One of the Premier League's most in-form teams, fourth-placed West Ham travelled to the north east on the back of three straight top-flight victories, but found themselves frustrated by a resolute Sunderland outfit.
Sunderland boss Gus Poyet spoke of his desire to turn draws into wins in the lead up to the game after a run of results that had seen his team take a share of the spoils against the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool.
And it looked as if the Wearsiders were set to claim only their third Premier League win of the campaign when Jordi Gomez gave them the lead from the penalty spot in the 22nd minute.
Yet West Ham's response was swift and Stewart Downing quickly levelled matters in the 29th minute.
From there, West Ham looked the more likely to push on and take all three points but, despite a string of second-half chances, they were left to settle for a point that may cool talk of a UEFA Champions League challenge.
Sunderland, meanwhile, have now drawn 10 of their 16 top-flight fixtures this term.
Poyet's side lived dangerously in the early going and goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon was forced into a near-post save in the sixth minute to deny Carl Jenkinson following a poor defensive header from John O'Shea.
The hosts were vulnerable at the back but went ahead in controversial fashion.
Adam Johnson went to ground in the area under minimal contact from James Tomkins and referee Phil Dowd showed little hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Gomez stepped up and tucked the ball into the bottom right corner, with Allardyce then fortunate not to be sent to the stands for venting his frustration at the decision in a heated exchange with Dowd.
Allardyce was left much happier with matters just seven minutes later, though, with Downing restoring parity by cutting on to his left foot and unleashing a low effort that deflected off a defender and beyond the outstretched hand of Pantilimon.
Aside from their spot-kick, Sunderland created little in terms of goal-scoring opportunities.
However, they should have retaken the lead on the stroke of half-time, Jozy Altidore somehow failing to connect with Sebastian Larsson's right-wing cross from three yards out with the goal at his mercy.
Sunderland made the better start to a second half disrupted by a head injury sustained by West Ham defender Winston Reid, Johnson heavily involved again as his curling free-kick was punched away by Adrian after a needless handball from Alex Song.
Pantilimon was soon forced into action at the other end to prevent to thwart Aaron Cresswell from close range, before Andy Carroll chipped narrowly over the bar after neat link-up play with Diafra Sakho.
A frantic finish saw Sunderland denied a second penalty for an apparent handball from Reid and Adrian tip a fierce effort from Connor Wickham over the bar.
But neither side were able to nick a late winner, instead taking a hard-fought point apiece.
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.