Nene Valley Harriers suffered an agonising exit from Division Three of the British League on Saturday.
They made the long trip to Yeovil for their fourth and final fixture knowing all they had to do to avoid relegation was finish above Southend.
But with a team badly depleted by injury and unavailablity they came up a fraction short.
In the final table Southend pipped them by just two match points and Nene Valley will be competing in Division Four next season.
But team manager Tim Needham, although frustrated, remained upbeat.
He said: “We know we could easily have held our own in this division with a full-strength team. Unfortunately we just couldn’t get it out and that was frustrating. We were so unlucky with injuries.
“On Saturday we were hit by the loss of all our leading sprinters and high jumpers and had athletes arriving late and missing events.
“But we’re not whinging or downhearted as we have plenty of potential for next year.
“On the up side we have a very young team who will be battle-hardened for Division Four next year.”
Needham had special praise for Under 20 athlete Ollie Bowling.
He said: “He was our man-of-the-match. He ran personal bests in the 800m and 1500m and then went on to record a third place in the 3,000m filling in for a missing team-mate.
“The throwers - a mixture of veterans and youngsters - also showed great spirit and Ken Baker, Simon Achurch, Isaac Huskisson, Sam Wilson and Alex Ingram all deserve a pat on the back for their efforts.”
Match result: 1 Bournemouth AC 326pts; 2 Newquay & Par AC 325pts; 3 Yeovil Olympiads 309pts; 4 Havering AC 278pts; 5 Trafford AC 259pts; 6 Chelmsford AC 257pts; 7 Southend AC 228pts; 8 Nene Valley Harriers 219pts.
Lge Pts Match Pts
Newquay & Par AC 26 1264.1
Bournemouth AC 25 1190.1
Havering AC 23 1186.6
Chelmsford AC 17 1110.1
Yeovil Olympiads 15 1053.1
Southend AC 13 1027.1
Nene Valley Harriers 13 1025.6
Trafford AC 12 923.1
Nene Valley Harriers results: 100m - A 7 Ashley Watson 11.19, B 8 Matthew Hudson 11.57 (PB); 200m - A 8 David Brown 23.92, B 8 David Bush 25.32; 400m - A 6 David Brown 50.85, B 8 Abraham Jones 55.90; 800m - A 3 James McCrae 1.55.24, B 7 Ollie Bowling 1.59.40; 1500m - A 3 James McCrae 4.04.06, B 3 Ollie Bowling 4.07.89; 3000m - A 7 Ollie Bowling 9.13.38, B 4 Adam Birch 9.28.21; 110m hurdles - A 7 Max Everset 17.77, B 7 Carl Titman 19.03 (PB); 400m hurdles - A 4 David Bush 58.32, B 4 Sean reidy 59.45; 3000m steeplechase - A 8 Rio Chilvers 11.16.84; 4x100m - 8 Nene Valley 46.39; 4x400m - 7 Nene Valley 3.31.52. High Jump - A 8 Tomas Saunorious 1.65, B 8 Sam Richards 1.50; Pole Vault - A 4 C. Titman 3.60, B 1 Peter Lewis 3.00; Long Jump - A 5 Sam Richards 6.79, B 3 Matthew Hudson 6.54; Triple Jump - A 6 Sam Richards 12.78, B 8 David Bush 7.86; Shot - A 4 Ken Baker 13.01, B 2 Simon Achurch 12.08; Discus - A 8 Simon Achurch 34.06, B 4 Ken Baker 32.38; Hammer - A 5 Isaac Huskisson 46.49, B 2 Sam Wilson 43.20; Javelin - 3 Tomas Saunorious 50.87, B 2 Alex Ingham 49.63.