Doncaster’s final day disaster at Leicester summed up their season, according to boss Paul Dickov.
Rovers kept the Championship champions at bay for 75 minutes before James Husband’s reckless tackle on Riyad Mahrez gave David Nugent the chance to win it from the spot.
Rovers’ 1-0 defeat, combined with Birmingham’s stoppage time equaliser at Bolton, sealed Rovers’immediate return to League One.
Dickov said: “It’s difficult to put it into words.
“We’re all gutted.
“It was everybody’s aim to keep us in the division but we’ve just come up a little bit short.
“We can look at the result today and the results elsewhere, but it’s over the course of a season.
“More often than not you probably deserve to be where you are at the end of the season.
“It wasn’t through a lack of effort from my players, the club, the fans or anybody,” he added.
“It’s just really disappointing.”
Dickov threw in a curve ball with his team selection by recalling James Husband and Lucas Neill as part of a back five in an attempt to keep the Foxes at bay.
He later threw on fit-again Harry Forrester and Billy Sharp in serch of an equaliser but it proved to be too little too late.
“We were resolute in what we wanted to do,” said Dickov.
“We had a job to do and I thought tactically, for the majority of the game, the players were outstanding.
“When you give the penalty away and hear scores from elsewhere we tried to get attacking players on the pitch but it’s difficult when Birmingham equalise as late as they did.
“Maybe today just summed up our season a little bit - just coming up that little bit short.”