Doncaster were relegated from the npower Championship after a dramatic 4-3 loss to fellow strugglers Portsmouth on Saturday afternoon.
The bottom side looked like earning at least a temporary reprieve as they opened up a 2-0 lead at the Keepmoat Stadium with goals from Habib Beye and Fabien Robert inside the opening five minutes. But all began to go wrong as Beye conceded the first of two penalties early in the second half to earn a red card.
Portsmouth themselves remain seven points off safety with just nine points to play for while the other side in the bottom three, Coventry, could only manage a 1-1 draw at Burnley. Charlie Austin gave the Clarets a 20th-minute lead at Turf Moor with the Sky Blues, who are four points from the crucial 21st place, replying through Clive Platt.
At the other end of the table West Ham tightened their grip on third place with a 6-0 hammering of play-off hopefuls Brighton. Ricardo Vaz Te set up victory with two goals inside the opening eight minutes and completed his hat-trick just after the hour while Kevin Nolan and Carlton Cole struck and Gary Dicker turned into his own net in the second half.
Liam Lawrence struck for Cardiff after 69 minutes to secure a 1-0 victory at Barnsley while Blackpool's trip to Nottingham Forest ended in a goalless stalemate.
Birmingham had to come from behind to claim a point and a 2-2 draw with Bristol City at St Andrews. The Robins led through Stephen Pearson and Jon Stead but Marlon King and Nikola Zigic secured the draw.
Middlesbrough kept their play-off hopes alive with a 1-0 win at Derby thanks to a Curtis Main strike 10 minutes from time while Jason Scotland cancelled out a Chris Martin goal as Ipswich came from behind to draw 1-1 at Crystal Palace.