Bolton's 11-year stay in the Barclays Premier League came to an end at the Britannia Stadium after they could only manage a 2-2 draw with Stoke.
Potters striker Jon Walters equalised from the penalty spot 13 minutes from time and Bolton's agony was only deepened by the knowledge Manchester City's dramatic late victory over QPR meant a win here would have been enough.
It looked like things were going Bolton's way at the end of the first half when Mark Davies and Kevin Davies both scored fortuitous goals after Walters had given Stoke the lead in controversial circumstances.
Walters appeared to head the ball into the net seemingly out of Stoke keeper Adam Bogdan's hands, but referee Chris Foy awarded the goal before Bolton enjoyed a lucky break in the 40th minute for a priceless equaliser when Robert Huth's attempted clearance hit Davies' legs and flew into the net.
Bolton went ahead five minutes later, again in unusual circumstances. Kevin Davies mis-hit his cross, but Sorensen was badly caught out and could only help the ball into the net at his near post.
News from the Etihad Stadium, where QPR led City, had understandably subdued the Bolton fans. But Bolton's hopes suffered another huge blow in the 77th minute when Bogdan felled Peter Crouch and Walters made no mistake from the spot.