Fulham 2-2 Crystal Palace
Cauley Woodrow's first goal for Fulham and another in injury time from young sub Chris David lifted home spirits on the final day of the season – and perhaps hinted that going down need not be the end of the world.
Two goals from Palace's Dwight Gayle took some of the gloss off the young guns' efforts but at least it allowed Whites fans to drift home with a smile on the face and with some hope of bouncing back quickly into the big time.
There seemed little on for David when he took delivery of the ball outside the area, but he had a firm idea of what to do – launching a perfect left footer in off the underside of the bar to earn Fulham a point.
The 21-year-old's fine goal was matched by a composed finish from Woodrow just past the hour.
The efforts of both players was just the tonic Fulham fans needed heading into a summer which for once will not be a mere interlude in their great Premier League adventure.
And with the high-achieving youth team paraded before kick-off, this was a day when Craven Cottage inevitably began to switch thoughts to the future rather than the past.
A glimpse of rosier days came on 26 minutes when young Dutch midfielder David – on early for the injured Alex Kacaniklic - combined with Woodrow to get in behind the Palace defence and Hugo Rodallega was inches away from applying the finishing touch at the far post.
Steve Sidwell's follow-up was blocked and Kieran Richardson curled the loose ball over the bar.
Instead of galvanising Felix Magath's men, it stung Palace into action.
Only David Stockdale's trailing leg kept out Yannick Bolasie's effort after a lightning raid from Marouane Chamakh and Dwight Gayle.
But in the very next attack, a low effort from Joel Ward from outside the box was turned in by Gayle from six yards.
Fernando Amorebieta almost sneaked in an equaliser on the stroke of half-time with a far post header, but keeper Wayne Hennessey – who had earlier kept out a low drive from Kacaniklic to his near post - was equal to it.
An even better chance to score from a header fell to Rodallega early in the second half – the Colombian making a hash of an unimpeded view of the net after Amorebieta nodded back across the face of goal.
At least the striker atoned just past the hour with a good turn in the box and lay-off to Woodrow, who cut back inside Ward to strike a fine left-foot shot across Hennessey and into the net.
But this has been Gayle's week and the man whose double in midweek wrecked Liverpool's title bid hit a perfect curling free-kick around the wall to give Palace the lead once more on 83 minutes.
Scott Parker was guilty of conceding the set piece with a tackle from behind on sub Glenn Murray that earned him a yellow card.
Murray hit the bar in a counter-attack as the Whites tried to salvage a point – sub Jason Puncheon having led the charge.
But it was not quite the last word – David ensuring that fans making their way home through Bishop's Park after this final game of an amazing era could dream of happy days returning soon.
Line up: Stockdale; Zverotic (Dejagah 50), Heitinga, Hangeland, Amorebieta; Kacaniklic (David 23), Sidwell, Parker, Richardson (Tunicliffe 79); Rodallega, Woodrow. Subs not used: Joronen, Kasami, Mitroglou, Williams. Attendance: 24,447