Robert Green helped ensure Harry Redknapp's first match as Queens Park Rangers manager started with a point following a goalless draw away to Sunderland on Tuesday.
But the result meant QPR remained bottom of the table, having yet to win their first league match of the season in what is now 14 games in the top flight this term.
And with Aston Villa defeating Reading 1-0, Tuesday's results left QPR - who last week saw their Malaysian owner Tony Fernandes sack Mark Hughes as their manager - eight points adrift of safety.
However, their plight could have been even worse but for the performance of former England goalkeeper Green. On as a second-half substitute for the injured Julio Cesar, Green somehow clawed away Steven Fletcher's goalbound header in the 64th minute.
Cesar himself had made a first-half block to deny Scotland international Fletcher, but the game was far from one-way traffic and, having performed rescue acts in helping Portsmouth and Tottenham stay in the Premier League after poor starts, Redknapp may fancy his chances of another salvage operation.
Rangers saw former Sunderland striker Djibril Cisse denied by home goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who also saved well from Jamie Mackie, at the Stadium of Light.
And had Stephane Mbia's long-range effort been a touch more accurate, the west London club could have been celebrating that longed-for first league win of the season.
"We worked hard and we deserved a point tonight," said Redknapp, whom QPR's Malaysian owner Tony Fernandes hopes can repeat the rescue missions that helped both Portsmouth and Tottenham stay in the Premier League after poor starts to top-flight campaigns.
"We defended well and denied them chances," Redknapp, also told Sky Sports. "I feel more optimistic tonight than on Saturday (when QPR lost 3-1 to Manchester United).
"I saw enough tonight to think we can go on a small run and keep ourselves in the pack," the veteran English manager insisted.
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill was left with a feeling of "frustration," saying: "I was hoping we would win the game.
"I know QPR will be buoyed by Harry Redknapp's appointment but I thought we could create enough to win. There were chances at both ends but it was a frustrating evening."