Sunderland's lack of penetration again proved costly in a 0-0 draw at fellow strugglers West Ham that does little for either side.
The Premier League's bottom club went into Saturday’s game having failed to score away from home since August 31.
Despite enjoying the better of a largely drab encounter at Upton Park, Sunderland were once again unable to find the target and remain without an away win this season.
Phil Bardsley rattled the crossbar from distance in the first half for Gus Poyet's men, while West Ham offered next to nothing as an attacking threat, much to the frustration of their supporters.
The London club have now mustered just one victory in nine league games and remain perilously placed above the relegation zone.
Ravel Morrison and Joe Cole replaced the suspended Kevin Nolan and injured Stewart Downing in West Ham's line-up, while Poyet handed recalls to Lee Cattermole, Emanuele Giaccherini and Fabio Borini.
The powerful Mohamed Diame proved an early threat for Sam Allardyce's side, yet it was Sunderland who should have taken the lead after six minutes.
Jozy Altidore found himself one-on-one with Jussi Jaaskelainen, but the forward's low strike across goal was tipped wide.
West Ham had the ball in the net through Guy Demel after 21 minutes, only for the effort to be disallowed with referee Andre Marriner having already blown up for a push.
After a brief spell of home pressure, Sunderland saw Fabio Borini break clear and shoot straight at Jaaskelainen from a tight angle when a cross to Altidore appeared the better option.
A penalty appeal from Altidore was then turned down, the American having tumbled as a left-wing cross came over, before Phil Bardsley came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock, hitting the crossbar with a thunderous effort from 30 yards.
Sunderland were firmly on top by the time the first half ended to a chorus of boos.
West Ham finally forced Vito Mannone into action 10 minutes after the interval, but the Italian goalkeeper dealt comfortably with Morrison's drilled shot.
The visitors continued to look the more likely to break the deadlock either side of Diame directing an effort on the turn straight at Mannone.
Ki Sung-Yueng forced Jaaskelainen into action at his near post with Sunderland's clearest opportunity of the second period, while Morrison fired wide at the other end with five minutes remaining.
Mannone was on hand to tip George McCartney's goal-bound cross over in stoppage time and both sides will know improvement is required if they are to pull away from the league's lower reaches.comments