Defeats for Tranmere Rovers and Cheltenham Town saw them relegated from League Two on Saturday, while Shrewsbury Town sealed an immediate return to the third tier by beating the latter.
Rovers’ 94-year stay in the League was ended in a 3-2 loss to Plymouth Argyle – who took a huge step towards securing a play-off berth – while Cheltenham’s 1-0 loss to Shrewsbury saw Micky Mellon’s men take the title race to the last day.
Shrewsbury trail leaders Burton Albion – 3-1 winners at home to Northampton Town – by two points with a game to go.
It was Hartlepool United’s 2-1 win over Exeter City that sealed the fate of the bottom two, as Ronnie Moore completed the great escape.
Hartlepool were 10 points adrift of safety when Moore – a former Tranmere boss – took the job, but they now boast an insurmountable advantage over second bottom Cheltenham.
Southend United climbed into the third automatic promotion spot with a 1-0 victory over Luton Town, Michael Timlin netting the winner despite team-mate Ben Coker having seen red.
That meant Wycombe Wanderers slipped out of the top three as they were beaten 1-0 at home by Morecambe, while Bury also jumped above them courtesy of a 2-0 win over AFC Wimbledon.
Newport County were 2-0 winners at York City, but, like Luton, their inferior goal difference makes catching Plymouth unlikely.
One side who did secure a top-six spot was Stevenage, who overcame Carlisle United 1-0.
Elsewhere, Dagenham and Redbridge thrashed Accrington Stanley 4-0, Portsmouth beat Mansfield Town 2-1, and Oxford United saw off Cambridge United 2-0.
Barnet will be joining those sides in League Two next season, having won the Conference title with a last-day 2-0 home success against last year’s beaten play-off finalists Gateshead.