West Brom were relegated from the Premier League on Tuesday following Southampton’s 1-0 win over Swansea at the Liberty Stadium, joining Stoke in the Championship next season.
Darren Moore’s side needed a draw between the Saints and Swans in south Wales to take West Brom’s fight to avoid relegation into the final day of the season on Sunday.
After more than 70 minutes of frenetic action, substitute Manolo Gabbiadini provided the decisive moment for Southampton when he reacted quickest to Charlie Austin’s parried shot in a crowded goal-mouth.
Gabbiadini had only been on the pitch for four minutes, and it was just his fifth goal of a difficult season for the Italian.
The result means Southampton move up to 16th in the table, three points clear of 18th-place Swansea, who are favourites to be the third side relegated.
Southampton’s win confirmed West Brom’s return to the Championship after eight seasons in the top-flight, with an eighth-place finish the best the Baggies managed during the 2012/13 season with Steve Clarke in charge.
West Brom’s season started well, with six points taken from a possible six after successive 1-0 wins at home to Bournemouth and away to Burnley.
However, after picking up just four points from a possible 30, Tony Pulis was sacked two days after losing 4-0 at home to Chelsea and was replaced by Gary Megson, who temporarily took charge of two games.
Alan Pardew was named permanent manager, but his arrival failed to deliver the improvement needed to guide the side away from relegation.
Pardew, who led the Baggies to an FA Cup fourth-round victory at Liverpool, only had a 2-0 home win against Brighton to show for his efforts in the Premier League.
Problems off the pitch added to the disappointment on it when a mid-season trip to Barcelona made the headlines for the wrong reasons.
Four senior players, including captain Jonny Evans and England midfielder Jake Livermore, were forced to apologise after a taxi was stolen from outside a fast-food restaurant.
On April 2, Pardew’s time was up, and he was replaced by Moore until the end of the season, becoming West Brom’s fourth manager of the campaign.
Since Moore’s appointment, West Brom have taken 11 points from a possible 15 to keep alive the hope of a great escape.