A controversial late goal from Jack Rodwell allowed Sunderland to snare a critical point from its relegation six-pointer against Hull City on Tuesday.
Rodwell headed a cross off his arm and into the goal in the 77th minute as the Black Cats defied Hull’s dominance to move four points clear of the relegation zone.
The Tigers stay a point ahead of Sunderland. Hull is in 15th place with 27 points.
Dame N’Doye’s January arrival continues to pay dividends in March, as the Senegalese striker scored again, his third goal in his last four matches — he’s played five since transferring from Russia — to give Hull a 15th minute lead.
[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]
The Tigers were the better team overall, dictating the pace and catching Sunderland on the counter almost any time the Black Cats threatened the Hull end.
N’Doye’s goal came off when he redirected Tom Huddlestone’s free kick past Costel Pantilimon in the 15th minute.
Sunderland played physical and fouled often, and should’ve conceded a penalty kick when John O’Shea shoved down his mark in the box on a corner kick.
Opposing boss Gus Poyet got into a row with Steve Bruce over a Rodwell dive in the box. Poyet was baiting Bruce, and the Hull manager had to be held back from Poyet, who was sent to the stands after kicking over a water bucket, one that belonged to his club.
[ RELATED: Premier League standings ]
As Sunderland resorted to yellow after yellow with their manager in the stands, Hull pushed forward. Pantilimon made a big save on Ahmed Elmohamady in the 73rd minute.
Then came Rodwell, who had a chance snuffed out by Allan McGregor earlier in the half. His header went home the second time, and would’ve gone in even if it hadn’t hit his arm.
Sunderland was playing without suspended Adam Johnson, who was arrested on suspicion of sex with a 15-year-old girl.
Hull City: McGregor, Dawson, Bruce, McShane, Elmohamady, Robertson, Huddlestone, Livermore, Meyler, Jelavic (Hernandez, 73′), N’Doye
Goal: N’Doye (15′)
Sunderland: Pantilimon, Reveilere, Vergini (van Aanholt, 73′), Brown, O’Shea, Cattermole (Alvarez, 62′), Bridcutt, Rodwell, Larsson, Defoe, Graham (Wickham, 77′)
Goal: Rodwell (77′)