The visitors scored first before they were reduced to ten men but after defending dourly for much of the contest, conceded a late own-goal as Martin O'Neill's men finished strongly to record another draw.
The Magpies' task of holding onto their lead became more difficult when Cheick Tiote was sent off for a studs-up tackle on Steven Fletcher making it the fifth red card in the last five fixtures between these two clubs.
Tyne-Wear specialist Ameobi was given a rare start by Alan Pardew and was proving a handful for the Black Cats defence but was replaced late in the first half as the Toon boss opted for a more defensive formation by bringing on James Perch.
The second half proved that as the Magpies sat back and went about their business as Sunderland pressed for a leveller and it almost came with about eight minutes remaining when Louis Saha scuffed his back post effort into the side netting.
With five minutes left, however, Sunderland equalised when Demba Ba inadvertently nodded Seb Larsson's whipped free-kick past Tim Krul after it was helped on by John O'Shea and into the back of his own net to send the home fans into raptures.
James McClean caused the Newcastle hearts to flutter when he hooked across goal which has Krul scrambling but fortunately for the Tynesiders, his effort was inches wide.
In the end, O'Neill and his Wearside outfit managed to take a point from Pardew's men which sees them sitting 14th on the table with five draws and a win from seven outings with Newcastle moving up to 11th after securing their ninth point of the campaign.
Stadium of Light, Sunderland - 47,456