OXFORD United completed an excellent week by taking a share of the spoils from an eventful clash at the Stadium of Light.

But the visitors will feel a pang of frustration they are not celebrating a third win in eight days, having played against ten men for more than 70 minutes.

Max Power received a straight red card for a lunge on Marcus Browne, three minutes after Ricky Holmes had opened the scoring with a superb free-kick.

But they could not find the comfort of a second goal and instead Sunderland, roared on by more than 30,000 supporters, drew level through Charlie Wyke seven minutes after coming on as a half-time substitute.

Both sides felt they could go on and win the game in the closing stages, with Wyke almost netting an own goal in stoppage-time.

A goalline clearance denied United all three points, but the performance should give them plenty of confidence.

Holmes was among six changes to the starting XI from the midweek Carabao Cup victory at Newport County.

James Henry was another with fresh legs and he gave the first hint that United were in the mood by breaking into space in the third minute and shooting wide.

Shandon Baptiste kept his place in the side after scoring at Newport and in only his second league start for the U’s he was completely fearless.

The first two times he got the ball the midfielder’s first thought was to attack, drawing fouls. From the latter Marcus Browne delivered dangerously, but no-one in yellow had gambled.

United’s game plan was focused on quietening the crowd down, but they quickly found themselves running the show.

Purposeful in possession and hungry out of it, they preyed on a Sunderland side who wanted too much time on the ball.

Goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin was forced into a smart save by Holmes’s 20-yard curler, while from the resulting corner Josh Ruffels’s goal-bound header was blocked by Jamie Mackie.

It all meant that when the opening goal arrived in the 16th minute, it was no surprise that United got it.

Another surge from Baptiste won a free-kick two yards outside the penalty area, from where Holmes placed a delicate free-kick over the wall and into the corner of the net.

Sunderland were a goal down – and three minutes later they were quickly also a man down.

A sharp turn saw Browne poised to break free into the Black Cats’ half, but he was hacked down cynically by Power. It looked a certain booking, but referee Mark Heywood quickly produced a red card.

The midfielder had to be restrained on his way down the tunnel after reacting to something which had been said from the United bench and when the hubbub died down assistant head coach Shaun Derry was sent to the stands.

Sunderland went on to enjoy their best spell of the half as the visitors drew breath, but Alim Ozturk’s header over the crossbar was their only effort on Jonathan Mitchell’s goal before the break.

United finished the half strongly and may have been frustrated their lead was not extended.

McLaughlin was relieved to pounce on a loose ball from a Browne corner, one of seven the visitors forced before the break.

The interval saw Sunderland withdraw Maguire, who had looked like a red card waiting to happen, replacing him with Wyke.

Within seven minutes the debutant had hauled his side level, flicking Lynden Gooch’s shot in off the far post.

It was a blow to United, who had started the second half on top.

Roared on by the home fans, Jack Ross’s side pushed for another goal. Gooch rifled wide from range, while Josh Maja should have done better than shooting wide from Bryan Oviedo’s cross midway through the half.

But the growing ambitions of the ten men left United space.

They had the ball in the net 16 minutes from time when Jamie Mackie turned in when McLaughlin spilled Cameron Brannagan’s swerving strike, but the offside flag spared the goalkeeper’s blushes.

The game was on a knife-edge, but as the game entered the latter stages both sides showed signs of tiredness.

United came closest to a winner at the death when a Browne corner was deflected goalwards by Wyke, only for a defender to clear.

Sunderland (4-2-3-1): McLaughlin, Love (James 79), Ozturk, Baldwin, Oviedo, Cattermole, Power, Gooch, Maguire (Wyke HT), Honeyman, Maja (McGeouch 72).

Unused subs: Ruiter, Flanagan, O’Nien, Robson.

Booked: Maguire, Gooch, Oviedo, Love.

Sent off: Power.

Oxford Utd (4-2-3-1): Mitchell, Norman, Nelson, Mousinho, Ruffels, Brannagan, Baptiste, Holmes (Whyte 64), Henry, Browne, Mackie (Obika 84).

Unused subs: Shearer, McMahon, Dickie, Garbutt, Smith.

Booked: Brannagan, Ruffels, Baptiste.

Referee: Mark Heywood.

Attendance: 32,193 (1,280 visitors).