Hull promoted after dramatic Championship finale
Updated: Saturday, 04 May 2013 22:10
Republic of Ireland international Paul McShane was the hero for Hull City as his goal helped secure a 2-2 draw with champions Cardiff City, enough to see the Tigers secure automatic promotion to the Premier League.
Current internationals Robbie Brady and David Meyler also started for Hull.
At the other end of the table, Wolves, with Kevin Doyle, Stephen Hunt, Kevin Foley and Stephen Ward on their books, lost 2-0 at Brighton and suffer their second successive relegation.
Hull were forced to wait 20 minutes before their fate was determined.
Steve Bruce's men were unable to secure the three points against the champions which would have guaranteed them second spot, yet they had a helping hand from Yorkshire rivals Leeds who beat third-placed Watford 2-1.
With just minutes to go in the Tigers' game, they were heading up against the 10-man Bluebirds yet an incredible finale with one red card, two penalties and a mini pitch-invasion left the door open for Gianfranco Zola's 10 men at Vicarage Road.
However, with their clash delayed due to an injury, they were unable to score the goal which would have sent them into the top flight and it was Ross McCormack who scored instead to give Leeds a 2-1 win and send the Tigers into delirium.
Former Hull loanee Fraizer Campbell had threatened to derail the Tigers' hopes by breaking the deadlock just after half-time, but two goals in five minutes through Nick Proschwitz and Paul McShane looked to have turned Hull's entire season back around.
Andrew Taylor was then sent off before Proschwitz had a penalty, which would surely have guaranteed promotion, saved.
Instead, Nicky Maynard earned Cardiff a share of the spoils from the penalty spot although matters at Vicarage Road would ultimately transpire in Hull's favour.
Watford ended in third on 77 and go into the play-offs, where they will be joined by Brighton and Hove Albion, Crystal Palace and Leicester City.
Leicester sneaked into the top six with a stunning late 3-2 victory at East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest who had started the day with hopes of earning a play-off place.
Anthony Knockaert's stoppage-time winner took Leicester to 68 points, enough to oust Bolton Wanderers, who were in sixth place at kickoff. Bolton came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at home to Blackpool, but it was not enough.
Brighton sent Wolverhampton Wanderers down to League One with a 2-0 home win, and Palace came from behind with two goals in the last seven minutes to relegate Peterborough with another remarkable 3-2 victory.
Bottom club Bristol City, who were already relegated, lost 4-1 to Charlton Athletic.