Sheffield United shared the spoils with Exeter and failed to steal the final automatic promotion spot in League One from rivals Sheffield Wednesday.

The visitors went behind to Alan Gow's 25-yard strike before James Beattie saw red for a challenge on James Dunne.

Lee Williamson levelled the score and Kevin McDonald's drive made it 2-1.

Scot Bennett headed in a late equaliser for the relegated Grecians, and with Wednesday beating Wycombe, Blades must settle for a play-off place.

Danny Wilson's side were relying on their bitter rivals to falter, but the Owls' 2-0 win means United finished in third and will face Stevenage in the two-legged semi-finals.

Their chances of claiming second looked out of reach early on when Exeter went in front through Gow's sublime volley from the corner of the penalty box.

They then lost Beattie for his two-footed lunge on Dunne but, despite a numerical disadvantage, United stepped up their game and Williamson brought them level as he swept home from Matthew Lowton's cross.

The Blades took the lead two minutes into the second half when McDonald's long-range shot took a huge deflection and wrong-footed home keeper Artur Krysiak.

Exeter managed an equaliser deep into injury time when substitute Bennett headed in after Guillem Bauza's effort had been saved.

VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale told BBC Radio Devon:

"I'm more than happy with our performance, it's nice to have gone undefeated in the final game of the season.

"We're all sorry we've gone down but we're also very respectful of the way the club chooses to go about its business and how healthy it is.

"I still think we could've done better this season, there's things I would've done differently perhaps.

"I'm not at all ashamed of the fact we've been relegated, in fact I'm very proud of the club, our discipline and the way we've played our football."

Sheffield United manager Danny Wilson told BBC Radio Sheffield:

"I thought the sending off was very harsh.

"I think referees up and down the country have got to understand there was a big stake involved today

"To go through a committed challenge like James did today, I don't think there was anything wrong with it.

"But it showed what character we have got we've sat their for 70-odd minutes with 10 men, got out noses in front and we've defended brilliantly."

Lineup, Bookings (8) & Substitutions (6)

Exeter City

  • 01 Krysiak
  • 02 Tully
  • 03 Jones
  • 05 Archibald-Henville
  • 27 Baldwin (Duffy - 65' )
  • 04 Dunne Booked (Bennett - 48' Booked )
  • 07 Sercombe
  • 08 Noble
  • 10 Nardiello Booked
  • 19 O'Flynn (Bauza - 67' )
  • 36 Gow Booked

Substitutes

  • 40 Pidgeley
  • 06 Duffy
  • 23 Fortune
  • 26 Bennett
  • 21 Bauza

Sheffield United

  • 01 Simonsen Booked
  • 02 Lowton
  • 15 Collins
  • 16 Taylor
  • 19 Maguire
  • 08 Doyle Booked
  • 11 Flynn (Quinn - 81' )
  • 14 Williamson Booked (Hill - 85' )
  • 27 McDonald
  • 10 Beattie Dismissed
  • 17 Cresswell (Porter - 67' )

Substitutes

  • 13 Howard
  • 32 Hill
  • 28 Quinn
  • 21 Porter
  • 29 O'Halloran
Ref: Linington
Att: 6,045

Match Stats

Shots

11 7

On target

6 6

Corners

4 5

Fouls

13 10

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:39 Full time

Full Time The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.

90:00 +2:55 Goal scored

Goal! - Scot Bennett - Exeter 2 - 2 Sheff Utd Scot Bennett grabs a headed goal from close range. Exeter 2-2 Sheff Utd.

90:00 +1:50

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Chris Porter by Troy Archibald-Henville. Free kick taken by Harry Maguire.

90:00 +1:15

David Noble produces a left-footed effort from long distance that goes harmlessly over the bar.

90:00 +0:25

Guillem Bauza produces a right-footed shot from inside the box and strikes the post.

89:01

David Noble takes a shot. Steve Simonsen makes a save.

88:27

Foul by Chris Porter on Richard Duffy, free kick awarded. Richard Duffy restarts play with the free kick.

87:56

Alan Gow is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Steve Simonsen.

87:00

Billy Jones takes a shot. Save by Steve Simonsen.

85:48

Chris Porter is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Steve Simonsen takes the free kick.

84:21

Steve Simonsen takes the direct free kick.

84:21 Substitution

Substitution Matthew Hill is brought on as a substitute for Lee Williamson.

84:21

Matthew Lowton fouled by Steve Tully, the ref awards a free kick.

80:36 Substitution

Substitution Stephen Quinn joins the action as a substitute, replacing Ryan Flynn.

78:28

Kevin McDonald takes a shot. Save made by Artur Krysiak.

77:50

Corner from the right by-line taken by Lee Williamson, Neill Collins takes a shot. Save made by Artur Krysiak.

77:17

Steve Simonsen takes the free kick.

77:17 Booking

Booking Scot Bennett shown a yellow card.

76:55

Scot Bennett concedes a free kick for a foul on Lee Williamson.

75:38

Unfair challenge on Lee Williamson by Daniel Nardiello results in a free kick. Steve Simonsen restarts play with the free kick.

