MANAGER John Snape expressed his gratitude to the 165 who watched Worcester City beat Shawbury United – despite receiving criticism from stands.

The crowd for the 2-0 success at the Victoria Ground, Bromsgrove, is understood to be the lowest for a City home league match since thorough records began back in 1946.

Worcester had always plied its trade in non-league’s top two tiers since then but even having dropped three levels ahead of this season, no gate had dipped beneath the 262 that took in a clash with Waterlooville in April 1991 until Tuesday.

The previous worst this season had been 281 for the 5-1 home victory over Coventry Sphinx on October 3.

On the pitch, City ground out victory with goals at either end of a scrappy clash which saw relegation-haunted Shawbury rattle the woodwork from set pieces no fewer than three times.

Supporters vented their frustration at various points but Snape had no qualms with his side’s critics from inside the Victoria Ground.

“I don’t want to get involved in politics,” said Snape. “The only thing I would say is thank you to the supporters who did come. It is much appreciated.

“Yes, there were a few moans and groans but the saving grace for me was they came to the ground to moan, which I prefer.

“There are other areas where I pick up little bits but I am trying to refocus the lads and keep them away from that.

“It is business as usual, we’re looking to gain as many points as we can and get promotion.”

The match was played at a brisk pace but contained errors throughout with City taking a sixth-minute lead when Dave Reynolds unerringly drove inside the near post from a Brad Birch cut back.

Some robust challenges upset the home faithful and hearts skipped a beat when Jason Wellings cut in and rattled the crossbar from 15 yards 18 minutes in.

City carried a threat but found defending balls into the box difficult with Simon Gregory glancing wide a cracking chance to level after half an hour.

Reynolds found Alex Tomkinson whose blast forced a fine tip over by Ian Havard before the break with the keeper also doing well to prevent United defender James Askey diverting into his own net shortly after the restart.

Gregory went even closer, powering a corner across goal only to see Mat Birley head against the underside of his own bar before City scrambled away.

Slips and trips remained on the agenda and Shawbury probably realised it would not be their night when Sean Evans thundered a 25-yard free-kick against the upright with Matt Gwynne beaten.

James Baldwin then grabbed a slice of fortune at the death, redirecting the rebound home after hitting the post in the third minute of added time.

“We did look a little bit rusty due to the games being off,” said Snape.

“We scored a good goal but were maybe not smart enough at times on a bobbly pitch.

“There were some scares to be fair to Shawbury. They arrived late so probably missed out on having the preparation they wanted but I still felt we had the better chances and were guilty of missing them.

“The crowd got a bit frustrated in the second half and I could understand why but we got the three points and roll on to Saturday at Loughborough University."

City: Gwynne, Birley, J Smith, Forsyth, Stoddart, Hayward, Sarmento (Danks, h-t), Birch, Baldwin, Reynolds, Tomkinson. Unused subs: Hall, Willis, Harris-James, Moran.

Shawbury: Havard, Taylor, Evans, Gregory, Askey, Dovey, Armstrong, Wellings, Robinson, Cullen, Jones. Unused subs: D Cooper, Lewis, Richards, K Cooper, McMullen.

Attendance: 165. 

Referee: David Steatham.