Cannaries grab valuable point at the Stadium of Light.
Struggling Norwich City drew 1-1 at Sunderland in the Premier League on Sunday despite having keeper Mark Bunn sent off in the first half.
Bunn was sent off for handling the ball outside his penalty area moments after his side had taken the lead through Wes Hoolahan.
Further Norwich generosity enabled Craig Gardner to equalise from the penalty spot in the 40th minute after a handball by Sebastien Bassong, but the visitors held firm in the second half.
Sunderland have now gone seven games without victory in the Premier League and although they sit seven points above the relegation zone, third-bottom Wigan Athletic have two games in hand on them.
Martin O’Neill’s men also face a daunting run of fixtures, with a home game against Manchester United followed by trips to Chelsea and Newcastle United.
Norwich’s recent form has been mixed but they have lost just once in seven games and the point they picked up at the Stadium of Light was enough to lift them three places to 11th.
Sunderland began the game with intent but it was the visitors who struck first in the 26th minute.
Robert Snodgrass’s right-wing corner found Kei Kamara at the back post and the on-loan Sporting Kansas City striker headed the ball on for Hoolahan to nod in from right on the line.
The goal felt like a sucker-punch but the pendulum immediately swung in the hosts’ favour when Bunn was sent off after the ball hit his upper arm as he raced outside his area.
Bunn furiously threw his gloves to the floor as he stormed off the pitch, with back-up goalkeeper Lee Camp replacing goal-scorer Hoolahan to make his Premier League debut.
From the ensuing free-kick, Gardner thrashed a shot a fraction wide of the left-hand post, but Sunderland did not have long to wait for an equaliser.
Norwich centre-back Bassong was penalised after the ball brushed his arm in the penalty area and from the resulting spot-kick, Gardner planted a crisp strike in the top-left corner.
Danny Graham should have put the home side in front three minutes before half-time but after Camp parried Sebastian Larsson’s pile-driver, the former Swansea City man could only bobble the rebound wide.
Camp had to tip a shot from Gardner over the bar shortly before the hour but Sunderland had a lucky escape in the 69th minute when referee Chris Foy awarded Norwich a free-kick for a handball by Danny Rose, despite the offence occurring inside the box.
Norwich substitute Grant Holt then spurned a superb chance when he over-ran the ball after a long pass sent him clean through.
Sunderland’s best opportunity fell to Stephane Sessegnon in the 87th minute, but he could only hook the ball wide from 12 yards.