Ware 1 Kings Langley 2
Ware in need of confidence boost.
On a day when Wodson Park was for once free of a postponement as six others in the division succumbed to the rain Ware might have wished it was otherwise. This was not an entertaining encounter, at least not for Ware, though the visitors will have enjoyed it. They were fast, fit and combined together well; there could be no doubt that they deserved their win.
Ware, having lost four games in all competitions around the turn of the year when luck seemed to be the only component missing from their make up, have now lost two more. On this performance it is no longer luck that they need but a return of confidence and they struggled for long periods to find any rhythm.
The outcome seemed on the cards from the beginning as Kings Langley kept Ware under pressure in the opening minutes. It was something of a surprise therefore that the home side made the first chance of any note after five minutes when Murat Karagul had a strong shot from within the penalty area pushed away by Xavi Comas in the visitors' goal.
It was only a temporary interruption to the early passage of play with Ware being saved by Kings Langley's inaccurate shooting possibly compounded by the absence of Mitchell Weiss, one of the division's top scorers, from their line up. As a result Karagul's early shot remained the best opportunity for either side but the visitors started to adjust their sights and Steve Ward's fierce drive across the face of Tom Coulton's goal in the 27th minute was a warning.
It is the sometimes perverse nature of football that the opening goal, which had looked inevitable at times earlier in the half, should come when Ware were beginning to pull themselves into the game. Their passing was starting to have more purpose behind it and Jimmy Hartley had already worked his way into a good position on the half hour only to miscue his shot. But four minutes later Kings Langley scored a simple enough goal from a cross that was met in front of the home posts by Immanuelson Duku. He had what looked an easy task to head the ball home.
Ware continued to improve however and finished the half the stronger of the two sides. Good interplay in the 38th minute suggested that Ware were finding their rhythm at last but Kieran Bishop was just unable to get his head to the resulting cross whilst a corner in the last minute of the half needed to be finger-tipped over the bar by Comas who was having a good game.
Ware may have been struggling for confidence and rhythm but they couldn't be faulted for lack of effort and the second half did see them come more into the game as they strove for an equaliser. They got their reward after 57 minutes when a through ball from Alaa Oujdi found Bishop outside the area and being shepherded by two defenders.
Suddenly the big striker was in his element. He outpaced and outfought his two opponents in the manner that has made him a favourite with supporters and fashioned a momentary opening to slide the ball past the advancing Comas for the equaliser.
For a while it seemed possible that Ware could hold on for an unlikely point but the defence's capacity to give the ball away which was apparent throughout this and their previous game was their undoing. With 25 minutes to go the ball came loose in the Ware area and a short period of pin ball football ensued.
In the first half the ball might have been hefted over the bar but Langley had sharpened their aim and a fierce shot was on target but blocked by Coulton. The rebound was returned with equal venom but again blocked by a defender. This time David Hutton was on hand for the rebound and it was third time lucky as his shot found the net through a crowded area.
After this there were fears that the deficit could worsen as the visitors searched for another goal but Ware held their own albeit at the expense of yellow cards for Oujdi and Bishop.
Micah Hyde, making his debut, was a steadying influence with the neat touches and positional awareness to be expected of a former Premier League player. But what Ware really need right now is a win to restore confidence. The trouble is the longer this winless run continues the harder it gets to snap out of it and Tuesday night sees the visit of sixth placed Royston.
Ware: Tom Coulton, Jack Mace, Alaa Oujdi, Micah Hyde, Ben Crilley, Steven O'Hara, Jimmy Hartley (Danny Hart 75mins), Ryan Hervel, Kieran Bishop, Elliot Bailey (Josh Oyibo 61mins), Murat Karagul. Unused subs: Harley Haag, Joe Simmonds, Liam Griffin.