Sunderland have been relegated for the second time as they dropped down to League One, the third tier of English football after losing 1-2 to Burton Albion.
It was former Sunderland striker Darren Bent that engineered a dramatic comeback that relegated Sunderland from the Sky Bet Championship at the Stadium of Light.
Chris Coleman’s side were the better side in the opening 45 minutes and deservedly took the lead through former Manchester United player Paddy McNair, who scored his third goal in as many games.
Sunderland had chances to stretch their lead as Burton gambled and left space at the back, but they hit the jackpot with just four minutes to play as Bent pounced from close range.
John O’Shea’s header cannoned off the underside of the crossbar in the final seconds, but the Brewers went straight up the other end and took the lead through Liam Boyce.
Sunderland had a goal disallowed in added time, but the decision went against them.
Sunderland’s tumble into the third tier caps a disastrous last two seasons on Wearside, having gone from 10 years of Premier League stability to slide into the third tier for the first time in 30 years.
Chris Coleman was brought to the club in November tasked with keeping the club in the Championship, inheriting a side bottom of the table with just one win.
Despite making improvements in terms of performances, the former Wales boss was unable to turn form around with just five league wins since his arrival.
The atmosphere at the Stadium of Light was strangely muted throughout this game, possibly as fans had eyes elsewhere on their rivals’ fates and results had largely gone their way with Bolton and Barnsley both losing.
However, their late collapse has become something of a theme, with late goals costing them points against Reading, Norwich and Leeds in recent weeks that might have helped keep them in the division.
And defeat, coupled with the fact that Burton host fourth-from-bottom Bolton next Saturday, means that the Black Cats, with two games still to play, cannot bridge the six-point gap between them and safety.
Victory for Burton, who then travel to Preston on the final day, meant Nigel Clough’s side have won back-to-back games now for only the third time this season.