Simon Grayson praised his side's 'never say die attitude' and says Fleetwood's injury-time equaliser will have felt like a defeat for Sunderland.

The Black Cats were in a commanding position at Highbury Stadium through Ross Stewart's first-half header and then Aiden McGeady's penalty 15 minutes from time, but they blew their two-goal lead in the final ten minutes with Callum Morton pulling a goal back and then Ged Garner converting a 96th-minute penalty.

The draw extended Fleetwood's unbeaten run to four games and, while Sunderland have still lost only one of their first seven matches, the two dropped points in Lancashire allowed Wigan Athletic to depose them at the top of League One on goal difference.

READ MORE: Lee Johnson complains about 'bad refereeing' which cost Sunderland two points at Fleetwood

Ex-Sunderland boss Grayson, who spent four months in charge on Wearside in 2017, says the Black Cats are among the favourites to win promotion this season, which made his side's comeback all the better.

"We're in good form and they''re a team at the top of the division," said Grayson, who took over at Fleetwood in January.

"They've got some really talented players, one of the favourites for the division so we knew it was going to be a good game.

"They've got some talented players that ask questions of you, and we've got a never say die attitude.

"We were 2-1 down last week at Rotherham and we were down at half time again today, but we kept going until the very end.

"It’s even tougher when you go 2-0 down but we showed the spirit, decent quality, and it's a great point for us.

"If you don't have the desire and the spirit you probably don't get the point at the end of it, so we've got a real tight group.

"Those that were out there gave everything. They worked extremely hard, they caused problems, but we had to defend at times because Sunderland are going to ask you questions.

"With [Lynden] Gooch, Stewart, McGeady and [Elliot] Embleton, that is some attacking front four."

Garner kept his nerve to score the late penalty, and Grayson says the mood in the two dressing rooms will have been very different at full-time.

"He took it really well," he said of Garner's spot-kick.

"On Friday he took 20 penalties and went the other side every time. I never watch penalties, but it takes some bravery to take on and he didn't shy away from it.

"I think when you look back and you’re in the dressing room after the game, I'm sure ours will feel like a win and Sunderland's will feel like a defeat because when you concede in the last minute that's how it can be.

"We've got to draw even more confidence from what we've done, we've taken four points from two teams who are pushing to be in the Championship next season, so a massive well done to our players and we've got to keep on this run we're on at this moment in time and keep believing, keep playing with a purpose and keep doing the right things."

Both managers were unhappy with the goals they conceded, with Lee Johnson convinced that the Fleetwood penalty decision when Bailey Wright tugged Morton's shirt was a soft one, while Grayson felt both penalties were justified but claimed that Stewart was offside for the opener.

"We're disappointed with the first one because he [Stewart] was clearly offside when he headed it in," he said.

Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson tries to get to speak to the referee Neil Hair
Sunderland shipped in a stoppage time equaliser

"Their penalty was a penalty because Harrison Biggins has pulled him [Luke O'Nien] back, but then we got the same sort of decision at the end.

"The defender [Wright] has pulled Callum Morton's shirt, which is exactly what Harrison did to one of their players.

"Sunderland won't be too pleased at conceding in the last minute, but it's part and parcel of the game.

"We kept on going and there were a couple that were cleared off the line which left us wondering how that came about."