PHIL PARKINSON felt there was a sense of ‘poetic justice’ as Fleetwood Town’s time-wasting proved their undoing in a dramatic 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light.

Max Power struck in the sixth minute of stoppage time to cancel out Barrie McKay’s early opener and keep Sunderland within three points of the top of the League One table.

With McKay having opened the scoring in the opening five minutes, Fleetwood’s players spent much of the game taking as long as possible over set-pieces and goal-kicks, much to the frustration of the home support and the Sunderland coaching staff in the home dug-out.

However, referee Scott Oldham added six minutes of stoppage time, and the added period was just about up when Power drove home from inside the area.

“You always wonder whether the referee is going to be fair with the time he adds on,” said Parkinson, whose side have now lost just one of their last 13 games. “There was at least six minutes.

“I asked for ten, I’d probably have settled for eight. They (the Fleetwood bench) were going mad when he gave six, but I was a bit disappointed.

“Joking aside, if a team comes and does that, you’ve got to make sure that time is added on at the end. He did that.

“I was frustrated with what they were doing, but in football you do whatever it takes to win. That’s what they did. It’s a dog-eat-dog industry we’re in and you’ve got to do what it takes to win.

“Getting the goal intensified the way they set out to do things, but not allowing the frustration to get to us was key and I think in the main we kept moving the ball quickly and trying to do the right things.”

Parkinson admitted his side had started sloppily, with McKay forcing a smart save out of Jon McLaughlin before he claimed his fifth-minute opener.

However, the hosts improved as the first half wore on, with Chris Maguire firing against the crossbar, and continued to push in the second period despite Fleetwood defending resolutely.

They got their rewards in stoppage time, and while they missed out on the opportunity to move closer to the top two, with Coventry and Rotherham having played out a 1-1 draw at St Andrew’s, Power’s late leveller could yet prove a crucial moment in Sunderland’s season.

“We got there in the end,” said Parkinson. “It took a long time and I was disappointed with the start, I've got to be honest with you. I thought we were lackadaisical for the first ten minutes and gave a team who came with a clear game-plan the opportunity to implement that in terms of taking the sting out of the game, timewasting and getting behind the ball.

“It took us a while to get into our stride, but then we started stepping in with the ball, being a bit more progressive in our play. The second half was just about being patient again and trying to do the right things.

“We changed the shape to try and get back in it, and eventually we got a goal from our captain. You need your big players to step up when it matters most. 

“I’m delighted to get the point, although I'm disappointed with the start and we will have a good look at that in the next couple of days, and come out stronger against Coventry.”