From the heady heights of the Premier League four years ago, Sheffield United must now prepare for life in the third tier for the first time since 1989. Their decline was confirmed as Danny Haynes, the Barnsley striker, claimed the second of his two goals in the 84th minute.
Micky Adams, the United manager, said he was "devastated", but wants to lead them back up. "There will be a meeting of minds next week," he said. "But I want to stay. This is a low point, devastating, but I want to be the manager to bring the club back into the Championship. We have to take collective responsibility. I'll take mine and the players have to take theirs. They're a genuine hard-working, honest group who've just not been good enough." Adams had hoped for a miracle set of results to save them. He was part of the Coventry side who won their final three games in 1985 to stay in the top flight against all odds. But that proved beyond his Blades.
Barnsley took advantage of the home side's early nervousness, with Jacob Mellis lofting over from 10 yards after driving his way into the box. Haynes, though, showed better composure for the opener. Shane Lowry's poor clearance fell to Nathan Doyle and Haynes latched on to his through-pass and slipped the ball past Steve Simonsen.
As the fury and frustration from the crowd become more audible, Matt Lowton provided hope with a 39th-minute leveller, powering in a headerfrom a Lee Williamson free-kick. Lowton almost produced a second goal just before the interval, but sliced his effort wide.
After the break the Blades put Barnsley under pressure and it paid off. A throw from the right by Lowton came out to Williamson and he let fly from 25 yards. Luke Steele looked to have it covered, but the ball squirmed through his grasp and rolled over the line.
United had a penalty appeal rejected when Jordan Slew felt he was shoved by Matt Hill as Barnsley were kept on the back foot.
It needed a wonderful save from Simonsen at the other end to keep out a ferocious free-kick from KieranTrippier, but it merely delayed the outcome. Two minutes later, Haynes was unmarked to steer Hill's cross into the net. United's fate was sealed.
Barnsley's manager, Mark Robins, said: "You have to feel for them and Micky – his players have given everything. We will miss the Sheffield derbies next season."