Worcester City 1 Hinckley 1
Blue Square Bet North
Tim Clarke reports from St George’s Lane
WORCESTER City’s play-off bid was left hanging by a thread as they were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by relegation threatened Hinckley United at St George’s Lane on Saturday.
Mike Symons’ first half strike looked to have put City on course for a vital three points but Omar Bogle’s equaliser 12 minutes from time dealt what could prove to be a fatal blow to the hosts’ play-off hopes.
The result means City have to win their two remaining games and hope rivals Nuneaton and Halifax pick up no more than a point in theirs to have any chance of clawing their way into the top five.
The chances of that happening are remote at best and while City won't give up they will know deep down their hopes disappeared the moment they stood off Bogle and allowed the striker to bury his shot past Matt Sargeant.
Up until then City had just about deserved their lead although both sides struggled to come to terms with the difficult playing surface.
Greg Mills was a lively threat for City early on, setting up chances for Rob Elvins and Symons who should have converted the winger’s cross from ten yards out.
City suffered a setback mid-way through the first half with keeper James Dormand having to be replaced by Sargeant after picking up a groin injury which will rule him out of Worcester’s final two games.
With the first half drifting towards a lacklustre conclusion City found the breakthrough deep in stoppage time.
Tyler Weir picked out Symons in the box and the striker cleverly span his marker before powering a low shot past Dan Haystead.
City looked to take that momentum into the second half and Tom Thorley almost doubled the hosts’ lead seven minutes after the break but Haystead just held onto the midfielder’s low shot.
Hinckley had offered almost no attacking threat in the first half but came close to grabbing an equaliser through Paul Lister’s header which was cleared off the line by Kevin O’Connor.
City hit back through Mills who weaved his way into the box before curling a shot past Haystead which seemed destined for the far corner but instead hit the post.
With the game opening up Hinckley suddenly looked more of a threat as they pressed for a precious point in their bid for survival.
And they were rewarded in the 78th minute as City’s defence backed away from Bogle on the edge of the box and the forward lashed a low shot into the bottom corner beyond Sargeant.
The equaliser stunned City and the deflated home support but with time against them the hosts gathered themselves for one last rally.
Substitute Danny Edwards tried to inject some urgency into City’s play and his cross was headed wide at the back post by O’Connor.
Hinckley assistant manager Mark Faulkner was sent to the stands for dissent as the tension reached fever pitch but despite Mills’ curling free kick which was turned over by Haystead the visitors held on.
Standard star man: Greg Mills.
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