With 19 minutes played, Sunderland’s composed start turned to dust as Brady was dismissed for pulling back Metz as he broke through.
Metz did manage to get his shot off but the referee called play back and gave the Black Cats’ defender his marching orders.
Sunderland, were rocked.
The Black Cats though were their own worst enemy in the first period as their impatience to force play saw the Claret’s happy to watch on.
And with 43 minutes on the clock, Burnley got their noses in front through Dunn who slotted home from seven yards as Sunderland failed to clear their lines from a corner.
The second 45 continued in a similar fashion with Welsh’s side seeing plenty of the ball but ultimately lacking in the final third – an area of the field they are usually so accomplished in.
Dan Casey came on for Tom Beadling minutes before the hour mark as Sunderland shuffled their pack, before further neat play saw strong appeals for a penalty waved away.
Burnley were caught flat footed from a corner but the referee dismissed strong claims for a spot kick as Lawson went tumbling.
Undeterred by that the Black Cats came again, Robson and Lawson combine on the edge of the box with a quick one-two but Robson’s effort lacked conviction.
Burnley continued to frustrate the hosts but with time running out, Sunderland’s persistence finally paid off as Honeyman linked up with Nelson and then rammed the ball home on the turn.
Refusing to settle for a point, the Beekeeper once again combine with Nelson but was denied by an outrageous save from Burnley’s stopper six-yards out.
While it may have not been what the Black Cats wanted at kick-off, you would have to say it was definitely a point gained.
Sunderland: Talbot, J Robson, T Robson, Ledger, Brady, Beadling (Casey 58), Lawson (Pybus, 82), E Robson, Nelson, Molyneux (Blinco, 83), Honeyman
Unused subs: Pain, Wright
Burnley: Mitchell, Clark, Olomewewe, Dunn, Birch, Bayode, Howarth (Koiki 87), Jackson, O’Neill, Chakawana (Jumean, 75), Metz (McNeill, 30)
Unused subs: King, Yao