West Bromwich Albion 0 Bolton Wanderers 0
Albion's Premiership status hangs by a thread after a grim goalless draw against Bolton left them entrenched in the relegation zone.
The Baggies knew a victory would propel them to within a point of safety but they failed to win for the tenth Premiership game in succession.
It could have been even worse for Bryan Robson's weary troops as Kevin Nolan spooned a gilt-edged opportunity over the bar deep into injury time.
"We got lucky at the end," Albion's Paul Robinson conceded. " But this was a lost opportunity for us and we are disappointed not to take all three points.
"It was the story of our season in that we are creating chances but not finishing them."
Robson made two changes to the starting XI that lost at Arsenal on Saturday with Steve Watson and Andrew Johnson replacing Martin Albrechtsen and Ronnie Wallwork respectively.
Albion's manager also undertook a calculated risk on the substitutes bench by naming five outfield players to fully utilise his options.
Diomansy Kamara responded to the early momentum and raced down the right channel before delivering a cross that evaded Kevin Campbell in the penalty area.
However, this proved to be a false dawn as Albion laboured under the weight of expectation and an atmosphere of anxiety permeated The Hawthorns.
Bolton's robust style was preventing Albion from developing any fluidity in their passing and the visitors looked the more likely.
Jay-Jay Okocha's free-kick was diverted by Albion's wall and flew inches wide of Kuszczak's near post with the goalkeeper well beaten.
Robson's stress levels were rising again just before the quarter hour mark as Kevin Davies thumped a header goalwards from Ricardo Gardner's cross that just cleared Kuszczak's crossbar.
The Trotters had lost five consecutive fixtures prior to this and they funnelled behind the ball in numbers at every available opportunity.
A nervous torpor had enveloped Albion's play but Nigel Quashie shook off the lethargy with a fierce drive that flew into the Smethwick End, which roused the crowd from their slumber.
And eight minutes before the interval, Albion came within a whisker of a priceless lead. Steve Watson's long throw into the penalty area caused havoc after Campbell climbed highest to flick the ball on.
Zoltan Gera sneaked in front of Abdoulaye Faye to direct a header goalwards that deflected off Faye's chest.
Jussi Jaaskelainen thrust out an arm but only succeeded in palming the ball into the air where Johnson was advancing at a rate of knots. However, Nicky Hunt was vigilant and scrambled the ball to safety.
The half-time whistle dulled Albion's impetus and Bolton forced the pace at the beginning of the second period.
Hidetoshi Nakata dragged a shot wide from the edge of the penalty area before Nolan's cross just evaded Stelios at the near post.
But Albion took up the cudgels once again and raised their energy levels to trouble Bolton. The ubiquitous Watson latched onto a Robinson free-kick and cleverly lobbed it to the far post for the unmarked Kamara who was eight yards from goal.
There was a sea of bodies in front of him but he inexplicably mis-controlled the ball and a golden opportunity went to waste.
Bolton's attacking threat was increasingly sporadic although Watson had to be vigilant to divert a dangerous Nolan cross before Kamara missed another glaring opportunity.
Gera's intelligent cross was flicked on by Campbell and reached the unmarked Kamara five yards out.
With the goal at his mercy he swiped wildly and the ball skewed horribly wide. It was Kamara's last contribution to proceedings as both he and Campbell were withdrawn by Robson.
Kanu and Stuart Nicholson were given 15 minutes in which to try and conjure a goal that could preserve Albion's Premiership status.
Yet it was Bolton who came closest to putting another nail in Albion's coffin when substitute Ricardo Vaz Te spurned a presentable opportunity five minutes from time.
Neil Clement headed over a Watson cross before Nolan ballooned Vaz Te's cross over the bar from point blank range to save Albion's blushes.
However, this result leaves them three points adrift of safety and staring the Championship in the face.