Super sub Patrick van Aanholt rescued a point for Sunderland against West Bromwich Albion but the wait for the first win of the season goes on.
The Black Cats deserved a point from the game but they left it late, van Aanholt cancelling out Nacer Chadli's first-half effort in the 83rd minute.
The Dutch left-back was on for the injured Jan Kirchhoff, who was stretched off with a hamstring injury.
It saw David Moyes switch to a 3-5-2 formation, with Sunderland getting the breakthrough seven minutes from time.
It leaves Sunderland second bottom after Saturday's round of fixtures heading into the two-week international break, two points from safety.
David Moyes made five changes to his Sunderland side, with two changes to his back four.
Adnan Januzaj (ankle), Steven Pienaar (hamstring) and Lee Cattermole (back) were out through injury, with Papy Djilobodji and Patrick van Aanholt dropped to the bench.
In came Jason Denayer at left back with John O'Shea returning to the side along with Paddy McNair, Duncan Watmore and Wahbi Khazri.
Three minutes in and Sunderland should have been in front after a superb team move.
Watmore played a one-two with Didier Ndong before slipping in Defoe, who had expertly beaten the offside trap.
Out of anyone you'd have wanted the ball to drop to the four-goal top socrer but he screwed his effort wide.
Ten minutes late, Pickford was called into action, diving to his left to palm away Nacer Chadli's low effort.
The distribution from Pickford - who made routine saves from Salomon Rondon and James McClean - was superb, with the keeper quickly setting Sunderland on the attack.
It was end-to-end with both sides winning a succession of corners, the delivery from Wahbi Khazri much improved on his return to the side, his first league start of the season.
Sunderland were well in the game but neither side could find a breathrough. Until the 35th minute, when Nacer Chadli was played in by Matt Phillips.
The Baggies forward outpaced Kone before shooting across Pickford into the bottom right-hand corner of the net. His third goal in four games this season.
Jan Kirchhoff had complained of a foul in the build-up on the half-way line, Claudio Yacob robbing the German of the ball before playing in Phillips.
Kirchhoff later booked for complaining, replays showed Yacob did catch the Sunderland midfielder.
The confidence visibly drained from the Sunderland players.
The Baggies were almost in again three minutes before the break, Chadli releasing McClean who outpaced Spaniard Manquillo but the could only drag his effort across the face of
A smattering of boos met the half-time whistle, as Sunderland went in at the break 1-0 down.
Half-time: Sunderland 0 West Brom 1
Sunderland started the second half brightly, with Khazri playing in Defoe 25-yards out from goal five minutes in.
The striker turned and ran at the Baggies defence but with three men around him he was eventually crowded out.
There was a half-hearted appeal for a penalty but there was nothing in it.
Sunderland were dealt another injury blow 56 minutes in, with birthday boy Kirchhoff stretchered off with what appeared a bad injury to his left hamstring.
Kirchhoff jumped for a header but fell to the floor in some pain, Patrick van Aanholt on in his place, with Sunderland switching to a 3-5-2 formation.
Pickford was called into action to deny Darren Fletcher's 25-yard volley, the England Under-21 international palming away the ball as West Brom threatened to add to their lead.
Sunderland lacked creativity and confidence in the second half, with the Blakck Cats doing little to threaten Ben Foster's goal.
It was all too easy for Tony Pulis' men, with Sunderland struggling to build any rythm after going behind and the early departure of Kirchhoff.
Defoe had another sight on goal 71 minutes in, sub van Aanholt with a superb pin-point crossfield pass to Khazri who squared the ball to Defoe.
His effort from 12-yards out was closed down and blocked by former Sunderland loanee Jonny Evans as frustration levels increased on Wearside.
The all-too familiar sight of Pickford shouting at the players in front of him was evident again as he saved from Rondon's low drive after a Baggies break.
Sunderland kept plugging away though and found a way back into the game through sub van Aanholt.
He won a header in the left-back position before playing a one-two with Ndong before laying the ball off to Watmore.
The England Under-21 international burst past two West Brom defenders before crossing the ball to van Aanholt who had continued his run and was free inside the box.
He bounced the ball past Foster to send the Sunderland fans wild.
Neither side could find a late winner, with Defoe firing a 25-yard free-kick narrowly wide of the left-hand post deep in injury time.
Full-time: Sunderland 1 West Brom 1
Sunderland AFC: Pickford; Denayer, Manquillo, Kone, O'Shea (C); Kirchhoff (van Aanholt, 56), McNair (Rodwell, 71), Ndong; Khazri (Gooch, 90), Watmore; Defoe.
Subs Not Used: Mika, Djilobodji, Love, Honeyman.
Booked: Kirchhoff (35)
Goals: van Aanholt (83)
West Brom: Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Nyom; Phillips, Fletcher (C), Yacob, McClean (Gardner, 71) Chadli (Morrison, 90); Rondon (Robson-Kanu, 90).
Subs Not Used: Myhill, Olsson, Berahino, Leko.
Booked: Yacob (27), McClean (69), Evans (90)
Goals: Chadli (35)
Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)