Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce was left "extremely disappointed" after watching his side go down 1-0 to high-flying Watford - with good opportunities squandered late on.
A fourth minute goal from Odion Ighalo capped a miserable start to proceedings at the Stadium of Light, with the Black Cats torn apart in the opening 20 minutes.
Watford could easily have been three goals to the good, with a mixture of last-ditch defending and the woodwork denying the Hornets from extending their lead.
Sunderland improved after the break, with Jermain Defoe coming on with 20 minutes left and causing the Watford defence problems.
He saw a shot well-saved by Gomes, while another effort was chalked off for offside and he clipped another effort just wide of the post.
Fans were calling for Defoe to be introduced to the action, with the striker having to make do with a place on the bench.
"It is today we needed those chances finishing," added Allardyce.
"When you get them, put them in the back of the net.
"They are not bad at all, one was a great save, one was offside and the other he got the right flick on it, it was just wide of the post.
"Adam Johnson mis-hit his volley too at the far post, those opportunities you have to put at least one in.
"When I opened my big mouth and said I think we have enough goals [in the side], I think I should have kept it shut!"
Allardyce switched his formation after just 19 minutes, with DeAndre Yedlin sacrificed for Jack Rodwell, with Sunderland switching to a flat-back four.
The opening 20 minutes left Allardyce seething.
"I didn't think we got a kick in the first 20 minutes of the Newcastle game either but we didn't concede a goal then," said Allardyce.
"This time we did.
"We could have defended it better before it got to that stage, before being that desperate.
"We didn't play very well in the first half and had to change the system after 20 minutes because it wasn't working.
"Players weren't playing to their best, we had to load the midfield more and hope we got better in possession and pressed them.
"Second half was a different story, we created more but didn't capitalise on those chances by equalising and then going on to win it.
"We are all left extremely disappointed and there is a big gap to start catching up, we could have made it smaller."