Sunderland failed to significantly cut the gap on League One leaders Luton after being held 2-2 by Accrington Stanley at the Stadium of Light this evening, a third successive draw.
The Black Cats went into the contest sitting fourth, 10 points behind Town, but still with two games in hand.
They were up against a visiting team who hadn't scored since Boxing Day, Billy Kee ending that drought from the penalty spot on 33 minutes.
Stanley then doubled their lead seven minutes into the second half, Paul Smyth heading home.
However, Sunderland, who hadn't scored more than one goal in any of their last 10 league matches, were back in the game just three minutes later, courtesy of George Honeyman's close range finish.
Aiden McGeady then drew the hosts level just after the hour mark, but Jack Ross's side couldn't find a third goal as it finished all square.
The result means that Sunderland do leapfrog back above Portsmouth into third spot, but remain nine points behind Luton, now with just one game in hand.
Town could extend that gap to 12 points if they win at Fleetwood tomorrow, while Pompey head to Southend United in a early kick-off.