TWO goal of the season contenders from Jordan Jones and Chris Maguire salvaged a point, but the quality of the strikes was out of keeping with Sunderland's overall performance as they drew with Crewe.

Boss Lee Johnson was so angered by the Black Cats' first-half no-show which left them lucky to be trailing only by two goals at the Alexandra Stadium that he was ready to make all five substitutions at the break.

In the event, he waited until the hour mark before sending on the cavalry but it worked a treat with two of his four replacements, Jones and Maguire, scoring sensational long-range strikes to complete an unlikely comeback.

Sunderland were out-run and out-fought in the first half when former Wearsider Mikael Mandron set up two almost identical goals to give Crewe a well-deserved two-goal lead.

A dismayed Johnson could be heard bellowing "We've got to get going" from the touchline at his lacklustre players after Crewe had dominated the opening 25 minutes. But his desperate plea fell on deaf ears.

On the half-hour mark, Ray Wintle's pass sent Mandron racing into the penalty area where he unselfishly squared the ball to present strike partner Chris Porter with a simple finish from eight yards.

Eight minutes later, Mandron popped up on the other side of Sunderland's penalty area, this time sending over a low cross for Tom Lowery to convert from close range.

Sunderland's only moment of real threat in the first 45 minutes was when Lynden Gooch's well-struck half volley forced Crewe keeper David Richards into a save.

New owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus, watching from the empty main stand, must have wondered if it was the same team that had won the first three matches of his reign.

Johnson duly read the riot act at half-time and it sparked some improvement - mind you Sunderland could not have got any worse.

Jones, Maguire, Jack Diamond and and Grant Leadbitter came on for Aiden McGeady, Callum McFadzean, Gooch and O'Brien. Johnson then had to make a fifth change a few minutes later when Leadbitter went down in agony with a dislocated shoulder and Carl Winchester came on.

Even then Crewe might have been 3-0 up with Sanderson making another timely interception to block to Luke Murphy's goal-bound shot.

But Jones' stunning goal changed the dynamic of the game and gave Sunderland belief and the energy they had been lacking.

The Rangers loanee's appearances have been restricted by the form of McGeady, but he vented all his pent-up frustration by racing down the left flank before cutting in to send a thunderous right-foot shot into the far top corner.

The lengthy delay for Leadbitter's injury meant referee Chris Sarginson added on nine minutes of added time.

And seven of them had ticked by when Wyke won an aerial duel to head the ball down to Maguire, who took a touch before sending a sensational volley into the top corner from 25 yards to spark wild celebrations among his team-mates.

It was impossible to decide which was the better strike, but Johnson couldn't have cared less. He was just happy to go home with a point that didn't look on the cards for most of the game.

It stretched Sunderland's unbeaten run to five matches, maintained an impressive away record - just one defeat all season - and kept them in the play-off places. But they will need to make a big improvement on their first-half display - starting when Swindon visit Wearside tomorrow - if they are to stay there.