HARTLEPOOL United have tonight been relegated from League One.
Oldham Athletic’s 1-0 win over Yeovil Town confirmed their demotion after six seasons – a club record – in the third tier.
The Latics victory moves them eight points clear of John Hughes’ side, who have just two matches remaining.
It means Pools will run out at Victoria Park in front of the live television cameras against Brentford on Saturday tea-time knowing they are headed for League Two next season.
Back-to-back victories over Bury and Tranmere Rovers in recent matches had renewed hope of escaping the drop.
But Pools had left themselves with too much to do following a campaign which, save for a seven-match unbeaten run over late January and February, had been littered with sorry performances and heavy defeats.
Neale Cooper had begun the campaign in the hotseat but he resigned following a 2-1 loss at Bury in October which saw Pools slump into bottom position - it was a lowly berth they were to occupy until February.
John Hughes, arriving from Livingston, was unveiled in November and, by the time he celebrated his first victory at Sheffield United in late December, Pools had gone 22 matches without a win.
They would never emerge from the relegation zone and the club must now start planning for life in League Two.