Leeds United signed off their season with a 2-1 win at Watford as the Hornets fell short of automatic promotion.
A last-minute effort from Ross McCormack earned United their first away victory in the league since December 1, lifting them to 13th in the final Championship table.
Goals from Dominic Poleon and Almen Abdi in a strange and disrupted first-half looked set to force a draw and McCormack’s late chip confirmed Watford’s involvement into the play-offs.
Watford needed to better Hull City’s result to secure promotion this afternoon but Hull’s draw at home to Cardiff City rendered the clash with Leeds meaningless.
Almen Abdi’s goal deep into first-half stoppage-time, levelling Poleon’s earlier tap-in, raised the mood of Vicarage Road but when news filtered through of two crucial goals for Hull, the atmosphere petered out again.
The game struggled to get going after the interval and a fine tackle from Adam Drury seven yards in front of goal denied Fernando Forestieri on a rare occasion Watford slipped through United’s defence.
Paul Green went close at the other end after a quick counter-attack left him unmarked on the edge of Watford’s area but his shot struck a defender and deflected behind before it could trouble goalkeeper Jack Bonham.
The hosts’ afternoon took another turn for the worse when Troy Deeney was sent off in the 63rd minute for a second bookable offence - a wild foul on Michael Brown - and Gianfranco Zola made a last throw of the dice soon after by introducing top scorer Matej Vydra as a substitute.
United had a penalty appeal turned down when Marco Cassetti clashed with Luke Varney and Abdi fired a long-range effort over Paddy Kenny’s crossbar but neither side looked like snatching a winning goal until news of a late equaliser for Cardiff came through.
Kenny kept out Watford’s best chance by parrying Vydra’s deflected effort with one hand and both Abdi and Chalobah were denied by desperate saves by United’s keeper in a dramatic finale.
And McCormack snatched the points when 19-year-old Bonham - a first-half replacement for the injured Jonathan Bond - allowed McCormack’s weak chip to slip through his grasp and bounce over the line on 90 minutes.