AFC BOURNEMOUTH women missed out on promotion from the FA Women’s National League Division One South West despite an unbeaten season, losing out on the final day to Exeter City in a 1-1 draw with the Grecians.

Gemma McGuinness had given Cherries the lead in the first half but substitute Zoe Cunningham levelled via a free-kick in the second period.

Cherries headed to Devon knowing that they had to win to overhaul Exeter at the summit of the league in a final-day decider.

Despite heavy early pressure from Cherries it was Exeter who enjoyed the game’s first proper chance.

Maisy Smith failed to clear an awkward ball, allowing Jenna Markham one-on-one with Dani Kosinska.

However, the eventual effort was right down the throat of Kosinska, who smothered well.

An even more dangerous opportunity presented itself to Markham shortly after, with the ball cut back to the unmarked striker at the far post.

But once again Markham wasted the chance, lifting the ball over the bar when it seemed simpler to score.

Midway through the first half, Cherries would get their chance – and take it.

It looked like McGuinness had taken too heavy a touch, but the Northern Ireland international quickly won the ball back before lofting it over Abbi Bond in the Exeter goal.

Cherries did not look to sit back and defend their lead.

10 minutes from half time Molly Barron-Clark’s dinked effort had beaten Bond but went just the wrong side of the far post.

There was a nervy moment for Cherries 11 minutes into the second half.

A long ball over the top found Markham, with Cherries keeper Kosinska flying out of her goal and taking out the Exeter striker right on the edge of the area.

The foul was on the cusp of both being a red card and a potential penalty, but Cherries would be punished further as Cunningham sent the free kick into the top left corner to restore parity.

Kosinska had no chance to stop that effort, and it looked like she was equally beaten by Amber Pollock moments later.

However, the Polish goalie managed to chuck herself towards the ball, before flicking it over the bar and away from danger.

Manager Steve Cuss turned to his bench to bring on further attackers in search of a winner.

With nine minutes remaining, Cherries were handed a boost. Already on a booking, Mollie Taylor’s bodycheck on the back of Kenni Thompson was enough for her to be handed a second yellow and her marching orders.

Barron-Clark sent the resultant free-kick at a tight angle onto the top of the crossbar, an inch too high.

Despite a lengthy amount of stoppage time, Cherries were unable to find a winner, and as such missed out on promotion.

Cherries: Kosinska; Bowers (Bloomfield, 69), Smith (Gilroy, 83), Treweek, Jones; Barron-Clark, Hillier (Buckingham, 75), James, McGuinness; Thompson, Cooper.

Unused subs: Venditto, Bloomfield, Scadding (g/k).

Booked: James, Kosinska.