BRIDPORT’S quest for second place in the South West Peninsula League Premier East ended in failure as the Bees succumbed to a late 2-1 loss at Axminster.

The Tigers resultantly took provisional third spot, with Bridport fourth, although both teams could be overtaken by Okehampton Argyle.

Okey need to beat bottom side Dartmouth to guarantee second spot, which could push Bridport down to fifth. The Bees may end up sixth if Crediton win both games in hand.

With Bridport also potentially missing out on the FA Cup next season, such an outcome could not have been foreseen afetr Sol Ayunga finished a wonderful team move to poke the Bees ahead in the eighth minute.

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Ayunga hit the post for Bridport before half-time but Axminster hit back after the break when former Bees centre-back Chris McGrath headed home a corner for 1-1.

Bridport’s Toby Diaz went close but the Bees were forced into two miraculous goalline clearances, one from skipper Luke King and another from Jake Childs, to keep the scores level.

As the clock ticked into added time, Bridport midfielder Fred Parsons was denied in a goalmouth scramble.

However, with men committed forward, Axminster exploited space on the counter-attack as Joe Charles beat keeper Jason Hutchings to give the Tigers a last-gasp win.

There was also late tension when Harley Brook suffered a nasty challenge, leading to a scuffle.

George Calverley, who had been subbed off, was sent off for his part, along with boss Chris Herbst who saw red for dissent after entering the field of play.

Speaking post-match, Herbst said: “Axminster were always going to come at us. Both teams had chances. It’s just frustrating.

“We don’t shoot enough, that’s the moral of the story. We get into such good positions, do the hard work and take the extra touch when we don’t need to.

“Axminster had chances and we were never going to stop them from happening.

“We played well for the first 25 minutes, we just needed that second one. We let them back in, Kinger and Jake saved two off the line, which was quality.

“We hit the post but obviously they went on to win the game.”

Bridport’s finishing position, which should be confirmed after Monday, will still be a vast improvement on last season’s finish of 11th.

Bees: Hutchings, Brook (A Diaz 90+10), Childs, King, D Lock, Daniels, Parsons, Weedon (Maunsell 89), G Calverley (N House 72), Ayunga, Coombs (T Diaz 81).