PROMISE followed by disappointment, a smattering of madness from nowhere with a generous glug of controversy – if there was a match to sum up City’s season this was it.

For 15 minutes Worcester played as though their lives depended on it and from there as if nothing depended on it until the second minute of added time.

The gaps between moments of encouragement gradually grew and although the effort and commitment could not be questioned this match typified why City fell short in the promotion race.

The addition of Brad Birch, recruited by Stourbridge amid uncertainty over next season’s budget, gave a glimpse of what might have been but the threat this team now poses in the final third lacks consistency.

A touch of end-of-season syndrome could perhaps be blamed, particularly against a resolute side that required a point to seal safety, but the fact remains the power with which City used to attack opponents has diminished.

For all of the good done over the past three matches, things have become hit and miss during the latter part of the season.

No fewer than six changes were made for the final day with Jordan Stoddart, Nathan Hayward and Birch all returning. Youngster Ethan Moran was drafted in with Ben Robinson earning a rare start and teenage keeper Jadyn Mundle given the chance to impress between the sticks with Adam Przybek on international duty.

City flooded forward from the outset, playing all-too-simple passes into the channels to great effect with Moran looking lively but lacking punch when it came to delivery.

The hosts were rocking in the May heat as James Baldwin and Birch had efforts charged down at the last moment but the action subsided from there.

George Forsyth drove forward from the back to chance his arm with a rising shot that was not far off target just past the half-hour mark before the Shiners had their best moments of the half through John King whose two efforts were dealt with by Mundle.

A double change by City at the break made little difference to what was fast becoming a non-event until a well-taken goal broke the deadlock 63 minutes in.

Jack Tyson, at the hub of all of South Normanton’s best moves up until then, slipped Tom Lewis down the left side of the box to take a touch inside and stroke around Mundle, finding the bottom far corner.

With nothing coming together for City in attack, top scorer Dave Reynolds was introduced in spite of a knee problem and immediately worked some space only to drag wide from 20 yards.

The passing became more adventurous but Athletic remained solid until the second minute of added time when Reynolds nipped in to pinch a weak header back to keeper Curtis Hall and nudge home a simple equaliser.

However, there was still time for Marcus Tudgay to get upended in the box and although referee Jake Allsopp signalled advantage an offside flag went up against Kevin Hemagou as his shot was blocked on the line by Stoddart.

City were incensed, particularly as Tudgay appeared to stop during his run-up to finishing from 12 yards, but the appeals fell on deaf ears and the campaign finished in defeat.