LONDON (REUTERS) - Stoke City were relegated from the Premier League on Saturday after their dismal season culminated in them giving up a first-half lead against Crystal Palace before succumbing to a 2-1 defeat.
The Potters had to win to give themselves the faintest hope of maintaining their 10-year stay in the top tier of the English game but Paul Lambert's ailing side, who have not won in 13 league matches, went down to a late Patrick van Aanholt goal.
Xherdan Shaqiri had given Stoke hope with a deflected 43rd- minute free kick, only for James McArthur to equalise midway through the second half after a slick counter-attack.
Then, as Palace piled on the pressure, Van Aanholt struck four minutes from time as Stoke's worst run in the top flight for 34 years continued and Roy Hodgson's Palace could celebrate another year of Premier League football.
In a post-game television interview, Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross said: "It didn't happen over one game. We've not been good enough all season.
"The fans were brilliant, even at the end. They were still cheering us on, which shows their dedication. We've had a right go, but for whatever reason we've not got the goals we needed and that's cost us.
"The last goal was my fault, and I hold my hands up. But we will be back. The club have got a lot of big decisions to make. If we keep our players - and we've got a good manager - we'll be back and hopefully will come back strong."