Everton 2 West Bromwich Albion 2
And so West Bromwich Albion kiss goodbye to the Barclays Premiership with a result that sums up their tortured existence in England's top flight.
Two goals up and seemingly set for a rare victory, they allowed Everton to score twice in the final five minutes and end the season with more disappointment.
Zoltan Gera and Williams Martinez scored for Albion but, had it not been for the performance of Tomasz Kuszczak, the Poland international goalkeeper, Everton would have won. But Kuszczak could not stop Victor Anichebe pulling a goal back and Duncan Ferguson equalising.
When the Albion players went towards the small but enthusiastic band of Albion supporters near to the Park End, one was reminded of the unity that sets this club apart from many of their contemporaries. But the failure to win was a reminder of why Albion are bound for the Football League.
They are not good enough for the Premiership. When it mattered, they were found wanting. The Premiership table does not lie and Albion finished in 19th position, way off the pace.
Robson selected a team designed to win, rather than pander to sentiment. It meant that Andy Johnson and Kevin Campbell, two of their most experienced players, were unable to end their Albion careers by playing in the club's final Premiership match.
The youthful enthusiasm initially served Albion well. No longer constrained by the pressure of a relegation battle, they dispensed with the impetuousness that had made the previous three months such a wretched period and, surprisingly, exuded confidence.
It was this confidence that enabled Gera, the Hungary international captain, to open the scoring in the 14th minute. The cross by Jonathan Greening from the left was good but nothing compared to the finish by Gera, who somehow managed to slide in and half-volley the ball home from close range.
But Gera was not Albion's most impressive player in the first half. That man was Kuszczak, who made four fine saves - each from Kevin Kilbane, the former Albion winger - to ensure that the visitors preserved their lead at half-time.
One wonders how different the Premiership table might have been if Albion had been able to play with such urgency in previous weeks when the points were more important. For now, as Robson stated, Albion were really beginning their preparations for the 2006-07 season in the Coca-Cola Championship.
How appropriate, then, that Albion should double their lead in the 47th minute. If the name of the scorer, Williams Martinez, was a surprise, it was only in keeping with the nature of a strange spring afternoon here on Merseyside. A corner by Greening was headed on by Gera and Martinez, a defender of whom little was known prior to the match, emerged at the far post to volley home.
There was little doubt that Everton were controlling the match in terms of possession but their wastefulness, borne partly of Albion's organisation at the back, inspired frustration among home supporters.
And if the feature of the first half was Kuszczak's ability to save everything that Kilbane threw at him, the feature of the second was how the goalkeeper seemed to save everything that James McFadden threw at him.
Twice when McFadden seemed set to score, Kuzczak denied him. The goalkeeper also saved well when Ferguson's header appeared goal-bound.
Like Curtis Davies, Paul Robinson, Gera and other Albion players, Kuszczak is too good for the Championship. It was a marvellous performance by him.
As a team, however, Albion were never consistent enough and nor could they prove their ability in front of goal when it mattered.
The same could be said of Everton, who, by their standards of the previous season, performed relatively poorly during the 2005-06 campaign. They deservedly pulled a goal back in the 85th minute when Anichebe slid the ball through the legs of Kuszczak.
Everton secured the point they deserved in the final minute. Kuszczak brilliantly saved Ferguson's penalty awarded after Martinez brought down Mikel Arteta but the Everton striker fired home the rebound from close range. Everton's performance was such that Albion did not deserve to win. But Kuszczak deserved more than a draw. ..SUPL: