Bolton Wanderers came from 2-0 down to grab a draw with Blackpool at the Reebok, but the point was not enough to hold on to the final Championship play-off place as Dougie Freedman's side missed out on goal difference.
"It is not to be, but we have shown fantastic character over this three-month period and that gives me a lot of optimism going forward," Freedman said.
Wanderers, 20th when Freedman arrived in February, had been in a rich vein of home form, winning nine consecutive matches, but fell behind when Matt Phillips fired left-footed into the top corner after 21 minutes. Ludo Sylvestre's 35th-minute volley made it 2-0, but the hosts struck twice in first-half injury time through Chris Eagles's long-distance strike and Craig Davies's effort deflected in off Stephen Crainey. Davies, Darren Pratley and Lee Chung-Yong had chances to seal the win but their luck, and Bolton's, was out as it ended 2-2.
At the bottom, Sheffield Wednesday, Millwall and Blackburn Rovers all survived. The Owls beat Middlesbrough 2-0 in front of a crowd of over 31,000 at Hillsborough, while Jordan Rhodes's 29th League goal of the season earned Rovers a 1-1 draw at Birmingham City. Results elsewhere kept The Lions safe despite a 1-0 loss at Derby.
In the Champions' League final dress rehearsal between the Bundesliga's top two, Bayern Munich drew 1-1 at Borussia Dortmund, had Rafina sent off for elbowing Jacub Blaszczykowski and saw Manuel Neuer save Robert Lewandowksi's penalty. Hostilities resume on 25 May at Wembley.
Play-off dates Leicester City v Watford (Thurs 9 May, 7.45pm); Crystal Palace v Brighton (Fri 10 May, 7.45pm); Watford v Leicester City (Sun 12 May, 12.30pm); Brighton v Crystal Palace (Mon 13 May, 7.45pm).