Match ends, Sunderland 1, West Bromwich Albion 1.
Patrick van Aanholt came off the bench to score a late equaliser for Sunderland as they ended a run of three straight defeats - but remained in the Premier League relegation zone - with a draw against West Brom.
Nacer Chadli's third league goal of the season, against the run of play, looked set to inflict a sixth league defeat in seven games on David Moyes' side, who showed spirit to fight back.
Dutch substitute Van Aanholt, usually a left-back but playing higher up the pitch here, started and finished the leveller - his scuffed shot bouncing into the ground and looping beyond Ben Foster.
Defeat would have saddled Moyes' winless team with the record for the worst start to a season in Premier League history and although their prospects remain bleak, this match at least offered the manager hope for the rest of the season.
They were the better side in the first half and should have taken the lead, only for Jermain Defoe to uncharacteristically drag an effort wide from 12 yards.
The second half was often drab, with neither side particularly impressing, but Sunderland's players at least showed the character and desire Moyes has been demanding.
Moyes' players respond
Moyes blamed his players for their failure to hold on to a two-goal lead as they lost 3-2 at home to Crystal Palace last weekend, calling on them to assume responsibility.
Beforehand, the manager had admitted: "I don't know what I'm going to get from my team." On this occasion, his players were energised and more reliable defensively than in previous matches.
The return of the experienced John O'Shea, for his first league start of the season, added ballast to the back line and had Defoe been more lethal in front of goal it could have been a different tale.
Not only did the former Tottenham and England striker miss an easy first-half chance but he also had an effort blocked by Jonny Evans after the break.
Defoe's profligacy was an alien sight. But seeing Sunderland scrap for survival is not - they have avoided relegation narrowly in each of the last five seasons and despite the promise of this display, they will be battling at the bottom once again this time around.
But in Duncan Watmore at least the hosts have a player for the future, with the confidence to attack at pace. It was the 22-year-old winger's driving run and imaginative cut-back that set up Van Aanholt.
The scorer celebrated his strike with Ishtiaq Rehman, the club doctor working his notice after resigning in the wake of a review of staffing.
Is Pulis silencing his critics?
It was on 10 September, during a match at Bournemouth which ended in defeat, that West Brom fans started to turn on their manager Tony Pulis for the team's style of play.
A run of one win in 14 matches, combined with a disagreement between manager and board over the club's summer transfer activity, made the Welshman the bookmakers' favourite to become the first Premier League manager to lose his job.
But a tally of five points from three matches since then have given those predicting Pulis' demise food for thought, with West Brom now ninth.
Pulis said he was disappointed at his team's failure to hold out at the Stadium of Light, but if they are to see off teams more often, the Baggies need to be more creative.
In Nacer Chadli - a club-record £13m signing from Tottenham this summer - they do at least have a player with the ruthlessness to capitalise when chances are created in his current form.
The 27-year-old was set free by Matt Phillips and beat Jordan Pickford with a low strike inside the far post for his third goal in four league games, which is as many as he scored in his previous 30 league matches at Tottenham.
Man of the Match - Duncan Watmore
What the managers said
Sunderland boss David Moyes: "We didn't deserve to be 1-0 down. I'm still disappointed we didn't take the three points.
"Their energy and commitment was great. Undoubtedly we're lacking quality. We had no forward players to put on - Patrick van Aanholt came on and got us a goal.
"We defended much better today - that's a positive. The point gives us something to build on. We needed the three points though."
West Brom boss Tony Pulis: "We needed a second goal. We had 21 crosses and 18 shots.
"When you're 1-0 up, there's always a chance to make a mistake and they can score. Fair play to Sunderland - they kept at it. Their supporters were fantastic and got behind them.
"They had a lot of possession - but we were happy to let them play backwards and square. We had good runners, but just lacked quality in the final third.
"We're desperately disappointed not to have won. We're not doing too badly. It's progress. Although it's slow, it's progress."
The stats you need to know
- Nacer Chadli has been involved in five of West Brom's last six Premier League goals (three goals, two assists).
- This was David Moyes' 468th Premier League game as a manager - the fourth highest total of any manager in the competition.
- The Black Cats have failed to win any of their opening seven Premier League games in three of the last four seasons.
- All six of Sunderland's Premier League goals this season have been scored by either Jermain Defoe (four) or Patrick van Aanholt (two).
- Four of the last five Premier League meetings between these sides have ended in a draw (one win for West Brom) - just three of the previous 14 games between them in the competition had ended level.
The international break gives Sunderland time to reassess before they travel to fellow strugglers Stoke on 15 October. West Brom host Tottenham on the same day.
- 27KirchhoffBooked at 36minsSubstituted forvan Aanholtat 56'minutes
- 19McNairSubstituted forRodwellat 72'minutes
- 10KhazriSubstituted forGoochat 90'minutes
- 3van Aanholt
- 12Simões Domingues
- 6EvansBooked at 90mins
- 5YacobBooked at 27mins
- 14McCleanBooked at 69minsSubstituted forGardnerat 73'minutes
- 22ChadliSubstituted forMorrisonat 90+1'minutes
- 9RondónSubstituted forRobson-Kanuat 90+4'minutes
- Stuart Attwell
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Sunderland 1, West Bromwich Albion 1.
Attempt missed. Jermain Defoe (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Patrick van Aanholt from a direct free kick.
Jonny Evans (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card.
Duncan Watmore (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Jonny Evans (West Bromwich Albion).
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Jason Denayer (Sunderland) because of an injury.
Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Hal Robson-Kanu replaces Salomón Rondón.
Foul by Lynden Gooch (Sunderland).
James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. James Morrison replaces Nacer Chadli.
Substitution, Sunderland. Lynden Gooch replaces Wahbi Khazri.
Attempt missed. Salomón Rondón (West Bromwich Albion) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Matt Phillips with a cross.
Attempt saved. Wahbi Khazri (Sunderland) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jermain Defoe.
Attempt missed. Salomón Rondón (West Bromwich Albion) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Nyom with a cross.
Attempt missed. Matt Phillips (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Nacer Chadli.
Goal! Sunderland 1, West Bromwich Albion 1. Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Duncan Watmore.
Jack Rodwell (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Gareth McAuley (West Bromwich Albion).