Sunderland’s 10-year stay in the Premier League ended with defeat against Bournemouth at the Stadium of Light.
The result coupled with Hull City’s draw at Southampton means David Moyes’ side are 14 points from safety with four games left.
Bournemouth’s Joshua King scored the only goal with just two minutes left, tapping home from Ryan Fraser’s pass.
The Norwegian also came close in the 20th minute but his shot rebounded off the post and crossbar and into the arms of Jordan Pickford.
Artur Boruc saved from Jermain Defoe in the first half, and Fabio Borini and George Honeyman in the second, but the Black Cats failed to sustain any real pressure on the Bournemouth goal.
The defeat, Sunderland’s 23rd of the season, means the Black Cats are relegated from the Premier League for a joint-record fourth time.
A run of remarkable survivals comes to an end
Sunderland needed to at least match Hull’s result against Southampton to survive another week and were doing so – despite another lacklustre performance – until the 88th minute.
Southampton won a penalty at St Mary’s in the closing stages which, if converted, would have seen Sunderland survive for now but Eldin Jakupovic saved from Dusan Tadic.
Seconds earlier, Moyes’ side had been hit on the counter for the winning goal with Fraser sprinting clear before finding the in-form King who made no mistake.
Sunderland again failed to score, the 18th time from 34 league games this season, with just five of their 17 shots on target and few clear opportunities created.
The club have made a habit of remarkable survivals in their time in the Premier League but for now the Black Cats luck has run out as Moyes is relegated for the first time as a manager.
Sorry season for Sunderland
Little has gone right for Sunderland ever since Sam Allardyce – who saved the club from relegation last season with just one defeat in their final 10 games – was named England manager in late July.
Moyes was named as his replacement a day later but, in now well-known comments, told the fans to expect a relegation battle after just two games of the season.
The Scot was left with little time to bring in summer recruits but those he did bring in – the majority his former players at Manchester United and Everton – have disappointed.
Their first win did not come until November but they followed it with three victories in their next six games in a brief glimmer of success, largely built around Defoe’s goals.
But since then Sunderland have won just once in 17 games and Defoe is without a goal in 10 club games.
Black Cats’ fans have grown increasingly frustrated at Moyes’ results, and what they consider his negative attitude and demeanour throughout the season, with chants for him to leave being heard in recent weeks.
More to follow