Sunderland hung on until the 88th minute, but Josh King’s goal finally confirmed the end of their 10-year stay in the Premier League.
It was a goal that immediately brought chants of “we want Moyes out” from fans who have suffered a nightmare season when relegation has always looked on the cards.
The end came on a day when Sunderland produced one of their better performances and created several chances, but failed to take them and paid the price when King turned in Ryan Fraser’s cross.
Manager Moyes, who will make a decision on his future at the end of the season, may have sensed it was not going to be his day when four of his most experienced players, Lee Cattermole, Darron Gibson, Jack Rodwell and Jason Denayer all failed fitness tests.
Seb Larsson was also ruled out through suspension and there was further bleak news for the manager before the start when Billy Jones reported with an illness that also sidelined him.
Players such as Steven Pienaar and Donald Love, who have not featured recently were drafted in and Love’s rustiness was apparent inside three minutes when he almost sliced Charlie Daniels’s cross into his own, then carelessly allowed Marc Pugh a clear run on goal.
Love was not alone in suffering a crisis of confidence generated by miserable run of results when they had failed to scored in eight of their previous nine games.
Fabio Borini claimed one of the two goals they managed in that period and the movement he put on a shot in the 11th minute forced a save from Artur Boruc, who was fortunate that Jermain Defoe was unable to react quickly enough when the ball rebounded to him.
Defoe wasted another opportunity when he lifted Wahbi Khazri’s cross over the bar from near the penalty spot in the 20th minute, seconds before Bournemouth went close to the opening goal.
Sunderland’s defence had already looked woefully ill-equipped to deal with the mobility of Bournemouth’s forwards and Josh King took advantage as he drove into the box and curled a shot against the far post.
The rest of the first-half was about Defoe, scorer of more than half Sunderland’s goals this season, although the last one was nearly three months ago, one of the longest droughts of his career.
The striker was convinced he might have had a penalty when his shot struck Simon Francis on the arm in 26th minute and he found space superbly to meet a pass from Didier Ndong, but could only direct his first-time volley straight at Boruc.
He was also responsible for their next glimpse of goal when he moved away from two defenders, but Defoe was pushed too far wide and could only hook his shot off-target.
Defoe actually produced as many first-half threats as the entire Bournemouth team, but their forwards were sharing out the chances and they almost went ahead five minute from the interval.
Love, now settling in his right-back role, did well to block a shot from Benik Afobe, but the ball fell to King and his effort beat keeper Jordan Pickford, but was cleared off the line by Javier Manquillo.
Defoe became a maker of chances rather than taker after the interval and almost engineered a breakthrough for Sunderland on two occasions in the opening ten minutes.
The striker collected a pass from the increasingly influential Ndong and played in Borini, who shot was turned away by Boruc.
Then Khazri was the beneficiary of another well-judged pass from Defoe, but his hesitation and an unnecessary extra touch cost him the opening.
Bournemouth, now resembling a team that would accept a draw after guaranteeing survival last week, did muster a reply with a wayward shot by Pugh.
But Sunderland were still pursuing the victory and looked more likely to get it once the labouring Pienaar was replaced in midfield by 22-year-old local boy George Honeyman.
Moyes has been reluctant to trust his untried reserves this season, but Honeyman was soon a lively influence, showing some nice touches and breaking forward well, notably in the 67th minute when he collected Victor Anichebe’s pass and brought a near-post save from Boruc.
A point would have been enough to extend Sunderland’s stay in the top flight, but King dealt the final blow.
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