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."