WORCESTER City joint-boss John Snape revealed he “was not in the right frame of mind” to lead the inquest into Mark Smith’s controversial dismissal at Heanor Town.

Centre-half Smith, booked five minutes earlier, was given a second yellow card and his marching orders for dissent after questioning referee Niall Smith over the length of time taken to treat Heanor keeper Jordan Pierrepont.

To add insult to dismissal, Cory Bowler turned in Nick Hall’s cross five minutes into added time to consign City to a 2-1 Midland Football League Premier Division defeat.

“At 1-1 we were in the ascendency and the goalkeeper was time wasting,” said Snape.

“Mark spoke to the referee and anyone who knows him will be aware that he conducts himself well and is very professional.

“In my opinion the referee has sent him off for asking how long was left and what he was going to do about adding time due to the treatment the keeper was receiving.

“Mark and Lee (Hughes, joint-manager) went in to see the referee afterwards. I could not go myself, I was not in the right frame of mind.

“I found it astonishing because he walked to the referee during a stoppage, he did not swear or wave around his hands.

“The referee felt he should not have spoken to him, that it should only come through the skipper.”

There were problems from the off with Snape adamant the Town Ground surface was in no fit state for play.

“Given the condition of the pitch I was very surprised the game went ahead and that was relayed to the referee before the game,” he added.

“In my opinion, there were areas that were worse to play on than a beach and unplayable. Players were unable to hold their footing.

“We have had games called off with pitches in better states than that this season. We asked why there hadn’t been a pitch inspection before we travelled but we cannot use that as an excuse.

“The lads probably did not have time to adjust but you have to get on with it.”

Conditions resulted in a relatively low-key affair with Sam Vickers firing the hosts in front just past the hour.

City captain Brad Birch restored parity with 17 minutes to play, notching on the rebound after Jordan Stoddart’s header from a George Forsyth corner had been cleared in a busy penalty area.

“We limited Heanor to a couple of chances while making three or four of our own in the first half,” said Snape.

“It was scrappy with lots of stoppages and maybe we got a bit too involved with the opposition. It was a frustrating night, especially for the supporters who made what was a horrible journey in good numbers.

“We thank them for that support, it was just a pity we could not give them the result we all wanted.”

City: Vaughan, Forsyth, Weir, M Smith, Stoddart, Hayward, Halil, Birch, Hughes (Danks, 81), Reynolds, Tomkinson (Baldwin, 66). Unused subs: Thomas, Gwynne (g/k).