Sunderland move a step closer to relegation and the Championship after being held to a goaless draw by Burnley.
A lack of bravery, talent and composure cost the home side as they failed to grasp a momentum building victory against the division's worst travellers.
Billy Jones, Fabio Borini and Adnan Januzaj were all guilty of sqaundering good chances, whilst Burnley stopper Tom Heaton was excellent in denying Sunderland.
David Moyes’ men were poor at times, however gifting great chances and especially in the first half crumbling under pressure.
Failure to win leaves Sunderland seven points from safety as things stand, with just ten matches left, Burnley are comfortably mid-table 12 points better off than the Black Cats.
Sunderland somehow went in level with Burnley at half time after a wretched nervous first half display.
Initially Sean Dyche's side capitalised on Sunderland's desperation to show greater attacking intent. Often in the opening ten minutes the Wearsiders centre halves were left one on one with Burnley attackers as both full backs pushed on in the Stadium of Light.
Ashley Barnes nearly took advantage of poor positioning from Jordan Pickford, but under-hit his lob from a tight angle in the opening ten minutes.
Sunderland survived another great chance just minutes later, with the visitors taking advantage of indecision to advance down Sunderland's right. Jason Denayer managed to block George Boyd's effort, just six yards out from a clever cut back, the last ditch tackle saving a certain goal.
The home side looked frozen given the importance of winning today's contest and Dyche's men took full advantage forcing a series of corners in the opening 25 minutes. A half cleared set piece fell to Boyd, his ferocious volley was blocked by Darron Gibson's hand. Referee, Bobby Madley waved away penalty claims, deciding Gibson was too close to the original shot.
Gibson had Sunderland's only decent first half effort. The Republic of Ireland international's attempts to guide into the top corner from a clever Adnan Januzaj corner just dipped too late for a Black Cat's opener against the run of play.
Then Barnes missed a big chance just before half time. The imposing front man, latched onto a miss-hit Scott Arfield shot, but could only stab wide, free in the Sunderland area.
Sunderland upped their intensity and aggression after the re-start. Bryan Oviedo played in Borini at the start of the second half but the Italian shot tamely at Tom Heaton. It was another big miss from a forward who has scored just once all season.
Another Sunderland attack saw two more big chances wasted. Jermain Defoe chipped to Januzaj at the back post, his emphatic rising volley forced an excellent stop from Heaton. The England international got two firm hands to the rising volley, seconds later Sebastian Larsson hit a half-volley high and wide unmarked by the penalty spot.
Burnley survived Sunderland's first push to break the deadlock, but the home side continued to toil and half-way through a tense second half, they wasted another fantastic opportunity. Larsson curled a flat pacey cross, into a dangerous area and Jones got it all wrong. The full back headed well wide inside the six yard box, free with the goal gaping.
As the game opened up there were more chances, Januzaj dragged narrowly wide just outside the area, after dangerous Sunderland breakaway. The 22 year old then saw a dangerous effort blocked by Ben Mee, after a Fabio Borini cutback. Substitute Wahbi Khazri narrowly over-hit a through-ball to Jermain Defoe. Defoe was beaten to the ball by his England teammate Heaton, who smothered excellently.
Pickford was forced to deny substitue Sam Vokes who shot across goal, after awful Sunderland play. The Welshman raced through on goal after Oviedo stitched up Denayer with a careless back pass. Vokes overpowered the Belgian before forcing Pickford's best save of the contest.
Heaton denied Sunderland again, at the death. Blocking from a powerful Borini effort at his near post in injury time. For all their effort Sunderland weren't quite good enough and need another sporting miracle to stay up.