Sunderland’s search for that elusive first Premier League win of the season continues after a 1-0 defeat at home to Tottenham Hotspur.
Defeat was cruel on Dick Advocaat’s much-improved side, with an 82nd minute winner from Ryan Mason enough to separate the sides.
The Black Cats dominated the first half but were made to pay for missed chances, with Jermain Defoe seeing his effort hit the post after being put clean through.
It means Sunderland remain rooted to the foot of the top flight table, with just two points from their opening five matches.
Spurs were denied a clear penalty less than two minutes in, Patrick Van Aanholt’s forceful block sending Kyle Walker to the floor.
But incredibly referee Craig Pawson waved it away.
It would have been the worst possible start but the hosts quickly found their feet and pressed a shaky Spurs backline.
Sunderland lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Defoe spearheading the attack, with Fabio Borini on the left flank and Jeremain Lens down the right.
Ola Toivonen was in the Number 10 role, with the front four linking up well in the opening stages.
It took 15 minutes for the first attempt from either side on goal though. Defoe - against his former club - forcing Spurs captain Hugo Lloris into a fumbled block.
The Black Cats were by far the more dangerous of the two sides but needed to make any chances they got count.
And in the 25th minute, Defoe should have opened the scoring.
Lens put him clear with an exquisite pass that took four Spurs players out of the game, Defoe was in but he didn’t make a clean contact and his shot rebounded off the left-hand post.
The Sunderland forward line impressed, and Defoe - relishing his start in a central role - was involved just past the half-hour mark.
Borini played him in but instead of shooting, he tried to find the onrushing Toivonen, the Spurs defence just managed to intercept the danger before he pulled the trigger.
Lloris was called into action again, saving from Defoe with the Sunderland striker complaining of being tugged down moments before shooting.
Against the run of play, Spurs should have taken the lead moments before half-time.
Walker played the ball back to Heung-Min Son but Gomez produced a wonderful block to deny him with the goal gaping.
Sunderland broke quickly up the other end, with Eric Dier producing an equally-last ditch block tackle to prevent Lens from notching.
Half-Time: Sunderland 0 Spurs 0
Advocaat switched Borini and Lens over as he looked to find a way through the Spurs defence.
But it was the visitors that enjoyed their best spell of the match, with Mason given too much space in the centre of midfield.
Sunderland fought back though, with Yann M’Vila impressing in the holding midfield role. Breaking up play and sparking attacks.
Lens was heavily involved down the left flank, but he was unable to apply the finish after being put through by Defoe, Lloris with the save.
Kane then sliced a glorious chance wide from six-yards in the 67th minute, the England striker still yet to notch a Premier League goal this season.
Advocaat turned to his bench, with Lee Cattermole and Duncan Watmore replacing Borini and Gomez - who also impressed after a long lay-off with a broken knee cap.
Borini looked shattered as he trudged towards the bench.
Costel Pantilimon saved from Eric Dier’s close-range header, while Nacer Chadli saw his effort blocked by Younes Kaboul, with Spurs pressing hard.
The sucker-punch came in the 82nd minute.
Mason, who started the move, beat the offside trap to take full advantage of sub Erik Lamela’s through ball.
The England midfielder had lost Jack Rodwell, with Van Aanholt playing him onside as he clipped the ball over Pantilimon.
Sunderland almost hit straight back, Rodwell seeing his shot crash back off the crossbar, while Lens nodded wide from close range.
Advocaat left to rue his side’s missed chances.
Full-Time: Sunderland 0 Spurs 1
Sunderland (4-2-3-1): Pantilimon, Jones, Van Aanholt, Kaboul, O’Shea (C), M’Vila, Toivonen (Rodwell, 81), Gomez (Cattermole, 73), Lens, Defoe, Borini (Watmore, 73).
Subs Not Used: Mannone, Coates, Larsson, Graham.
Booked: Borini (20), Jones (41)
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (C), Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Son (Townsend, 62), Mason (Carroll, 85), Dier, Alli (Lamela, 67), Chadli, Kane.
Subs Not Used: Vorm, Rose, Trippier, Winks.
Booked: Vertonghen (17)
Goals: Mason (82)
Referee: Craig Pawson.