Ware 1 AFC Sudbury 1
Karagul scores late equaliser as Ware fail to impose themselves on youthful opposition.
After an opening 15 minutes during which Ware might have gone two goals behind the game settled down into a basic pattern. Ware maintained numerous attacks to little avail whilst Sudbury always looked dangerous on the break. Whilst Ware fashioned plenty of opportunities through their possession the visitors had more clear-cut chances but were denied by wayward shooting, the framework and ultimately some desperate defending.
Ware hit a post too when Murat Karagul fired in a cross shot with just over ten minutes of normal time left. The ball pinged against Paul Walker's left post but the lost opportunity seemed to sum up Ware's day; lots of effort but no killer finish.
That was until deep into added time when Alaa Oujdi's cross from Ware's left found Karagul in a ruck of players at the near post. Even so the number nine steered the ball home with his head to salvage a point for Ware.
Given the amount of added time it was almost 90 minutes since Sudbury had taken the lead. The visitors had started strongly using their speed to get past a defence devoid of the suspended Gareth Madden and Junior Appiah. As early as the first minute they caused problems with Tom Coulton needing to fall on the ball close to his line to keep his goal intact.
It was only five minutes later however when Sudbury broke again with speed and although Coulton came out to deny Jamie Eaton-Collins a clear shot he was rounded by the striker who scored from wide on Ware's right.
It might have been worse ten minutes later as Ware, who by now were pushing forward much of the time, were exposed again by a quick break and Coulton brought down Eaton-Collins in the area. After attention to his colleague, Joe Whight stepped up to take the spot kick.
His shot went down the middle but Coulton, diving to his left, still managed to get his fist to the ball. It rebounded to Whight but, aware of the defenders closing in on him, he possibly hurried his shot which sailed high over the bar in what would prove to be a significant moment in the match.
The rest of the half was spent with Ware retaining most of the possession but largely having to settle for several unproductive corners as the visitors absorbed their attacks, the best moment coming on 40 minutes when the ball was scrambled away from the six yard box.
The second half was more of the same as Ware built attacks that Sudbury contained. Quick breaks by the visitors inevitably caused anxious moments and with better finishing the game might have been taken beyond Ware. As early as the 51st minute Max Booth hit Coulton's right post when it looked easier to score and two minutes later Mekhi McKenzie headed narrowly over from a free kick.
Coulton was needed to palm away a close range shot on 62 minutes but two minutes later his opposite number was doing the same to a long range effort from Oujdi. The rebound fell to Marcus Milner whose first time shot was narrowly past the intersection of post and bar.
And so the game continued until Karagul's late equaliser. Sudbury's team, containing a fair proportion of graduates from their academy, had done well and will inevitably feel disappointed to have conceded so late on. But Ware had a young player on the pitch as well and Necati Gench belied his 17 years to show real promise for the future.
Ware: Tom Coulton, Dean Mason, Alaa Oujdi, Ahmed Abdulla, Josh Dobson, Lee White, Marcus Milner (Warren Kayembe 89mins), Ahmed Mohammed (Necati Gench 15mins), Murat Karagul, Yannick Kamanan, Rheo Josephs. Unused subs: Gus Douglas, Prince Madu.