MANAGER John Snape lauded Worcester City for keeping calm during Tuesday’s stormy 1-0 win at Coventry Sphinx.

Joe Bates struck the decisive penalty seven minutes before half-time having been brought down by the outstretched arm of home keeper Tom Cross.

Chances were few and far between at both ends with the focus soon shifting to niggly fouls and the unseemly behaviour of individual Sphinx players, particularly in the build up to the interval after City’s goal.

Bates went down holding his head having tangled with Jackson Downie, who was on a booking, in the centre circle two minutes after scoring with Chris Johnston shoving Jordan Harrison to the floor in the melee that followed.

Downie was involved again four minutes later, appearing to follow his foul on Chris Withington by treading on the grounded City midfielder in an unpublished video replay.

Half-time came at the right time but James Baldwin found himself continually singled out after the break, being goaded and pushed to the floor by his opponents but referee Joseph Larkin failed to act.

“I make no bones about it, I was desperately upset with the referee’s first-half performance,” said Snape.

“There were situations there that should have led down a disciplinary route and it could have cost us dearly.

“I said to our lads that is not the way I would want to see us play and to be fair to them, I thought we looked after ourselves in the right manner on a tricky night and bobbly pitch.

“In the last 15 minutes of the first half a few things happened against us that left me speechless but everyone got around each other at half-time, stuck together and realised we could not get involved.”

Sphinx ultimately paid the price as their misdemeanours fragmented the pressure they had built at the start of the second half.

“It was a very disciplined second-half performance. We saw out the long throws, the barrage of balls into the box and dealt with it all admirably,” Snape added.

“I don’t remember Dan (Jezeph, keeper) having to make a save. I am over the moon for the lads and it was a fantastic win.

“Joel Caines had to play out of position in the middle and we had James Baldwin and Liam Lockett on the flanks. That gave us a bit of naivety but also plenty of excitement because they can beat and pass players.

“They were backed up by Tyler Weir who was outstanding, probably the best I have seen him since I have been in charge, on the back of injury and a sickness bug. Jordan Stoddart was the same.

“Gally (Andy Gallinagh) was great with his talking and Adam Osbourne did well because he could have done with more minutes to build himself up before being involved in a full 90 like that.

“The back four was magnificent but all of the lads deserve a lot of credit.”

Sphinx: Cross 6, Lower 6 (Sterling, 76, 6), Hudson 6, Downie 5 (Cairns, 54, 6), Stringfellow 6.5, Quirke 6.5, Towers 7, Woodward 5.5, Johnston 5.5 (Phillips, 54, 6), O'Grady 6, Faulkner 6.5. Unused subs: Guest, Rock.

City: Jezeph 6.5, Weir 7.5, Osbourne 6.5, Gallinagh 8, STODDART 8.5*, Caines 6, Lockett 6.5 (Keasey, 61, 6), Withington 6.5, Harrison 6.5, Bates 7, Baldwin 7.5 (Brett, 84, 6). Unused subs: Birley, Owusu, Gwynne (g/k).

Attendance: 143.