Jack Colback's 95th-minute equaliser piled more misery on Cardiff City as Sunderland came from behind to claim a 2-2 draw on Saturday.
The Welsh side looked to be in complete control in their first game following the sacking of boss Malky Mackay by controversial club owner Vincent Tan, after Jordon Mutch had opened the scoring with a deflected strike after just six minutes.
Three points appeared to be a formality when former Sunderland man Fraizer Campbell struck in the early stages of the second half.
But Sunderland refused to lie down, and they gave themselves hope when Steven Fletcher pulled a goal back with seven minutes left to set up a frantic finish.
There was still time for even more late drama and the comeback was completed with the last meaningful kick of the game when Colback found the net with a deflected effort to spark jubilant scenes in the away end and leave the Premier League's bottom side just two points adrift of safety.
There was worrying news for Sunderland, though, after reports that Fabio Borini had been taken to hospital after collapsing at half-time.
Gary Medel was restored to the Cardiff midfield as one of three changes made by interim coaches David Kerslake and Joe McBride, while Sunderland boss Poyet - without Adam Johnson through illness - selected Jozy Altidore to lead the line in place of Fletcher.
Cardiff made a bright start and they were denied a penalty in the first minute as referee Chris Foy ruled that Mutch had dived after a challenge with Valentin Roberge.
The 22-year-old was instead booked for simulation, and Mutch was again involved in the game's first real chance shortly afterwards, the midfielder meeting Craig Noone's cross with a powerful header that flew over the crossbar.
He was finally rewarded for his initiative after six minutes when he capitalised on ponderous defending from the visitors to burst forward and fire a shot that deflected off Modibo Diakite and into the bottom corner.
Sunderland struggled to gain a foothold in the contest and owed much to their goalkeeper, Vito Mannone, who produced an excellent fingertip save to keep out Kim Bo-Kyung's fierce long-range drive.
The chances continued to flow for the hosts as Steven Caulker, Peter Whittingham and Campbell all went close to adding to their lead.
However, it was Sunderland who perhaps should have scored the game's second goal just after the half-hour mark when Altidore somehow shot wide with the goal at his mercy after David Marshall had failed to deal with an effort from Ki Sung-Yueng.
Sunderland brought Fletcher on in place of Borini at the break - the Liverpool loanee apparently suffering an illness - and their task was made even harder 12 minutes into the second period when Campbell converted Mutch's pull back.
Lee Cattermole went close to finding a reply soon after but then Fletcher frayed the home nerves as he turned home an Emanuele Giaccherini cross seven minutes from time.
That set up a late Sunderland onslaught, with Fletcher and Roberge both going close, but it was Colback who proved to be the hero in the fifth minute of injury time as his effort from the edge of the box took a wicked deflection past a despairing Marshall.
|Mourinho unhappy with Smalling, Jones but insists defenders have Manchester United future|
|Pachuca 1 Tigres UANL 0 (2-1 agg): Alonso´s men win Champions League title|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Brawl erupts after Palmeiras beat Penarol|
|Madrid star Isco: This could be the best form of my career|
|Mascherano scores first Barcelona goal... in his 319th appearance|
|James: Five cup finals in LaLiga for Real Madrid|
|Zidane hails phenomenal Isco as Madrid stay level with Barca|
|Beating Bayern like this is ´madness´ - Tuchel|
|Moyes: Sunderland deserved something against Middlesbrough|
|Battle-scarred Arsenal star Sanchez takes to social media following last-gasp win|
|Sakho injury could bring end to Palace loan spell - Allardyce|
|Campbell expects extra ´spice´ in crucial north London derby|
|The challenge is to keep going - Pochettino delighted as Spurs hunt Chelsea|
|The target is clear - Wenger confident of Arsenal´s top four chances|
|If my grandmother had wheels, she´d be a bicycle - Luis Enrique won´t lean on Malaga in title race|
|Ancelotti feels Bayern only have themselves to blame for Dortmund defeat|
|Guardiola: If Man City miss out on Champions League we will adapt|
|He can play in 10 positions – Guardiola marvels over United star Pogba|
|Kane´s focus on Tottenham not Chelsea in title run-in|
|Deportivo La Coruna 2 Real Madrid 6: Six appeal gets Zidane´s men back on track|
|Chelsea continue FA Youth Cup dominance by thumping City|
|Paris Saint-Germain 5 Monaco 0: Emery´s men thrash youthful visitors|
|Alcacer honoured to play alongside ´unique´ Messi|
