Aston Villa advanced through to the Carling Cup fifth round after beating Sunderland 3-1 on penalties at the Stadium of Light.
Kenwyne Jones saw his weak penalty saved by Brad Guzan five minutes from the end of normal time and, after extra-time also finished goalless, Sunderland's woes from the spot continued.
Andy Reid, Lorik Cana and Jordan Henderson all failed to convert to leave Ashley Young to score the decisive penalty.
The Wearsiders will feel hard done by but they only have themselves to blame after squandering some gilt-edged chances, none more presentable than that which fell to Kieran Richardson in the closing minutes of the extra period.
Having burst clean through, the former Manchester United midfielder should have scored but hammered his shot straight into the chest of Guzan.
England international Emile Heskey, who recently voiced his concern that a lack of first-team opportunities may hamper his World Cup ambitions, almost marked his first start in two months with a second-minute opener.
Gabriel Agbonlahor escaped down the right and his low cross was cleverly flicked towards goal by Heskey, only for the ball to narrowly miss the far post.
After that early scare, Sunderland slowly warmed to their task with Fraizer Campbell excelling in an unfamiliar right-wing role with another Sunderland youngster, Jordan Henderson, also making a significant impression.
The local lad came close with a low drive from the edge of the area before he saw what appeared a legitimate claim for a penalty turned away by referee Phil Dowd after he went down under a challenge from Stephen Warnock.
And with Reid, Cana and Henderson all missing in the shoot-out, there was no way back for Sunderland.
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