MANAGER John Snape made “no excuses” for Worcester City’s latest draw but argued referee Mark Pearson had dealt his side a double blow at Stourport Swifts.

City were held 1-1 at Walshes Meadow, a result that marked a fourth match without victory to leave promotion looking like a pipe dream.

A low-key first half saw Worcester gradually press forward with Joel Ambalu sent sprawling by Swifts full-back Joe Hanson in first-half stoppage time only for the well-placed Pearson waved away appeals.

Nick MacPherson lashed in from the right of the box to hand Stourport the lead just before the hour despite claims Jamie Smith was pushed in the build-up.

City had enjoyed far more territory and possession in the second half up until then and warranted their equaliser 13 minutes from time when Smith centred for Nathan Hayward to pounce with a late dash into the box.

There was no grandstand finish, though, as City slipped six points behind Highgate United, 4-2 winners at bottom club Rocester last night, in the second promotion place with two fewer games to play.

“It was nip and tuck on a tough pitch. We had a good shout for a penalty just before half-time and I’ve seen them given,” said Snape.

“The referee had a decision to make and didn’t give it. To be honest, I was probably more annoyed with what I felt was a blatant push on Jamie in front of the assistant referee which led to their goal.

“Joel played the ball and got taken out. How far away the ball was from Joel would be another question but with Jamie’s, I couldn’t see how it wasn’t given.

“That’s football, though, and we’re not looking for excuses. It was probably a fair result in the end.

“We did not play well enough but credit to the lads for getting back into the game and we probably finished the stronger side.

“Ben Robinson missed a great opportunity to level before Nathan Hayward scored. From there we were guilty of missing half chances and the game petered out.

“Overall we were disappointed with the draw. That’s no disrespect to Stourport Swifts, I just felt we should have had enough to create more chances and we missed some golden opportunities.

“We lacked a little bit of quality to make the right decisions in good areas. We played too many straight balls into the middle where they were strong.

“When we did get it out wide and delivered, we caused problems. We did that a bit better in the second half and credit to the young lads for coming on and giving us a lift in that respect.

“They will continue to get a chance between now and the end of the season to see what we have coming through ready for next season.”

City: Dayus 5, Birley 6, J Smith 6, Stoddart 6, FORSYTH 7*, Hayward 7, Baldwin 5 (Robinson, 62, 5), Gomes 5, Ambalu 5 (Moran 83, 6), Reynolds 5, Tomkinson 5 (Lockett, 85, 6). Unused subs: Danks, Keasey.

Attendance: 188.