Brentford's short-lived control in the race for automatic promotion came to an end as Stoke ground out a 1-0 win at the Bet365 Stadium.
Thomas Frank's men appeared to struggle with the change in dynamic after West Brom's shock defeat to Huddersfield on Friday evening and must now better the Baggies' result on Wednesday to make the top two.
What proved to be the winner came seven minutes before the break, when Lee Gregory tucked past visiting goalkeeper David Raya from close range after the Spaniard had parried a vicious effort from Sam Clucas.
Michael O'Neill's Potters move onto 53 points and up to 17th in the table, assuring their safety in the division for next season. Brentford's failure to win also hands the title to Leeds, who play Derby live on Sky Sports Football on Sunday.
How Brentford stuttered when it mattered most
Having been under little pressure to finish in the top two when football restarted on June 20, West Brom's slip at the John Smith's Stadium left the door ajar for Thomas Frank's men to move into the automatic promotion places with victory away in the Potteries - a feat they'd never achieved in their history.
Stoke pressed high from the start, with Clucas and James McClean creating problems, but the first real chance of a very open encounter came when goalkeeper Adam Davies kept out Bryan Mbeumo's header from point-blank range after Said Benrahma had played a smart one-two with Ollie Watkins.
On the half-hour, Bees defender Ethan Pinnock had a penalty appeal turned down after Bruno Martins Indi pulled him to the deck and a few minutes later, the hosts took advantage of Brentford's struggle to bring their front three into play when Gregory bundled in after Raya had got a hand to Clucas' venomous effort from the edge of the area.
There was an increase in urgency from Brentford after the break, but most notable was the manner in which Stoke kept their shape to stifle the free-flowing style of their opponents. Chances were thus few and far between and frustrations began to show when Josh Dasilva turned Watkins' pull-back wide from just a few yards out.
Though Thomas Frank appeared despondent on the touchline, it look as though stoppage time would herald a winner. Watkins was denied a penalty, while Sergi Canos - making his first appearance since October - flashed a perfect cross towards the far post that went unchallenged.
In the dying seconds, Pinnock was denied by Davies and Watkins tried to steer into the bottom corner, but a brave tackle from Danny Batth denied him and condemned Brentford to a first defeat since February.
Man of the match - Danny Batth
On a day when Stoke shut up shop and defended admirably, Batth was an absolute rock at the back for Michael O'Neill's side and didn't concede a single foul throughout the 90 minutes. He was called into action late on to prevent Watkins' shot testing Davies and put his body on the line to help his side to take all three points.
What the managers said...
Stoke's Michael O'Neill: "Yeah, it's satisfying. At the start when we came in, the club wasn't in a great position. To be where we are now shows progress, we're not celebrating or getting carried away, we're going in the right direction and have to continue that.
"I got everything from the players, I thought they were excellent today against a very, very good team who had a lot to play for. We had to defend second half, and we had a lot of good performances today.
"We're already looking at what we do the summer, the difficulty here is we have a lot of players. We'll have certain players returning from loan, that has to be resolved, I think we'll have 31 on day one which is far too many! But equally, we need to bring a bit of freshness in too."
Brentford's Thomas Frank: "This is the Championship. This is what can happen, we knew it would be a difficult game.
"We are ready to give it a go against Barnsley on Wednesday, 100 per cent. Today we conceded one goal, I think that was the one chance they had first half, they made it difficult for us with second balls and it was difficult to break them down. We didn't have the final pass or touch."
Both sides are next in action on the final day of the Championship season on Wednesday July 22. Stoke travel to the City Ground to face Nottingham Forest, while Brentford host Barnsley in what could be their final outing at Griffin Park. Both fixtures get under way at 7.30pm.