Sunderland’s downward spiral continues after the Black Cats relegation to League One was confirmed after an embarrassing defeat to relegation rivals Burton Albion
The Black Cats fell to a 2-1 defeat against the Midlands side at the Stadium of Light, demoting them to the third tier for only the second time in the club’s history.
Bolton’s 4-0 home defeat against Championship winners Wolves meant that Sunderland are six points from safety with two games to play.
But with Burton hosting Bolton next week, the defeat, courtesy of goals from Darren Bent and Liam Boyce, has confirmed that Chris Coleman’s men will be in the third tier next term.
Coleman’s side knew that they needed a victory over their relegation rivals to stand any realistic hope of survival.
And they gave themselves the best possible chance by taking the lead through former Manchester United defender-cum-midfielder Paddy McNair.
Ashley Fletcher did well to cut inside from the left and dribble beyond a couple of players.
Just when it seemed he would be stopped, he poked a pass in the direction of McNair – who drilled low from 20 yards into the centre of Bywater’s net.
But ex-Wales boss Coleman has been unable to stop the rot on Wearside and they suffered late heartbreak as the Brewers snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
Former England striker Bent, once Sunderland’s record signing and their current record sale having joined Aston Villa for £24million in 2011, stepped from the Burton bench to level with four minutes of normal time remaining.
Hope Akpan’s deflected effort was saved by Jason Steele, but Bent was on hand to nod home from close range.
Minutes later John O’Shea hit the woodwork, while Bent was denied a second by Steele.
However, Boyce glanced home a second just two minutes into added time, his effort met from the home support with boos and a chorus of "Are you watching Ellis Short?"
Sunderland had a 96th minute effort disallowed for handball by McNair, before the final blow on referee Darren England’s whistle condemned them to the drop.
Elsewhere, Wolves secured the title with a 4-0 win over Bolton Wanderers. Nuno’s side, already promoted, are two points shy of 100 for the season with games against Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland still to come.
Aston Villa similarly thrashed Ipswich at Portman Road, winning 4-0 also.
Birmingham gave their survival hopes a major boost with a 2-1 win over Sheffield United, while Middlesbrough took a big step towards a play-off place, winning 2-1 at Derby.
Millwall 0-3 Fulham (Fri)
Birmingham 2-1 Sheffield United
Bolton 0-4 Wolves
Brentford 2-1 QPR
Bristol City 5-5 Hull City
Derby 1-2 Middlesbrough
Ipswich 0-4 Aston Villa
Leeds United 2-1 Barnsley
Preston 0-0 Norwich
Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 Reading
Sunderland 1-2 Burton Albion
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