21st Jul, 2019

Heeley blames 'awful' referee for City defeat

Worcester Editorial 19th Oct, 2015 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

JOINT-manager Carl Heeley slammed the referee after a second half penalty and a red card saw Worcester City’s six-match unbeaten record come to an end.

There was little between the Blue and Whites and Nuneaton Town before referee Darren Strain gave a 58th minute penalty which Rob Duffy converted.

Sean Geddes was then red carded for dissent before Jordan Keane was given his marching orders as the two sides played the last 20 minutes with ten men.

And Heeley criticised the official as he believed his decisions killed what was a closely-fought National League North encounter.

“That was the worst refereeing performance I have ever seen at this level,” he said. “He gives a free-kick, books Ellis Deeney so the game stops.

“He then needs to blow his whistle to start the game again, but he starts pacing out to move our wall back. He gets to three steps, they take a quick free kick and he gives a penalty and the game is dead.

“It was a shocking decision.

“We were poor today, but it is sad because you work hard and then you are undone by an awful referee.”

City were in buoyant mood after Lee Hughes’ late strike saw off Solihull Moors on Tuesday and secured their place in the next round of the FA Cup.

But without their match-winner who was ruled out due to a ban, Worcester struggled to find their finishing touch.

Daniel Nti was gifted an opportunity when Cieron Keane slipped, but his driven shot towards the near post was stopped by Jordan Smith.

Nathan Vaughan was the busier of the two goalkeepers, but he did not have to make a meaningful save until he palmed away Shane Byrne’s strike on the 22nd minute.

Deon Burton drilled a free-kick wide, while Nuneaton duo Elliott Whitehouse and Dave Morgan let fly from distance, but neither troubled Vaughan as the first half finished.

The visitors were starting to look the more comfortable on the ball, though, and just before the hour mark they got the breakthrough.

Referee Strain pointed to the spot after a quickly-taken free-kick from Whitehouse struck a hand in the wall and Duffy calmly sent Vaughan the wrong way.

The goal sparked the match into life and frustrations then boiled over after Nti appeared to have been brought down in the box.

Burton was yellow carded as tempers frayed before Strain sent off Geddes for dissent. And the red card was out of his pocket again five minutes later. This time, Keane received a second booking after pushing Alex Gudger to leave Boro and City down to ten men.

The match then became stretched as Worcester went for the equaliser and after Aaron Williams stung the hands of Vaughan they almost snatched it.

With one minute left of the five added on, Gudger climbed highest to head the ball towards the goal, but Smith was equal to it as he tipped it over the crossbar.

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