Wimbledon suffered relegation from National League 2 South at the weekend.
The Dons lost 17-14 at Barnstaple but even a win would not have saved their status as nearest drop rivals Old Redcliffians picked up a victory.
Wimbledon lost their first 14 matches but then produced a storming finish to the campaign – clocking up eight victories – to take their survival fight right to the wire.
Flanker Niall Sweeney was handed a mystifying yellow card as Wimbledon were reduced to 10 men in the final 15 minutes.
And the referee then awarded a generous penalty to allow the home side to take a decisive late lead.
A lovely offload by number eight Dan Laventure saw fly-half James Doe dive in for a try and his fine conversion from the touchline put the visitors seven points up.
A fine drive resulted in Niall McSweeney scoring the Dons’ second try, converted by Doe.
But then the momentum shifted Barnstaple’s way – instead of kicking for territory, as they had in the first half, they ran everything and kept possession well.
Despite some outstanding tackling, with replacement Tyler Flashman to the fore, the pressure eventually told and Barnstaple score under the posts, with the conversion also successful.
The impressive Danny Southworth took advantage of a five-metre scrum to pick from the base and crash over for Barnstaple’s second try. Murphy’s simple conversion levelled the scores – then came the messy finish to the game.
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