Applegarth said he was “hurt” by his side’s failure to extend their unlikely survival battle into the final week of the season but said they would face up to the prospect of Championship rugby next year.
He said: “I’m hurt, it stings, and as head coach the responsibility is on my shoulders.
“It sunk in as soon as I saw that drop goal go over. All I can do is apologise to our fans but I can tell them that we will be back.
“I’d like to think most of the fans can’t question any of the lads’ efforts. Skill, execution and composure is probably what has let us down, but definitely not effort.”
Wakefield’s survival bid looked bleak after Tom Briscoe opened the scoring for Leigh with just four minutes on the clock but two opportunist tries from Lee Kershaw early in the second half pulled them back on level terms.
Gareth O’Brien’s late drop goal looked to have won it for Leigh before Luke Gale kicked Wakefield into the extra period with just 19 seconds left on the clock – only for O’Brien to convert the decisive effort of a frantic extra period.
Applegarth was left to reflect on a season in which a stirring recovery could not hide the fact that 14 straight defeats at the start of the season proved too much to overcome.
“Ultimately the league table doesn’t lie and we weren’t good enough,” added Applegarth.
“We’ve got some tough decisions to make and we’ve got some improvements to make. We’ve got to be honest with each other and look at why this has happened.
“My job is to make sure we bounce straight back up. They (Leigh) flirted with it over the last few years and they’ve nailed it, so there’s a blueprint to follow right there.
“Mark my words, we will be back in Super League, and hopefully at the first time of asking.”