Ivan Toney scored his 30th Sky Bet Championship goal of the season as Brentford beat Premier League-bound Watford 2-0.
The Championship's top marksman netted a second-half penalty after Marcus Forss had opened the scoring as Brentford guaranteed a third-placed finish for the second season running.
Their points tally of 84 would have sent Brentford up automatically last season, but they will now attempt to avoid the agony of another defeat in the play-offs.
Thomas Frank's side will have the advantage of playing the home leg of their semi-final second, hopefully in front of 4,000 supporters, as they bid to follow Watford into the Premier League for the first time.
The Hornets, who secured promotion by beating Millwall last weekend, almost opened the scoring when Craig Cathcart headed wide before Tom Cleverley was denied by a fine save from David Raya.
But the visitors were disrupted by first-half injuries to Cleverley and debutant Joseph Hungbo as Brentford began to dominate.
Christian Norgaard volleyed over, Forss had a goal ruled out for offside and Toney headed straight at Daniel Bachmann.
It stayed goalless until half-time but 55 seconds into the second half Brentford took the lead when Sergi Canos crossed for Forss to convert at the far post.
Toney's big moment arrived on the hour after he was tripped in the area by Francisco Sierralta.
The striker dispatched his trademark two-step penalty to become the first player to hit 30 goals in the Championship since Glenn Murray for Crystal Palace eight years ago.
Watford tried to hit back but Isaac Success struck the crossbar before they sent on a familiar name in Maurizio Pochettino.
The son of Paris St Germain and former Tottenham boss Mauricio was handed his debut as a late substitute, but his most notable contribution was giving the ball away to Canos whose shot hit the crossbar.
What the managers said...
Brentford's Thomas Frank: "It's a massive achievement, becoming joint record holder with Glenn Murray, an incredible achievement. I want Ivan to have the record. Also his assists are 10 or 11 - crazy numbers. And there is more to come from him. He will be a Premier League player, no doubt. And the plan is with us.
"That was a big aim for us, to do it [secure third] today, for various reasons. We like the second leg being at home but also we wanted to finish as high as possible. I think it's a statement, two seasons in a row coming third. Now we have more points than last year, we are top scorers in the league. So many things are in the right place. All four teams will have the ambition to get promoted but I'm pleased we are third."
Watford's Xisco Munoz: "I'm not disappointed because I know how difficult today was with the intensity in the game. We came with a good attitude. It's normal, the Championship is very hard. It's important to know there has been a lot of tension over the last four months. In the last part of the season sometimes you have this problem.
"We had chances but we couldn't score so congratulations to Brentford. And congratulations to Norwich for the title."