Goals from Charlie Wyke and Bailey Wright had put the Black Cats ahead but two goals from Matty Lund cancelled them out and meant it ended all square.
Story of the game
It was a positive start from Sunderland, only taking fifteen minutes to hit the front. Good play on the wing from Lyndon Gooch, twisting and turning the defender, putting over a good cross onto the head of Charlie Wyke who in his form wasn't going to miss.
The lead only lasted ten minutes. Alex Newby managed to work a yard on the wing and put in a great ball which Matty Lund headed low into the corner. It was hurrendous piece of defending from Sunderland and not their last of the game, leaving Lund unmarked in the centre of their box.
Sunderland regained their lead a free kick from the edge of box was cleared easily but only to Gooch who kept it alive whipping the ball towards goal. after a couple of deflections Bailey Wright was able to tap in to open his account for Sunderland.
However it was Lund again who dragged Rochdale back into the game. Newby again found a yard crossing for Oliver Rathbone who was able to take the ball down and tee up Lund to fire past Lee Burge in the Sunderland goal. How Rathbone was allowed to take it down in the penalty area will infuriate Phil Parkinson.
Going into half time Phil Parkinson will have been furious with his side. He had made four changes including starting George Dobson over Grant Leadbitter. Dobson and Max Power have been criticised as a pair for their lack of speed on the ball and it had showed so far.
Defensively the of Saturday were laid bare again, they had given Lund too much respect and he had took advantage.
Both Parkinson and Rochdale boss Brian Barry-Murphy must have gotten into their defenders as the second half was far more pedestrian.
Sunderland struggled to get the ball forward, not testing Rochdale keeper Gavin Bazunu till the 80th minute. Charlie Wyke with a header low into the corner which the dale keeper somehow got a hand to before Denver Hume's follow up was deflected for a corner.
Having rediscovered how to create a chance Sunderland gained a second wind and nearly had the lead in the 88th minute. Max Power picked the ball on the edge of the box and clattered a shot against the underside of the crossbar and Danny Graham was unable to get enough power on his header from the rebound and Bazunu plucked it out of the air.
That summed up a frustrating night for Sunderland who fell further behind the leading pack out of the playoff places.
Man of the Match: Matty Lund
In an exciting contest which had very little quality picking a man of the match was easy. While the goals themselves were pretty routine he had to be there to pounce, albeit he was aided by woeful defending. He is the instinctive type of forward Sunderland have lacked and he showed them why tonight.
The fragility is back
Up until Saturday there was an air of optimism around Sunderland, they had found out how to defend and they had a striker scoring goals. Fast forward a mere four days and the wind is well and truely out of their sails. Sunderland have been pedestrian all season and got away with it, but tonight in a winnable game the flaws were exposed and the atmosphere is on it's way back.
Lund will be key to Rochdale
There were few moments of quality, but two of them came from Lund. His goals should keep Rochdale in the league and he might be the next striker to move up the league. Many would argue that Sunderland would certainly take him.