Sunderland exited the Emirates FA Cup as David Moyes’ suffered another day to forget at Turf Moor.
Sean Dyche’s side raced out of the blocks with Vito Mannone on form to deny Jeff Hendrick and George Boyd, but after weathering the storm the Black Cats took their eye off the ball and Burnley made them pay.
With just seconds remaining before the interval, a sweeping counter ended with Sam Vokes who guided an emphatic header across the face of goal and into the corner.
Sunderland failed to register a shot on goal in the opening 45 minutes but they bucked the trend following the restart, with Seb Larsson curling an effort wide after linking with Javier Manquillo.
Unfortunately, that was the Black Cats’ best offering in a forward sense, with Andre Gray coming off the bench late on to score a second and send Burnley into the fourth round.
After featuring on the bench throughout the campaign, George Honeyman was given the chance to impress with the midfielder starting against the Clarets.
John O’Shea and Jermain Defoe were both held in reserve, with Tom Robson, Ethan Robson, Elliot Embleton and Joel Asoro also named on the bench.
Burnley started with a swagger and they moved the ball well, with Jeff Hendrick stinging the palms of Vito Mannone on three minutes with a 25-yard drive which the Italian gathered at the second attempt.
As time progressed the Black Cats did gain a foothold in the game, though, albeit at the expense of a yellow card as Donald Love’s overzealous approach saw him walking a disciplinary tightrope for the remainder of the game.
Operating in the number 10 role, George Boyd was a constant threat and he forced Mannone into action on 11 minutes, with the Italian quick to recover to parry Joey Barton’s deflected effort to safety.
The pressure continued to mount as the Clarets sensed a breakthrough, but Sunderland’s stopper remained on top and the slightest of touches saw Boyd denied for a second time shortly after.
Sunderland somewhat weathered the storm and began to find space as the midway point of the half passed, with Adnan Januzaj working an opening before seeing a shot blocked on the edge of the box.
A sumptuous free-kick from Larsson set alarm bells ringing in the Burnley defence two minutes later, but Fabio Borini’s glancing a header across the box was swiftly cleared by the Clarets.
With two minutes remaining before the break, Vokes showed the Italian how it’s done.
A sweeping move saw Tendayi Darikwa unleashed down the right flank and he caressed an early cross towards Vokes at the near post, where the Welshman applied the faintest of touches to guide the ball across the face of goal and into the corner.
And the striker could have grabbed his second on 55 minutes, but he delayed pulling the trigger and Papy Djilobodji reacted to slide in and make a vital interception.
Boyd forced Mannone into action moments later after watching the ball drop out of the sky before volleying at goal, with Sunderland making a change shortly after the 60-minute mark.
Cometh the hour, cometh Defoe.
The talisman’s arrive injected new energy into Sunderland’s ranks and his movement caused panic amongst the Burnley ranks, allowing the likes of Honeyman, Januzaj and Borini fresh space to exploit.
An offside flag denied Defour in the 74th minute as the Black Cats huffed and puffed, but with the game stretched to breaking point the last thing they wanted to see was hat-trick hero Gray.
But see him they did.
And with eight minutes remaining the former Luton Town striker did what he does best, slotting home his fourth goal against the Black Cats in 17 days to hand Burnley a place in the fourth round.
Sunderland: Mannone, Jones, van Aanholt, Denayer, Djilobodji, Larsson, Borini (Asoro 80), Manquillo, Love (Defoe 63), Honeyman, Januzaj.
Subs not used: Mika, O’Shea, E Robson, T Robson, Embleton.
Burnley: Pope, Darikwa, Keane, Tarkowski, Flanagan, Barton, Defour, Kightly (Gray 77), Boyd, Hendrick, Vokes.
Subs not used: Mee, O’Neill, Jackson, Robinson, Ward, Lowton.