TRANSFER window signing Kader Mangane made his first appearance in a Sunderland shirt last night but couldn’t mark his debut with a victory.
The Senegalese defender played the whole 90 minutes as Kevin Ball’s development squad went within 10 minutes of their first win in 2013 at the sixth time of asking.
But having taken a two-goal lead just before the hour, the Wearsiders were pegged back in the 68th minute and conceded the equaliser in the 81st.
Mangane was not at fault for either goal – Everton’s second a cracking effort from long-range – but the draw was hard-lines on a Sunderland side who – much like their first-team counterparts – created a host of chances on the night that they could not take.
The Black Cats had started the game positively and might have taken the lead just six minutes in when Mikael Mandron couldn’t direct his shot on target from a right-wing cross and Ryan Noble headed the follow-up wide.
The Black Cats passed the ball impressively but it was the story of the opening half hour that their finishing let them down – Mandron and Noble missing a further good chance each and Craig Lynch also failed to hit the target when he might have done better.
Everton matched Sunderland’s high tempo but they lacked any real penetration. And it took an opposition error on the quarter-hour when centre-half Scott Harrison needlessly handled just outside the Sunderland D – to give the visitors their first sight of goal.
Everton defender Luke Garbutt stepped up to hit a dipping shot that evaded the Sunderland wall but flashed a couple of yards wide of Ben Wilson’s right-hand post.
And from that point on Sunderland dominated again, before Mandron missed a great chance in the 28th minute – a blocked Alex Gorrin shot dropping to him 10 yards out directly in front of goal, only for the striker to drag his shot wide.
The 15 minutes that followed up to the interval saw little further created in the way of clear-cut chances with Everton coming into it more in the last few minutes without seriously threatening and the opening 45 minutes marked a missed opportunity for Kevin Ball’s men.
But they made sure there was no repetition in the second, with Mandron getting on the scoresheet just three minutes after the resumption.
It was a fine individual goal, the Frenchman working the ball through the Everton defence before leaning back on a volley from the edge of the area which found the top right-hand corner of Mason Springthorpe’s goal and lodged in the frame.
Sunderland might have grabbed an instant follow-up had Springthorpe not got to a long ball just before the on-rushing Noble.
Noble went even closer just before the hour when he seized on a pass from Craig Lynch, rounded the keeper and was just about to put the ball in when back-tracking Everton defender Tyias Browning did it for him in the six-yard box.
Everton sought to get back into the game within 60 seconds of the restart but striker Conor McAleny’s close-range effort was directed straight at Ben Wilson.
The striker kept at it and went close again in the 66th minute after seizing on to a great through ball but Wilson made a great block in a one-on-one only for the Everton man to finally get on the scoresheet in the 67th minute when he drove a low shot across Wilson from right to left and into the bottom corner of goal.
Sunderland responded to the goal by storming forward and Springthorpe made the save of the night in the 70th minute when he blocked a fierce volley from Gorrin on his line.
The Sunderland midfielder offered danger again from the resulting corner when he struck another fine volley which this time just cleared the crossbar.
In the 75th minute it was Jordan Laidler’s turn to go close, lifting his shot just over the goal from 12 yards.
But Everton threatened again in the 81st minute with Wilson making a brilliant block to deny McAleny a fizzer of a shot only for Francisco Junior to pick up the ball 25 yards and smack a curling shot which dipped and spun just under Wilson’s crossbar for the equaliser.
Sunderland had one last chance to pull the game out of the fire but Noble couldn’t convert an opportunist long ball – the striker heading the ball just over the bar from 10 yards.
Sunderland: Wilson, Ferguson, Marrs, Harrison, Mangane, Lynch, Gorrin, Laidler, Mitchell, Mandron, Noble. Subs: McNamee, Dixon, Joyce, Honeyman, Holland.
Everton: Springthorpe, Stones, Garbutt, Molyneux (sub Long 55), Browning, Pennington, Kennedy, Grant, Hope, McAleny, Junior. Subs: Griffiths, Long, Touray, Green, Jones.