Hull City were relegated from the Premier League after they drew 0-0 with Manchester United, who had Marouane Fellaini sent off.
Needing a win to even give themselves a sniff of survival, Hull’s result proved to be insignificant as Newcastle United beat West Ham 2-0 at St James’ Park.
Steve Bruce’s men created plenty of openings during a nervy 90 minutes but had two goals disallowed and found stand-in Manchester United goalkeeper Victor Valdes in fine form.
Fellaini was given his marching orders late on for a reckless late challenge on Paul McShane that left the Hull defender needing lengthy treatment on knocks to his groin and head.
Hull will join Burnley and Queens Park Rangers in the Sky Bet Championship next season.
David de Gea was missing from the Manchester United squad due to a hamstring injury, which presented Valdes with his first start for the club.
He looked a bit rusty in the early stages and nearly presented Hull with the opening goal on 18 minutes, when he fumbled a routine cross in the six-yard box. McShane was on hand to turn the ball home, but he was correctly given offside and the goal was chalked off.
The Hull pressure wasn’t relenting and Valdes was in much more reliable form just a minute later to get down quickly with one hand to turn a bullet header from Ahmed Elmohamady around the post.
The KC Stadium was now in full voice, but the home fans had to endure yet another disallowed goal 45 seconds later. Stephen Quinn fired a shot from a tight angle goal-bound that had Valdes motionless, and Dame N’Doye was on hand to turn the ball home inside the six-yard box, but he was given offside.
Hull skipper Michael Dawson epitomised his team’s fighting spirit with a fantastic block early in the second half but many will feel this high-tempo and dedicated showing from his team came far too late in the season.
As news filtered through about Newcastle’s opening goal at St James’ Park, there was an air of resignation at the KC Stadium, but the home side went close again on 64 minutes, when Daley Blind scrambled a ball off the line that was headed towards goal by Dawson and then McShane.
Although the atmosphere was flat, things on the pitch turned fiesty and rather sour in the final 20 minutes as both teams lost their cool.
Hull substitute striker Abel Hernandez landed a punch flush into the stomach of Phil Jones as they were waiting for a corner to be delivered, but it was missed by the referee, despite Jones’ angry reaction.
The man in the middle did brandish a red card on 74 minutes, as United subtitute Fellaini charged into a late challenge on McShane, racking his studs into his groin and catching the Hull man flush in the face with his knee.
That lifted the crowd as Hull continued to attack against the 10 men, but news of an 85th-minute Jonas Gutierrez second goal for Newcastle dashed any late Hull hopes of an extraordinary fightback.
Bruce’s men finished three points from safety and now must plan for the Championship.
Hull City: Harper (7), Chester (7), Dawson (7), Elmohamady (7), McShane (7), Meyler (6), Quinn (7), Huddlestone (6), Brady (7), N’Doye (6), Jelavic (6).
Subs: Hernandez (5), Aluko (6), Robertson (6).
Manchester United: Valdes (7), Valencia (6), Smalling (6), Jones (7), Rojo (6), Blind (7), Herrera (7), Di Maria (6), Mata (6), Young (6), Rooney (6).
Subs: Januzaj (6), Wilson (6), Fellaini (4).
Man of the Match: Ahmed Elmohamady.