Match ends, Cardiff City 3, Hull City 0.
Cardiff City 3-0 Hull City: Cardiff cruise to play-offs and Hull relegated
Cardiff City reached the Championship play-offs with a comfortable 3-0 win that consigns Hull City to League One.
An early goal from Junior Hoilett put the Bluebirds ahead and Sean Morrison's free header from a corner gave them a 2-0 half time lead that could have been more.
The Bluebirds, who might have had a penalty given against them with the score at 1-0, added a third in the second half when Danny Ward controlled and fired past Long after he could only parry Lee Tomlin's free-kick.
The win means Cardiff finish fifth and will play Fulham in the play-offs with the first leg at the Cardiff City Stadium on Monday, 27 July and the return game at Craven Cottage on Thursday, July 30, while Hull finish bottom of the Championship.
While Hull entered this contest seemingly doomed to relegation, it seems likely the issue of who drops into League One at the end of the longest season will be settled in a court room or by administrators, rather than on a football pitch.
However, the visitors knew they would need to win to stand any chance of an unlikely revival, while the Bluebirds simply needed a point to guarantee a play-off spot that seemed extremely unlikely when Neil Harris took over in November with Cardiff 14th in the division.
Harris' side started the game with an intensity that suggested they would not merely look to contain the visitors and they might have scored twice inside the opening five minutes through striker Robert Glatzel.
He forced George Long to tip over from 25 yards inside the first minute, before racing clear and rounding Long, only to miss the target from a narrow angle after Lee Tomlin's superb through ball.
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing also fired over as Cardiff looked to exert pressure, but Hull, unlike in recent matches, looked compact and resolute.
Glatzel again tested Long with a looping header from Joe Bennett's cross, before the pressure finally told and Hoilett crashed home an angled drive after a fine run down the left touchline.
It was easy to wonder at this point just how many Cardiff might score, but actually it was the visitors who perhaps should have been level when Malik Wilks twisted away from Bennett who clearly fouled the Hull man in the penalty area, only for referee James Linington to wave away the furious Hull protests.
The penalty reprieve sparked Cardiff and it was not long afterwards they went 2-0 up with an unforgivably easy goal as Morrison rose unmarked to head home Joe Ralls' corner.
It could have been 3-0 before the break but Long impressively denied Mendez-Laing as he ran clear, saving from close range.
The Tigers tried their best to find a goal to get them back into things and they threatened on 53 minutes, but Morrison blocked James Scott's effort and Alex Smithies produced a fingertip save to deny Wilks.
Cardiff drifted in the second period, perhaps understandably for a side with an eye on the play-offs, and Hull did show some fighting spirits, but six successive defeats to end the season proved to be fatal to their hopes of avoiding the drop.
They shaded the second half before Ward's thumping finish added gloss to the finish on another incredible final day of drama in the Championship.
Cardiff City manager Neil Harris told BBC Sport Wales:
"There was a little bit of nervousness. But it was another professional job from us.
"Robert Glatzel should have had the match ball at half-time, but Hull kept fighting.
"It's a great credit to the group to have made it, though.
"It's a huge achievement. I am fully aware every bit of praise for myself and my staff has been earned. I came in as not a huge name and I had to prove myself every week.
"I would have liked our fans to have been there tonight. We would have had a sell-out tonight and they would have carried us through. They deserve a special mention."
Hull City manager Grant McCann said:
"It has been disappointing for a few months really. It has been really frustrating.
"Now we need to regroup and work hard to try and get back and re-build.
"League One is a difficult division, but that has to be the aim.
"The owners have been brilliant with me and I hope I get the chance to stay with the club. I know League One inside out and I believe I am the right man.
"The club gives the players and the staff everything we need and we just haven't repaid them.
"People look at the club like it's in crisis, but bigger clubs than Hull have gone down to League One."
- 8RallsSubstituted forPatersonat 85'minutes
- 19Mendez-LaingSubstituted forMurphyat 72'minutes
- 17TomlinSubstituted forB Smithat 85'minutes
- 33HoilettSubstituted forVaulksat 63'minutes
- 9GlatzelSubstituted forWardat 72'minutes
- 24B Smith
- 37Da Silva Lopes
- 26ElderSubstituted forMcLoughlinat 75'minutes
- 18HoneymanSubstituted forToralat 59'minutes
- 44ScottSubstituted forLewis-Potterat 59'minutes
- 9EavesSubstituted forSamuelsenat 59'minutes
- James Linington
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Cardiff City 3, Hull City 0.
Offside, Hull City. Kevin Stewart tries a through ball, but Mallik Wilks is caught offside.
Attempt blocked. Martin Samuelsen (Hull City) header from very close range is blocked. Assisted by Kevin Stewart with a cross.
Foul by Callum Paterson (Cardiff City).
Angus MacDonald (Hull City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Callum Paterson (Cardiff City).
Sean McLoughlin (Hull City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Keane Lewis-Potter (Hull City) with an attempt from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Martin Samuelsen.
Foul by Will Vaulks (Cardiff City).
Jon Toral (Hull City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Marlon Pack (Cardiff City) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a set piece situation.
Callum Paterson (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Leonardo Da Silva Lopes (Hull City).
Offside, Hull City. Daniel Batty tries a through ball, but Mallik Wilks is caught offside.
Substitution, Cardiff City. Callum Paterson replaces Joe Ralls.
Substitution, Cardiff City. Brad Smith replaces Lee Tomlin.
Offside, Hull City. Ryan Tafazolli tries a through ball, but Keane Lewis-Potter is caught offside.
Goal! Cardiff City 3, Hull City 0. Danny Ward (Cardiff City) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner following a set piece situation.
Attempt saved. Joe Bennett (Cardiff City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.