Cardiff City were relegated from the Barclays Premier League with a 3-0 defeat at Newcastle United on Saturday.
The Welsh club needed three points at St James' Park to have any chance of preventing an immediate return to the Championship. But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men rarely looked like claiming victory, with Sunderland's 1-0 success at Manchester United confirming their demotion. A first-half header from Shola Ameobi and late goals from Loic Remy and Steven Taylor secured Newcastle's win.
Cardiff, who were without Gary Medel, Mats Moller Daehli and Kevin Theophile-Catherine due to illness, almost made an ideal start inside the first five minutes, Fraizer Campbell volleying narrowly wide from the edge of the area after Tim Krul had punched a cross straight into his path. Both sides struggled to create chances early on, but defender Mathieu Debuchy twice came close to giving Newcastle the lead.
However, the hosts did go ahead after 17 minutes, Ameobi meeting Moussa Sissoko's right-wing cross at the far post with a fine diving header that flew past Marshall. Sissoko was heavily involved again as Newcastle narrowly missed out on doubling their advantage just two minutes later, with the midfielder's low deflected effort hitting a post.
Cardiff's main threat came through Wilfried Zaha, who would have levelled matters if not for a great reaction save from Krul, the Dutchman sticking out a leg to preserve Newcastle's lead after the on-loan forward had worked his way into the area.
Each team made a change during the half-time interval, with former Newcastle striker Craig Bellamy replacing Kim Bo-kyung for Cardiff, while Massadio Haidara took the place of Paul Dummett at left-back for the hosts. But Bellamy's introduction failed to turn the game in the visitors' favour, and Cardiff were fortunate not to fall further behind as Mike Williamson saw an effort deflect just wide of a post.
The visitors found life in latter stages as they pressed for an equaliser. First a point-blank save from Krul denied substitute Kenywne Jones a leveller, and Newcastle's lead was kept intact in spectacular fashion moments later as captain Fabricio Coloccini brilliantly cleared Aron Gunnarsson's effort off the line.
Cardiff's fate was sealed three minutes from time when Remy finished off a Newcastle counter-attack after collecting Sissoko's deflected pass. Pardew's men then added a third in stoppage-time when substitute Taylor bundled the ball in from Remy's header following good work down the right from Dan Gosling.
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew said: “Cardiff have got some good players. They had to give it a go and we had to stand up to that.
“We had to show some tremendous character – it was a strange atmosphere in the stadium and it wasn’t great for the players. But they were superb, it was a difficult environment.”
“Our fans are frustrated. I don’t say this lightly: they’re the best fans in the world but their upset.
“We need to respond to that as a club and look at a couple of things. Certainly on the playing side we need to recruit in the summer and make ourselves stronger for next season.”
Cardiff City manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: "The attitude and commitment the players put in the game, they didn't deserve to lose. They are a fantastic bunch who gave everything to the cause. I thought we played really well, we created great chances but just didn't take them. It's about showing character and bouncing back again next season."