Dame N’Doye’s 15th-minute opener handed the Tigers the advantage for the majority of the game on Humberside, but Jack Rodwell swooped with just a quarter of an hour remaining to snatch a valuable point for the Wearsiders.
The game erupted ten minutes before half time when managers Bruce and Poyet had an altercation on the touchline in the wake of Rodwell being booked for simulation.
Poyet was sent to the stands by referee Mike Dean for the remainder of the game, but the Uruguayan had an impact from a higher vantage point as his substitutions altered the course of game.
Patrick van Aanholt set up Rodwell for the leveller, and though the pair almost combined for a winner in the closing stages, each side in the end looked content to avoid defeat.
Sunderland started with Wes Brown and John O’Shea at the heart of defence after the pair avoided suspension following their infamous red card incident at Old Trafford on Saturday.
The Black Cats tried to harass their hosts in the opening exchanges but the Tigers, through their use of bright wing-back Andrew Robertson, snatched the initiative before going in front.
Having picked up a yellow card for a challenge on Ahmed Elmohamady, Brown was helpless seconds later as Tom Huddlestone drilled a low free kick into the area for N’Doye to nonchalantly flick the ball past Costel Pantilimon for his third goal in three games.
Hull pressed for an immediate second but Rodwell was on hand with a last-ditch block on the line to deny David Meyler’s fiercely struck volley.
Having prevented a second Hull goal at one end, Rodwell sparked the game’s flashpoint at the other end as he theatrically went to ground in the area following minimal contact from Alex Bruce.
The midfielder was booked for simulation, much to the annoyance of Poyet, who appeared to kick out at a water container on the touchline.
Poyet was sent to the stands but first made his way towards Bruce and tried to shake his counterpart’s hand.
Bruce then appeared to charge towards the Uruguayan and had to be physically restrained by assistant referee Stuart Burt.
The incident appeared to affect the remainder of the half as it failed to rekindle the intensity seen beforehand.
Sunderland’s front two, Jermain Defoe and Danny Graham, were isolated for the Black Cats before Poyet’s change of tactics midway through the second half swung the game in the visitors’ favour.
Substitues Connor Wickham and Van Aanholt provided width and support in attack and just minutes after the pair were brought on, Sunderland were level.
Van Aanholt fashioned a yard and accelerated past Elmohamady before floating the ball to the unmarked Rodwell to nod in from a yard out.
Rodwell appeared to head to the ball onto his arm before it nestle in the goal, but the goal was allowed to stand.
The pair combined again in the closing stages for what would have been the winner but Rodwell couldn’t keep his volley down as Sunderland recorded their 14th draw from 28 games this season.
The result sees both sides remain 15th and 16th respectively, with just one point separating each side.
Tony Cottee’s verdict
Defoe played the ball to Rodwell, Rodwell went down and there weren’t too many appeals. Rodwell got a yellow card for diving. Gus Poyet was incensed and it appears he kicked over the water bucket. At which point, Mike Dean comes over and sends Poyet to the stands.
Poyet then goes over to Steve Bruce to shake his hand, Bruce doesn’t go to shake his hands and Poyet then sarcastically applauds Steve Bruce. At which point Brucey totally lost it and the linesman did very well.
Hull City: McGregor (7), Dawson (8), Bruce (6), McShane (6), Elmohamady (7), Livermore (6), Huddlestone (7), Meyler (6), Robertson (9), N’Doye (8), Jelavic (7).
Used subs: Hernandez (5).
Sunderland: Pantilimon (7), Vergini (5), O’Shea (7), Brown (6), Reveillere (5), Cattermole (5), Larsson (6), Bridcutt (6), Rodwell (7), Defoe (6), Graham (6).
Used subs: Van Aanholt (7), Wickham (6), Alvarez (5).
Man of the match: Andrew Robertson.
See the all goals from Tuesday’s s games on Sky Sports News HQ from midnight.