IT WAS hard not to feel for Worcester City goalkeeper Matt Gwynne when Walsall Wood striker Paul Sullivan struck in stoppage-time.

Returning to the side after a traumatic week Gwynne played a blinder at the ML Safety Stadium only for Sullivan to net a 96th minute equaliser to send the FA Cup extra preliminary round tie into a replay.

A victory and a clean sheet would have been a welcome boost for Gwynne who received a huge scare last Sunday when he found out his girlfriend Naomi Cameron had been involved in a car crash on the outskirts of Hereford.

“She was on her way home when she lost control going around a bend and the car flipped,” Gwynne said.

“It was a big accident. She took a blow to her head and had to go to hospital for a couple of days. It was quite a scare.

“It was not the best phone call to receive on a Sunday morning but she is still here which is the main thing.”

The incident also forced Gwynne to miss City’s 2-1 Midland League Premier Division defeat at Romulus last Monday, leaving the door open for Tamworth loanee Dan Jezeph to further stake his claim for the number one shirt.

“She damaged her head and that’s why I could not play on Monday because of the concussion,” said the 25-year-old from Bromyard.

“She just needed someone with her so I spoke to Snapper (John Snape, manager) about it and he said that (her well-being) was more important (than the game).

“The last few days have been pretty stressful but she is on the mend now.”

With Jezeph cup-tied Gwynne had little time to dwell on the ordeal as he was thrust straight into action and received his first big test on 19 minutes.

Sullivan was free inside City’s box but his thumping effort was saved by Gwynne as the visitors breathed a sigh of relief.

Worcester then opened the scoring on 25 minutes as Liam Lockett was tripped in the box and Dave Reynolds coolly converted the resultant spot-kick.

The goal should have been a platform for City to build on but instead they were reliant on Gwynne keeping them in the game.

The former Westfields stopper somehow clawed Joey Butlin’s flick-on away from danger before thwarting Sullivan again after Luke English let the ball fall into his path.

City, who adopted a 3-5-2 formation, were creating little as the front two of Reynolds and Kyonn Evans worked off scraps and nothing changed after the break.

Although riding their luck at times the back three of Jordan Stoddart, English and Jamie Smith showed their battling qualities as they dealt with Wood’s aerial bombardment, including four corners in quick succession.

But it was Gwynne who was producing the heroics as he tipped Dean Rathbone’s driven effort around the post before saving Kyle Rowley’s header and palming away Sullivan’s strike in the final 10 minutes.

Worcester were under heavy pressure but Reynolds was presented with a golden opportunity to secure a clash with Whitchurch Alport in the next round.

Lockett cut through Wood’s defence with great footwork before rolling the ball for Reynolds to finish but Rowley managed to stop his shot on the line.

It was a crucial moment in the tie as City then suffered a sucker punch in the final action of the match.

A long ball into the box was flicked on by Mitch Tolley and Sullivan was on hand to head home from close range.

Worcester will now have to pick themselves up for Tuesday’s replay against Wood at the Victoria Ground (7.45pm).