Match ends, Stoke City 2, Sheffield United 2.
Stoke City 2-2 Sheffield United: Blades come back to rescue a point
Promoted Sheffield United missed out on the Championship title after Norwich won at Aston Villa, but the Blades ended the season well by twice coming from behind at draw specialists Stoke.
The Potters twice looked on course for what would have been a first win in six matches, first through Sam Vokes' 19th-minute right foot volley, then again when home skipper Ryan Shawcross scored from close range on 69 minutes.
But half-time substitute Kieran Dowell was first to level five minutes after coming on at the break.
Then full-back Enda Stevens drilled home a low left-foot shot, his fifth goal of season (and fourth in six games) stretched the second-placed Blades' late season run to just one defeat in 18 matches.
It also condemned Stoke to a 22nd draw of the campaign - a fifth successive home draw for the Potters, who have had to share the spoils in over half their league games (11 out of 21) since Nathan Jones took over in January.
No team outside the top six has lost fewer games than Stoke but this season has been killed by all their draws, which have left them 16th - 34 points off the second of the two automatic promotion places, occupied by the visitors - and 19 off a play-off place.
It looked hopeful for them when Vokes volleyed in his seventh club goal of season - but only his third for Stoke - to earn a 1-0 half-time lead.
But the Blades got a lift from a double half-time substitution which brought on John Lundstram and Dowell for Oliver Norwood and Mark Duffy.
The response was swift as John Fleck set up Dowell for a left-foot shot into the bottom right corner.
Shawcross, who had survived an earlier handball shout against him in his own penalty area, then latched onto Tom Ince's cross to restore Stoke's lead - a far-post side-foot volley for his first home goal in more than two years.
But Stevens' well-struck shot was too fast for Jack Butland's dive to his left. And that at least ended the season positively for the Blades, despite news of Norwich's late winner at Villa Park.
The Blades would have had to have won and the Canaries lost for one final swing at the top of the table.
But Chris Wilder's low-budget side can be content that they were at least one of the seven sides to top the division over the course of the season, back in October.
They even had a great chance to go back top on 8 February but that ended unhappily at Villa Park when, 3-0 up with just eight minutes left, they blew it when Villa scored three times.
Stoke City manager Nathan Jones:
"It was a different kind of draw to what we have had. In the first half, we were excellent. Sheffield United changed in the second half for us which is a massive compliment.
"But it is a glimpse of what we will achieve and what we will turn into. We were on the front foot. We were very positive.
"We've had a tough season. It has been a tough season in choices I have had to make, what I've been through.
"I sacrificed a promotion at Luton to come here as it was a big job. We've made great inroads and I'm excited as to what we can achieve."
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder:
"It was a tough one for the players after the emotions of last weekend as well as drinking every pub in Sheffield dry for the last four days.
"In the first half it didn't go for us but we were up against some really good players who want to end the season on a high, so we knew it was going to be a tough afternoon.
"In the second half, we were more like it. We epitomised what we are about. The result is the right result as far as I am concerned. We didn't do enough to win.
"Congratulations to Daniel Farke and Norwich City. It has been a thrilling race between us, Norwich and Leeds. I've always said the best team wins the Championship and we are delighted and proud to be joining them in the Premier League."
- 15Martins IndiSubstituted forAfobeat 59'minutes
- 38WoodsBooked at 57minsSubstituted forAdamat 88'minutes
- 7InceSubstituted forBojanat 82'minutes
- 6BashamSubstituted forMadineat 72'minutes
- 16NorwoodSubstituted forLundstramat 45'minutes
- 4FleckBooked at 43mins
- 21DuffySubstituted forDowellat 45'minutes
- Geoff Eltringham
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Stoke City 2, Sheffield United 2.
Attempt blocked. Bojan (Stoke City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.
Attempt saved. Benik Afobe (Stoke City) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Sam Vokes.
Attempt blocked. Charlie Adam (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt saved. Kieran Dowell (Sheffield United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by George Baldock.
Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by John Lundstram.
Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by John Egan.
Substitution, Stoke City. Charlie Adam replaces Ryan Woods.
Bojan (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by John Lundstram (Sheffield United).
Substitution, Stoke City. Bojan replaces Tom Ince.
Peter Etebo (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by David McGoldrick (Sheffield United).
Sam Vokes (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by John Egan (Sheffield United).
Benik Afobe (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Jack O'Connell (Sheffield United).
Hand ball by Enda Stevens (Sheffield United).
Goal! Stoke City 2, Sheffield United 2. Enda Stevens (Sheffield United) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Billy Sharp.
Attempt missed. David McGoldrick (Sheffield United) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by John Fleck.
Attempt missed. David McGoldrick (Sheffield United) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Gary Madine.
Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Ryan Shawcross.
Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Jack Butland.
Attempt saved. John Fleck (Sheffield United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Jack Butland.
Attempt saved. David McGoldrick (Sheffield United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Enda Stevens with a cross.
Substitution, Sheffield United. Gary Madine replaces Chris Basham.
Goal! Stoke City 2, Sheffield United 1. Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the top left corner. Assisted by Tom Ince with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Enda Stevens.
Attempt blocked. Peter Etebo (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ryan Woods.
Attempt missed. Tom Ince (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Benik Afobe.
Foul by Joe Allen (Stoke City).
Chris Basham (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Stoke City. Benik Afobe replaces Bruno Martins Indi.
Ryan Woods (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
David McGoldrick (Sheffield United) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Ryan Woods (Stoke City).
Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Danny Batth.
Jack O'Connell (Sheffield United) wins a free kick on the left wing.