Josh King put the final nail in Sunderland's coffin as AFC Bournemouth snatched a late 1-0 victory at the Stadium of Light.
King's goal was the difference in a chaotic thriller on Wearside. Ultimately despite greater effort and more intent to attack. It was a familiar story for Sunderland under David Moyes, no goals and a defeat.
Somehow Bournemouth and Sunderland went in at half time goalless after an action packed, end to end first half.
Bournemouth had four corners in the opening ten minutes, nearly capitalising from one of them in the second minute. Donald Love cleared away three yards from goal intercepting a certain tap in. Charlie Daniels had caught the home side sleeping, exchanging passes with Ryan Fraser from a short corner.
The first notable effort from a more attacking Moyes line up came from the returning Fabio Borini, his powerful strike was parried away by Artur Boruc, on-rushing Jermain Defoe missed the target on the rebound.
Referee, Stuart Atwell waved away penalty claims for the visitors early on, the dangerous Josh King going down under pressure from Lamine Kone, after skipping past the Ivory Coast international. Contact was minimal and a penalty would have been harsh on the home side.
Moyes's decision to switch to a 4-4-2 lead to much more exciting action, both teams leaving plenty of space to counter in their cavalier approaches.
Defoe was uncharacteristically wasteful through the first 45, he shot over tamely from 18 yards after a decent Wahbi Khazri cutback found him in space.
Josh King came the closest in the first half getting in behind the Sunderland defence easily he drove at goal before curling beyond Jordan Pickford. His effort glanced off the cross bar and left post before cannoning away.
Defoe's poor half continued he wasted a two on two breakaway under-hitting his ball to the on-rushing Victor Anichebe, who would have been through on goal with a quality pass.
Marc Pugh was next to test Pickford his 20 yard effort was saved comfortably by the young stopper down to his right.
On 30 minutes Defoe wasted the best chance of the half. Didier Ndong headed the England international through on goal, six yards out he volleyed straight at Boruc. The 34 year old had two other long range efforts that went wide as Sunderland failed to gain anything from an improved attacking approach.
Late in the first half last ditch defending kept the Black Cats level. Another decent Bournemouth attack built down Sunderland's right was quashed when Javier Manquillo lunged to block a Benik Afobe shot and then Love cleared off the line from a King effort soon after.
Eddie Howe's men started the second half the better, with Marc Pugh missing two quality chances. First he squandered unmarked at the back post his weak header into the ground was caught by Pickford. Moments later as Bournemouth got in behind Sunderland for the second time in quick succession, he curled just over aiming for the top corner.
The game remained open in the second half and Defoe played Borini through on goal soon after the break, the Italian saw his effort across goal parried away by Boruc. The angle favoured the Cherries stopper.
Kone was next to miss a huge Wearsider chance, he was on top of the goal as he headed over. Under pressure from Simon Francis. Kone missed after Khazri whipped in a delightful cross, getting the ball back after a poor corner.
Substitute George Honeyman was next to test Boruc, the 37 year old matched was equal to his near post drive. Sunderland finally began to pressurise Bournemouth and take over the game with just 20 minutes left.
A poor Borini challenge lead to a team on team melee, the forward's poor challenge on Lewis Cook lead to an on pitch maul. Sunderland arguably showing intensity and togetherness that has been missing during this sorry campaign. As players from both teams momentarily grappled before being broke up by Atwell.
King let Kone off the hook late on, the Norway international went down under pressure from Kone. Replays showed contact was minimal again and the striker was offside. Had King stayed on his feet he was unmarked goal side with a chance to relegate Sunderland.
Borini produced one of Sunderland's best efforts five minutes from time. Boruc was at full stretch to parry away his low drive from a half cleared corner.
Defoe deflected effort just over the near post, with Boruc beaten as pushed hard for a late winner.
A late breakaway sealed Sunderland's fate. Ryan Fraser ran beyond John O'Shea before squaring to King who was able to tap into an empty net having evaded Kone. The home team were left wide open by their efforts and attempts to find a crucial winner.
The game ended with a chorus of boos, those who did attend today and stay for the finale showing their displeasure as were finally put out of there misery.