SHEFFIELD United saw their faint play-off hopes dashed as they could only manage a goalless draw away at relegation-threatened Tranmere.
Nigel Clough’s men needed to win all of their remaining games to be in with a chance of pinching sixth place, but Peterborough’s 4-1 win over Carlisle meant that a draw was not enough.
The visitors had freshened things up with five changes from the side that beat Stevenage on Friday, and in a game of relatively few chances, substitute Jose Baxter mustered the Blades’ only shot on target late on.
United could have gone behind early on, and had goalkeeper Mark Howard to thank after he made a smart save to deny Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro’s strike from the edge of the box. Rovers lost the lively Akpa-Akpro to injury after just 19 minutes, but they continued to pile on the pressure as Ryan Lowe hit the woodwork and failed to convert the follow-up, before just missing the target with a long-range effort.
Clough made two changes at half-time in a bid to liven up the game but it was the home side who displayed most of the attacking intent, going close through Ash Taylor and Jake Cassidy.
Blades boss Nigel Clough said: “I’m disappointed we’ve missed out, but we gave it everything.”
Tranmere: Williams, Holmes, Taylor, Pennington, Ridehalgh (Rowe), Brown, Jennings, Power, Akpa-Akpro (Kirby), Lowe, Cassidy (Stockton). Unused substitutes: Morris, Boland, Arthurworrey, Mooney.
Sheffield United: Howard, Brayford, Maguire (Freeman), Collins, Hill, McGinn (Doyle), Coady, Dimaio, Davies, Porter (Baxter), Murphy. Unused substitutes: Flynn, Paynter, Long, Kennedy.
Referee: Steve Martin
Man of the match: Mark Howard.