Peter Reid's side, who stay on top of the First Division, table, had much the greater share of possession, and should have travelled north with a win to celebrate. "I'm disappointed not to get the three points," Reid said. "I thought we played some great stuff."
Norwich were seeking their fourth consecutive League win over the Wearsiders, but it was the visitors who opened with more purpose. In the third minute Niall Quinn chested down a fine long pass from Alex Rae and drove the ball into the roof of the net to give Sunderland the lead.
The eager Quinn and Danny Dichio, competing for the one place that will be available when Kevin Phillips recovers from his foot injury, were giving the Norwich defence plenty of problems, but against the run of play the home side silenced the noisy away fans with two goals in three minutes.
In the 20th minute Daryl Sutch whipped in a cross from the right and Iwan Roberts saw his volley pushed against a post by Thomas Sorensen, Sunderland's Danish goalkeeper. Darren Eadie tapped in the rebound with ease.
Then Eadie made the second goal, delivering a quality free-kick from the right flank with his left foot which Malky Mackay, the former Celtic defender, knocked in at the far post for his first goal in English football.
It took Sunderland just two minutes of the second half to draw level. Chris Makin swung in a cross from the right and Andy Marshall, under pressure from Quinn, could only punch the ball into his own net.
Little was subsequently seen of the home side's attack as Sunderland pressed in vain for a winner.
Norwich City (4-4-2): A Marshall; Sutch, Fleming, Mackay, Kenton (Fuglestad, 74); L Marshall, Grant, Brannan, Eadie (Forbes, 80); Bellamy, Roberts. Substitute not used: Coote.
Sunderland (4-4-2): Sorensen; Makin, Butler, Melville, Gray; Summerbee, Ball, Rae, Johnston; Dichio, Quinn. Substitutes not used: Craddock, Bridges, Smith.
Referee: S Baines (Chesterfield).