74:21

David Noble challenges Ryan Flynn unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Andy Taylor.

72:24

Billy Jones fouled by Lee Williamson, the ref awards a free kick. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Billy Jones, Michael Doyle manages to make a clearance.

69:48

Steve Simonsen restarts play with the free kick.

69:48 Booking

Booking Alan Gow receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.

69:42

Alan Gow challenges Lee Williamson unfairly and gives away a free kick.

66:21

Indirect free kick taken by Troy Archibald-Henville.

66:21 Substitution

Substitution Chris Porter joins the action as a substitute, replacing Richard Cresswell.

66:21 Substitution

Substitution John O'Flynn leaves the field to be replaced by Guillem Bauza.

66:21

The referee blows for offside against Richard Cresswell.

64:46 Substitution

Substitution Richard Duffy joins the action as a substitute, replacing Pat Baldwin.

60:57

Kevin McDonald challenges David Noble unfairly and gives away a free kick. Pat Baldwin takes the direct free kick.

55:41

Daniel Nardiello challenges Lee Williamson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Steve Simonsen takes the free kick.

52:42

David Noble takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, Michael Doyle makes a clearance.

52:22

David Noble decides to take a short corner.

51:41

Richard Cresswell has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide right of the target.

48:57

Alan Gow concedes a free kick for a foul on Lee Williamson. Harry Maguire takes the direct free kick.

47:30 Substitution

Substitution Scot Bennett on for James Dunne.

46:40 Goal scored

Goal! - Kevin McDonald - Exeter 1 - 2 Sheff Utd A goal is scored by Kevin McDonald from just outside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Exeter 1-2 Sheff Utd.

45:01

The game restarts for the second half.

45:00 +3:47 Half time

Half Time The first half comes to an end.

45:00 +3:17

Free kick taken by Neill Collins.

45:00 +3:17 Booking

Booking Steve Simonsen is booked.

45:00 +2:48 Booking

Booking James Dunne is cautioned.

45:00 +2:43

Free kick awarded for a foul by James Dunne on Michael Doyle.

43:34

Assist by Matthew Lowton.

43:34 Goal scored

Goal! - Lee Williamson - Exeter 1 - 1 Sheff Utd Lee Williamson grabs a goal from inside the penalty area low into the middle of the goal. Exeter 1-1 Sheff Utd.

42:13

Free kick awarded for a foul by John O'Flynn on Harry Maguire. Steve Simonsen takes the free kick.

41:15

Kevin McDonald fouled by James Dunne, the ref awards a free kick. Neill Collins takes the free kick.

39:52

Andy Taylor gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Liam Sercombe. Free kick taken by Steve Tully.

38:07

Troy Archibald-Henville restarts play with the free kick.

38:07 Booking

Booking The referee books Michael Doyle for unsporting behaviour.

36:46 Dismissal

Dismissal The referee red cards James Beattie for professional foul.

36:42 Booking

Booking The referee shows Daniel Nardiello a yellow card.

36:35

Foul by James Beattie on James Dunne, free kick awarded.

35:34

Lee Williamson takes a shot. Artur Krysiak makes a save.

34:47

Corner taken right-footed by Lee Williamson, Harry Maguire takes a shot. Save by Artur Krysiak.

33:56

Harry Maguire challenges Alan Gow unfairly and gives away a free kick. David Noble takes the free kick.

31:05

Corner from right by-line taken by Pat Baldwin.

30:52

Daniel Nardiello takes a shot. Blocked by Lee Williamson.

28:20

Short corner worked by Lee Williamson.

27:06

Left-footed shot by Alan Gow went wide right of the post.

23:38

Assist by David Noble.

23:38 Goal scored

Goal! - Alan Gow - Exeter 1 - 0 Sheff Utd A goal is scored by Alan Gow from outside the box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Exeter 1-0 Sheff Utd.

22:39

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Pat Baldwin by Richard Cresswell. Free kick taken by Artur Krysiak.

20:37

Andy Taylor is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Billy Jones.

15:30

Alan Gow concedes a free kick for a foul on Michael Doyle. Michael Doyle restarts play with the free kick.

14:37

Corner taken by Lee Williamson played to the near post.

12:06

Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Lee Williamson from the left by-line, Pat Baldwin makes a clearance.

9:47

David Noble has an effort direct from the free kick.

9:47 Booking

Booking Lee Williamson is shown a yellow card.

9:32

Lee Williamson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on David Noble.

8:38

Billy Jones takes a corner.

8:24

Daniel Nardiello takes a shot. Blocked by Kevin McDonald.

6:55

The official flags Daniel Nardiello offside. Free kick taken by Steve Simonsen.

6:05

Michael Doyle gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Alan Gow. David Noble restarts play with the free kick.

4:28

David Noble produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty area which goes wide of the right-hand post.

2:06

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ryan Flynn by Steve Tully. Andy Taylor restarts play with the free kick.

1:17

The official flags Pat Baldwin offside. Indirect free kick taken by Steve Simonsen.

0:47

Unfair challenge on Alan Gow by Michael Doyle results in a free kick. David Noble takes the free kick.

0:00

The game kicks-off.

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