Monday, August 15

CARL Heeley was controversially sent-off in his comeback at St George's Lane last night -- yet Worcester City could only muster a woeful 0-0 draw against Hinckley United.

City huffed and puffed but could not blow the Hinckley house down despite holding a one-man advantage for more than half-an-hour.

Heeley was all smiles before kick-off when presented with a four-figure sum cheque that he raised during his testimonial season. But referee Anthony Horton failed to share the charitable mood as he showed the former City favourite two yellow cards.

Andy Preece's side battered Hinckley 4-0 in their last meeting at the Marston Stadium earlier this year, but never came within a sniff of a repeat result.

The hat-trick hero on that afternoon, player-of-the-season and topscorer Adam Webster, was ruled out with a knee problem and his absence was sorely missed as the partnership of Preece and Leon Kelly failed to click.

Kelly was the guilty man on several occasions as a string of promising chances, particularly in the first-half, were spurned by the home side.

Preece said: "The reason we didn't get the points was because of the first half-an-hour. We had clear-cut chances but did not even hit the target. We cannot afford to miss those.

"The only criticism I can have is that we then got a little disappointed after that half-an-hour and let Hinckley back in the game.

"I think the sending off, instead of helping us, hindered us because they put everybody behind the ball."

Kelly missed two presentable chan-ces, one headed on to the roof of the net, while another was dragged wide. At the other end, a surprise up-and-under inside the Worcester penalty area was headed against the bar by lively substitute Laurent Cluzel.

Heeley was dismissed on 58 minutes, his second yellow card shown after a tangle with Kelly near the corner flag, but City could not find a breakthrough as Hinckley dug deep.

City: McDonnell, Warner, Hines (McDonald 70), Smith C, Woolley, Lyttle, Colley, Stanley (Jones 70), Kelly, Hyde, Preece. Subs not used: Khan, Smith J, Warmer.

Attendance: 1,064.