|Crystal Palace 0 Tottenham 1: Eriksen ensures Spurs remain in title hunt|
|Arsenal 1 Leicester City 0: Huth own goal keeps Arsenal in top four race|
|Bayern Munich 2 Borussia Dortmund 3: Dembele fires BVB into DFB-Pokal final|
|Middlesbrough 1 Sunderland 0: De Roon keeps faint survival hopes alive|
|Barcelona 7 Osasuna 1: Messi at the double to pile pressure on Madrid|
|Bauza hits out at AFA leadership: They know nothing about football|
|Infantino confirms use of VAR at 2018 World Cup|
|Van der Vaart tips Alli to become ´true great´|
|Ibrahimovic will fight to save career - Mourinho|
|Chelsea visited by HMRC officers as part of fraud investigation|
|Wenger admits Mbappe already out of Arsenal´s financial reach|
|AFC Champions League Review: Urawa batter Wanderers to reach last 16|
|Kongolo signs Feyenoord renewal|
|Xavi denies claiming Guardiola will move for Alli|
|Mourinho: Finishing above Guardiola means nothing|
|Silva doubtful for City but Aguero ready to face United in Manchester derby|
|Pogba ruled out of Manchester derby|
|Taylor gets two-game ban for Coleman challenge|
|Betting ban effectively forces me into retirement - Barton|
|Gignac: I´d die before I signed for PSG|
|Barton banned for 18 months over betting breaches|
|Messi only plays well for Barcelona - Romario|
|Bruno ordered to return to prison|
|David Moyes charged by FA over reporter ´slap´ comment|
|West Ham involved in HMRC probe into suspected tax fraud in football|
|Ronaldo out of Real Madrid clash with Deportivo|
|Champions League final in Monaco sights, says Glik|
|Vardy made right call in snubbing Arsenal - Shakespeare|
|James wants Real Madrid stay, says wife|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Iquique beat Zamora in seven-goal thriller|
|Pochettino hits back at ´enemy´ Xavi over Alli speculation|
|Mourinho: City favourites for top four, not United|
|Sanchez won´t be sold to Premier League rival, insists Arsenal boss Wenger|
|Simeone: Atletico have four finals after Villarreal loss|
|Goals are his life - Chelsea boss Conte delighted to see Costa back on target|
|Puel praises former pupil Hazard after Chelsea defeat|
|Carrasco suffers collarbone injury in Villarreal defeat|
|I have a squad of great men - Conte lauds Chelsea toughness in Southampton win|
|A massive step - Cahill, Hazard confident on Chelsea´s title charge|
|Borussia Monchengladbach 1 Eintracht Frankfurt 1 (aet, 6-7 pens): Hradecky and Hrgota heroes|
|Atletico Madrid 0 Villarreal 1: Late Soriano strike downs Simeone´s side|
|Wolves 0 Huddersfield Town 1: Brown seals play-off spot for Terriers|
|Angers 2 Guingamp 0: Letellier saves hosts from penalty injustice|
|Niasse red card overturned after Hull City appeal|
|Chelsea 4 Southampton 2: Hazard, Cahill and Costa move Conte´s men a step closer|
|Ramos receives one-match ban for Messi foul in El Clasico|
|AFC Champions League Review: Paulinho at the double in Guangzhou Evergrande rout|
|United need Griezmann - Silvestre backs proven goalscorer to emulate Rooney|
|Roma can achieve great things - Serie A club can join Europe´s elite, claims Monchi|
|Mourinho: Manchester derby not about me and Guardiola|
|Cavani extends PSG contract until 2020|
|Amsterdam ArenA to be renamed after Johan Cruyff|
|Surgery all that matters for Ibrahimovic - Mourinho realistic on United star´s future|
|Ibrahimovic should join me in MLS - Schweinsteiger|
|I cannot guarantee anything - Pochettino puts Alli future aside for Spurs title charge|
|Emery expecting full-strength Monaco for semi-final|
|Schweinsteiger has no regrets over Manchester United move|
|Sanchez a slow starter - Wenger|
|Zidane would not change Clasico approach|
|Sahin signs Dortmund contract extension|
|Luis Enrique wishes Barcelona had Madrid´s extra games|
|Ancelotti unhappy with Ribery performances|
|Rooney´s Manchester United future ´doesn´t look good´|
|Bale a doubt for Champions League semis with calf injury|
|Luis Enrique reiterates wish for Messi to end career at Barcelona|
|Tuchel relies on Reus to lead Dortmund past Bayern|
|Hazard not right for Chelsea captaincy|
|Pogba might regret leaving Juventus - Barzagli|
|Wenger in jovial mood over Arsenal future|
|Wenger dismisses Giroud to Marseille talk|
|Xavi expects Guardiola to make Alli move|
|Sanchez would be a good signing for Bayern – Matthaus|
|Hazard in no rush to sign Chelsea renewal amid ongoing Real Madrid links|
|Fernandez rules out Neymar exit, plays down Dybala talk|
|Herrera talks up Manchester derby importance|
|Maradona doubts Argentina World Cup qualification without Messi|
|Messi, Iniesta to renew deals soon – Fernandez|
|Benitez unsure over Newcastle future after promotion|
|Premier League win with Chelsea would be Conte´s greatest moment|
|Toure wants derby day tonic for faltering Manchester City|