Sunderland started the decade with a draw in a tale of two penalties as Chris Maguire’s late goal sealed a point for the Black Cats.
The hosts took the lead through a Ched Evans penalty early in the first half and looked as if they were going for all three points until Sunderland had a penalty of their own which was tucked away by Chris Maguire.
Sunderland quickly returned to away action looking to gain back to back away victories for the first time this season.
Phil Parkinson made no changes from the starting 11 which beat Doncaster in search of another win - there was one change to the bench as Tom Flanagan replaced Laurens De Bock.
Fleetwood could have taken the lead within the first two minutes of the game as Paddy Madden was released through on goal as he tried to lob Jon McLaughlin but missed the target.
The hosts had another good chance through Ched Evans’ header which was cleared off the line from George Dobson; moments later Josh Morris went down in a heap after a Charlie Wyke coming together and the referee gave a penalty. It was an incredibly soft call with both players simply going up for a header.
Evans stepped up and sent McLaughlin the wrong way – the Sunderland fans right behind the goal were livid and immediately cries of ‘you’re not fit to referee’ hailed from the sold-out away section.
Sunderland almost responded perfectly – the ball was played out to Denver Hume on the left-hand side and he cut it back to Lynden Gooch who couldn’t direct his effort goalwards.
Wyke had Sunderland’s first effort on target as the big striker cut inside, but his shot was well saved by Alex Cairns who tipped it over the crossbar.
Chris Maguire should have scored the equaliser as Gooch played a lovely through ball which sent the Scot through on goal; only to be denied by a wonder save from Cairns who somehow tipped it round the post – a huge chance missed.
Five minutes before the break, Parkinson would have been aggrieved that his side were losing after conceding a soft penalty and creating some great chances of their own.
It wasn’t the best 45 minutes of football you’ll ever see with the hosts content to sit on their 1-0 lead. Despite some good chances, if the lads wanted to get back into this one, they needed to inject some more energy and pace.
Sunderland started the half the better and Maguire almost got luck from a cross/shot which Cairns tipped behind for a corner to the lads.
Three minutes into the half Wyke was inches away from levelling the scores – O’Nien whipped in a beautiful cross which was met by the striker who powered a header off the inside of the post.
Fleetwood had their first chance of the second period from a corner played out to the edge of the box which was met by Danny Andrew and on the volley, he forced McLaughlin into a smart stop.
From another corner routine, it was Andrews again who could have doubled the host’s lead – McLaughlin made a great save to deny the full-back from scoring a great goal.
Sunderland had started the second period much the better side and had dominated possession, but Fleetwood were proving to be a constant threat from set-pieces.
On the counter Sunderland missed another golden opportunity, Gooch did brilliantly down the left to beat his man and pulled it back to O’Nien who from six yards out blazed it over.
If Sunderland were to lose this one, they could only blame themselves with so many guilt-edged chances missed.
Fleetwood were time and time again a threat from corners - it was Wes Burns’ time to have a go, but his looping header needed tipping over the bar from McLaughlin.
Marc McNulty was inches away from finally making a big impact from the bench and almost levelled the score line as his curling effort whistled past the post while Cairn’s stood and watched.
With less than ten minutes to play Madden should have killed the game off for the home side, but his effort 15 yards out flew clean over the bar.
With five minutes remaining Sunderland were handed the break they had craved; Duncan Watmore was brought down inside by Kyle Dempsey leaving the ref with no other option. Chris Maguire’s effort was almost saved by Cairn’s, but it had just enough power to go into the top left corner.
Sunderland thought they should have been awarded another penalty deep into injury time as O’Nien looked to have been brought down in the box, but the referee and his assistant remained unmoved.
Full Time: Fleetwood 1-1 Sunderland
ALS Man of the Match: Chris Maguire