Sunderland AFC's ten year status as a Premier League club has finally come to an end, with a single goal from Joshua King has relegated them to the Championship with a 1-0 defeat to fellow strugglers AFC Bournemouth.
It was an entertaining first period from both sides, with Jermain Defoe, King and Benik Afobe all coming close to a possible lead but neither of them could give their respective sides a crucial lead.
The second half was quite the opposite with chances been few and far between with Fabio Borini and George Honeyman coming close, the Black Cats looked to have secured a point but a combination of King's late effort and results elsewhere saw David Moyes' men become the first team to be relegated to the second-tier of English football.
Starting off strong
There was a somber atmosphere at the Stadium of Light ahead of kick-off, as the midweek defeat to Middlesbrough opened the opportunity for them to drop down from the top-flight but both sides came flying out of the traps.
Sunderland had the first real opportunity of the game 19 minutes in as they broke through the middle, the ball was played out to Wahbi Khazri who cut it back to Defoe but the striker sent it sailing over the crossbar.
The Cherries went right up the other end of the pitch and were a lick of paint away from taking the lead, there didn't look to be much in the move from King as picked the ball up on the left-hand side of the box. The striker went for the audacious chip as the ball looped over Jordan Pickford, the goalkeeper was left in no mans land but it came off the underside of the bar.
Defoe has been the main reason why Sunderland had any opportunity of Premier League survival but wasted an excellent opportunity just before the half hour mark, Eddie Howe's side failed to clear their lines and when they looked to be out of danger it was put back into the mix by Didier NDong. It was found by the striker on the volley but the effort from eight yards out is straight at Artur Boruc.
Pushing it for a lead
It was an excellent start from both sides as they bottled at the bottom of the table, and both sides had two decent opportunities before the end of the first period. Defoe looked to be the catalyst in the 39th minute as he drives across the edge of the box, he lets rip on his right foot but it flies into the side-netting.
Their defence was called into action almost instantaneously, Afobe's effort was blocked well but King's follow up looked to be going in but Donald Love did brilliantly to hook it away from danger.
Sunderland had found decent performances few and far between in the current campaign, but their second half performance was one of their best and had some decent opportunities to get themselves crucial three points.
It was good from Defoe as he slid it through to Borini, the Italian looked to redeem what had been a quiet campaign from the striker as he hit across goal but Boruc did well to palm it away.
They produced a good counter move in the 67th minute as Borini played a good ball through to Honeyman, Defoe is waiting for the cutback but he decides to go alone at the near post and forces Boruc to produce a smart save.
End of a era
It was looking like that Sunderland would avoid the inevitable for another week as the clocked ticked down, but their relegation fate was sealed with two minutes to play as Bournemouth took a late lead.
Sunderland's commitment going forward proved to be their downfall as the ball comes into the feet of Ryan Fraser, it was simple enough as he slid it across to King who slotted home.