SHEFFIELD United have been relegated from the npower Championship after failing to win Barnsley in the local derby - which finished 2-2 at Bramall Lane, writes Graham Walker.
The Blades began the day six points adrift of safety with two games to play, but they looked as if they would take their fate to the final day as they led for much of the second half and other results were going their way.
But Danny Haynes’ late goal, his second of the game, condemned United to the drop and next season they will be playing third tier football for the first time since 1989.
Haynes’ cool finish had put the Tykes ahead in the 15th minute but United rallied and goals from Matt Lowton and Lee Williamson raised hopes of pulling off the great escape.
The late goal by Haynes did not matter anyway as Doncaster and Crystal Palace both hit back to pick up points, which meant United would have been down even if they won.
For the Barnsley fans, who have had to endure a flat end to the campaign, sending their bitter South Yorkshire rivals down was a moment to savour, but their side have won just one of their past nine games and will be looking forward to the close season.
Despite winning their previous two games there was an air of inevitability around Bramall Lane, with United knowing that even another victory may not be enough to keep them up.
It was a pulsating start to the game and the hosts twice could have taken the lead in the opening five minutes, with Williamson’s low drive saved by Luke Steele and Stephen Quinn firing an effort inches wide of the angle.
Barnsley hit back, though, and wasted a golden chance when Jacob Mellis blazed over after ghosting through the Blades defence.
But the Tykes made amends and went ahead with 15 minutes on the clock when Haynes raced clear following Harry Maguire’s slip and coolly slotted past Steve Simonsen for his fifth league of the season.
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For extensive coverage, photos and full reaction see The Green Un, out Saturday evening and The Star on Monday, plus the Sheffield Telegraph on Thursdays.
Friday, April 29, 2001:
Torquay v Chesterfield 0-0
Saturday, April 30, 2011:
Sheffield United v Barnsley 2-2
Doncaster Rovers v Leicester City 1-1
Bristol Rovers v Sheffield Wednesday 1-1
Aldershot Town v Rotherham United 2-2