Relegated Deeside Dragons failed to produce an elusive victory in their final game of the season, losing 9-5 to Whitley Warriors.

The struggling Deeside club tasted defeat for the 33rd time in a chastening campaign, albeit by a smaller than usual losing margin.

Rooted to the foot of the Moralee Conference after regular hammerings, the Deeside club at least made more of a contest of this fixture.

A goalless opening 10 minutes augured well for the Dragons, before Ryan Sample fired past Dragons netminder Louis Edwards to break the deadlock.

The goal sparked the Warrior attackers into life as Phillip Edgar and Jordan Barnes each netted within two minutes to put their side three up.

James Parsons hit back late in the first period with a well-placed strike to reduce arrears.

An evenly-contested opening to the second period saw chances for both sides, before warriors skipper Dean Holland fired home to make it 4-1.

The game took on an ebb and flow feel in the final period after Shaun Kippin slotted a short handed goal to make it 5-1.

Ross Kennedy and Ryan Jones then netted for the hosts either side of Ben Richards' effort for the Warriors.

Paul Davies and Chad Wynne each netted for the Dragons in the final six minutes, but were pegged back by three Warriors goals late in the contest.

Following a turbulent season for the Dragons, club captain Parsons spoke of his 'relief' at reaching the end of the fixture list.

He said: "It does feel like a bit of a weight has been lifted from our shoulders because this has been a really testing season.

"It's felt like an uphill battle for most of this season and it's a relief now that we've made it to the end.

"We had hoped to sign off with a win and give our fans something to cheer about, but it wasn't to be.

"Defensively we kept it tight early on and kept ourselves in the game, which hasn't always been the case this season.

"It really opened up later in the game and it was end to end stuff."

The Dragons must now face up to competing in the northern second tier of the Laidler Division next term.

And Parsons admits the beleaguered club have 'big decisions' to make in the months ahead.

He said: "The season's finished quite a bit earlier this year, so there will be a break of a couple of months now.

"In that time, whoever's in charge needs to look at the squad, and the structure of the club overall, and start planning for next season as soon as possible."

Sheffield Steeldogs were crowned champions after beating second-placed Hull Pirate twice in their fixture double header, winning 1-0 at at 6-4 in the away clash.

Telford Tigers finished third after winning 3-2 at Solway Sharks, before inflicting an 11-2 hammering on Nottingham Lions.

Blackburn Hawks beat Billingham Stars 6-4 before the Lancashire side lost 5-3 at Solihull Barons, while the Stars ran out 7-4 victors against the Warriors on Sunday.