Southampton 1 Sunderland AFC 1: Late heartbreak on the south coast costs Cats first win
A mistake from the otherwise excellent Jordan Pickford meant Sunderland had to settle for a point against Southampton at St Mary's Stadium.
Jermain Defoe had given Sunderland the lead 10 minutes from the end from the penalty spot but the Black Cats couldn't hold on.
Their lead lasted less than five minutes as sub Jay Rodriguez saw his effort from 25-yards squirm under the body of Pickford.
The England Under-21 international had been excellent up to that point too, making several good saves to keep Sunderland in the game.
In the end David Moyes' side had to settle for their first point of the season.
Everton-target Lamine Kone returned to the starting line-up after recovering from a back injury that had kept him out of the last two games.
Moyes has been adamant he will be staying on Wearside this summer and it now looks increasingly likely that will be the case.
He partnered Papy Djilobodji at the heart of Sunderland's defence, with Javier Manquillo making his debut at right-back.
Steven Pienaar and Fabio Borini recovered from knee and toe injuries, respectively, while Jeremain Lens was back on the bench after a foot injury.
Jordan Pickford, in for Vito Mannone who faces three-months out with elbow ligament damage, was wiped out by Charlie Austin in the opening few minutes.
It was a lively start, with Pickford twice called upon to deny Austin, first diving at his feet six-yards from goal before producing a flying save to palm away an Austin toe-punt 10 minutes in.
In between, Dusan Tadic saw his fine effort sail just over the top left-hand corner after another promising Saints attack.
It was a breathless opening 15 minutes on a balmy day on the south coast. Sunderland weathered the early storm, with Pickford by far the busier of the two goalkeepers.
Twenty five minutes in and Sunderland should have taken the lead through Kone.
A Patrick van Aanholt corner - the best one produced so far this season - found Kone inside the area but the ball just didn't fall to him.
It was cleared to the Dutchman, who whipped in a pinpoint cross but Kone nodded his free header wide.
Fabio Borini was pushed to the floor in the same passage of play but referee Lee Mason waved it away.
Moyes' side showed far more attacking intent as the half wore on, with debutant Manquillo providing width down the right-hand flank.
Jack Rodwell headed a Januzaj free-kick wide 36 minutes in, the midfielder arched his neck to connect but his effort sailed wide.
Two minutes later, Pickford was forced into another save; Cedric with a low effort, from the edge of the area comfortably saved by the England Under-21 international.
Steven Pienaar was again dictating play for Sunderland, with Borini and Manquillo willing runners.
Half-time: Southampton 0 Sunderland 0
Manquillo, who impressed on his full debut since arriving on a season-long loan from Atletico Madrid, was hacked down by Steven Davis moments into the second half.
The Saints midfielder booked.
Borini conceded a needless free-kick five minutes into the half, barging Redmond off the ball but it came to nothing.
Up the other end, from a van Aanholt free-kick, Djilobodji's acrobatic attempt flew wide of the post, with offside flag having already gone up.
Pickford was again called upon to save at the feet of Austin 54 minutes in but again the offside flag had been raised.
The linesmen had their work cut out on the south coast, with Austin again flagged offside as he bore down on goal.
The second half was panning out the same way as the first 45 minutes, with Southampton dominating the opening 15 minutes but Sunderland held firm.
Sunderland's first attempt on target came from a tame Borini free-kick just past the hour mark.
The Italian forward seemed to grimace as he took it and was replaced by Duncan Watmore moments later, with Jeremain Lens on for Pienaar shortly afterwards.
Pickford was then called upon again to deny sub Shane Long from giving Southampton the lead 70 minutes in, the England Under-21 international getting a strong hand on his effort.
Redmond then chanced his arm from a similar distance, Pickford turning his effort from the edge of the area round the post.
Moyes made his third and final sub 76 minutes in, Donald Love replacing Lynden Gooch in central midfield.
Sunderland had been under pressure for much of the second half but took the lead twelve minutes from time.
Lens played in Defoe, who turned Saints skipper Jose Fonte, his trailing leg caught Defoe and referee Mason had no hesitation pointing to the spot - despite strong protests.
Defoe dispatched it high past Fraser Forster to give Sunderland the lead.
Sunderland couldn't hold onto their lead though, with the hosts hitting back after less than five minutes.
Sub Jay Rodriguez shot from 25-yards squirmed under the body of Pickford - who had been excellent in goal.
It was a poor mistake and he punched the floor in disgust as the ball nestled in the back of the net.
Matt Targett then whistled a free-kick inches wide of Pickford's right-hand post as they pressed for a winner.
The game ended all square.
Full-time: Southampton 1 Sunderland 1
Southampton (4-2-3-1): Forster, Cedric, Fonte (C), Van Dijk, Targett, Emile-Hojbjerg , (Ward-Prowse, 82), Davis, Tadic (Long, 67), Romeu, Redmond, Austin (Rodriguez, 74).
Subs Not Used: McCarthy, Yoshida, Clasie, Bertrand.
Booked: Redmond (28), Davis (47)
Goals: Rodriguez (85)
Sunderland AFC: Pickford, Manquillo, Djilobodji, Kone, van Aanholt, Rodwell, Pienaar (Lens, 67), Gooch (Love, 76), Borini (Watmore, 64), Januzaj, Defoe (C).
Subs Not Used: Stryjek, Khazri, McNair, Asoro.
Booked: Pienaar (65)
Goals: Defoe (80, penalty).
Referee: Lee Mason (Greater Manchester)