The end of the Championship season has seen Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham United and Wycombe Wanderers relegated and Derby County survive - after Wayne Rooney’s side looked down and out having blown a second-half lead.
All four sides could have avoided the drop or gone down on the final day, though Wycombe’s fate was all-but-sealed beforehand as they needed such a big swing in goal difference. They gave it their best shot, beating Middlesbrough 3-0, but went down regardless.
Around them it was far more back-and-forth and heart-in-the-mouth stuff, with Rotherham ultimately falling short with just minutes remaining on the clock at Cardiff.
The game of the day came at Pride Park, where Derby - just outside the drop zone ahead of kick-off - fell behind to Wednesday in first-half stoppage time, Sam Hutchinson scoring.
Rooney’s team quickly forced a real turnaround after the restart as Martyn Waghorn and Patrick Roberts put the Rams 2-1 up within seven minutes of the second half starting, only for the Owls to do exactly the same just past the hour mark - Callum Paterson and Julian Borner making it 3-2 to the away side.
Meanwhile, a sublime Lewis Wing volley had put Rotherham in front at Cardiff after just eight minutes and they were in front until late on - a win would have seen them stay up unless Derby could produce a late turnaround once more.
The tensions ultimately started to tell in the closing stages, as Derby won a penalty in the 78th minute, scored by Waghorn, just as Marlon Pack struck for Cardiff from the edge of the penalty area to break Rotherham hearts.
A first-half injury for Waghorn meant a long stoppage at Derby and they were running around 10 minutes behind the other matches, so that strike from Pack left the Millers just a couple of minutes to find a late goal of their own, which they ultimately failed to do.
Their draw meant it was a straight fight between Derby and Wednesday in the delayed final 10 minutes of their seasons, with the 3-3 scoreline at that stage meaning the Owls needed another goal to survive and send Derby down.
Roberts had a great chance to seal the win for Derby, running through one-on-one, only for Kieren Westwood to make a save as the attacker tried to round him.
The ‘keeper ended up going forward for a last-ditch set-piece as Wednesday desperately sought a crucial winner, but it was to no avail and their six-point deduction ultimately left them relegated, bottom of the Championship table.
At the top end of the table, Bournemouth’s defeat to Stoke coupled with Barnsley drawing with league winners Norwich means that the Tykes take fifth and the Cherries drop to sixth, altering the play-off semi-final fixtures as a result.
Brentford, who finished third, will play Bournemouth while fourth-place Swansea and Barnsley will also go head-to-head.
Derby 3-3 Sheffield Wednesday
Coventry 6-1 Millwall
Bristol City 1-3 Brentford
Bournemouth 0-2 Stoke
Blackburn 5-2 Birmingham
Barnsley 2-2 Norwich
Middlesbrough 0-3 Wycombe
Reading 2-2 Huddersfield
QPR 3-1 Luton
Nottingham Forest 1-2 Preston
Watford 2-0 Swansea
Cardiff 1-1 Rotherham
Final league standings at the bottom of the Championship
21st - Derby - 44 pts
22nd - Wycome (R) - 43 pts
23rd - Rotherham (R) - 42 pts
24th - Sheffield Wednesday (R) - 41 pts
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