Tring Athletic 1 Ware 3
How the opposition saw our win in the Senior Cup - with thanks to Tring Athletic.
On Tuesday night we entertained Ware who play at a level above us and occupied 4th place in the Southern League Division 1 Central above the likes of the two Aylesbury sides, Royston and Kings Langley. In the end they ran out easy winners but we can take a lot of positives from our performance particularly in the first half when we were without doubt the better side. In the second half we ran out of steam a bit and to be fair to Ware they stepped up a gear but ultimately we were undone by some defensive errors.
We were again without Jack Sunderland (that sofa must have been heavy!) so young Luke Dunstan was pushed up into an unfamiliar centre forward position where he produced his usual gutsy, tenacity performance. We changed our formation to 4-4-2 and the side looked better balanced than of late and we looked far more solid in defence. The fact that we conceded three goals was down to some basic errors and we must recognise that we were playing against a better class of player.
Bearing in mind we have been on a poor run of results lately (with 4 defeats from our previous 5 games) and we were up against a Ware side that was almost at full strength we performed superbly well during the first half. Early on Kieran Turner played the ball into Luke Dunstan whose cross came off a defender for a corner. Ryan Sturges then picked up a poor pass out of defence and perhaps should have had an attempt on goal but he instead unselfishly played the ball to Kieran who appeared to be caught by a tackle in the area, but nothing was given.
We were attacking well and Kieran found Lee Stobbs with a magnificent pass and only a super tackle from a defender prevented a possible goal. Kevin McManus whipped in a great cross following a set piece which Ryan Sturges headed straight at the keeper. We were playing some super football and there was even a step over from Stuart Stedman which completely flummoxed his opponent and showed that Beamer had not lost his touch! It took a while for our guests to get into the game but midway through the half there were signs they were getting their act together and we blocked an attempt on goal with Jaszime Johnson wafting the loose ball over the bar.
As the half wore on the visitors started to become more dangerous and Kevin McManus did well to clear a dangerous cross into our box. A poor back pass nearly landed Matt Evans in trouble, with his kick hitting an opponent but fortunately the ball bounced out to safety. Ware were getting some good crosses into our area but we dealt with them well.
Kieran Turner's fine pass sent Lee Stobbs away down the right and his dangerous ball across the goal was missed by Ryan Sturges and although Luke Dunstan managed to get to it he could only direct it into the side netting. Following that near miss we managed to deservedly open the scoring in the 32nd minute when following a throw Kieran Turner cleverly played the ball to Luke Dunstan and his pinpoint cross was met by Lee Stobbs who gave the keeper no chance with his header. Score 1-0.
After the goal Ware stepped up the pressure and Dan Steadman did superbly well to block a shot from Kieran Bishop after the centre forward showed great skill to work himself some space. We were defending well and with only 2 minutes to go we were hopeful of getting to half time with our lead in tact, but it was not to be. Matt Evans made a great save from a well struck shot but the ball fell kindly to Bishop and Ware's leading marksman smacked home the equaliser. Score 1-1.
There was one more heart in mouth moment leading up to the break with dangerous winger Rod Young firing a good shooting opportunity wide of the goal. But after a good start we reached the interval perhaps a bit unfortunate not to have a lead. HT Score 1-1.
We replaced Stuart Stedman with Chris Mason during the break but after a terrific effort in the first half we failed to maintain that standard in the second. The signs were there towards the end of the first period when Ware were starting to stamp their authority on the game and probably a bit of tiredness crept in as we put a lot of effort in during the first 45 minutes..
Bishop smacked a fierce shot that hit the board behind the goal and the last thing we wanted to do was to give away an early goal, but that's exactly what we did in the 56th minute and it has to said it was a disappointing way to concede. Ware were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position just outside the box and Rod Young decided to hit his effort hard and low. We should have easily cleared it but we decided to jump up and the ball went under the wall and past Matt Evans. Score 1-2.
To our credit we kept plugging away but Ware were now controlling the game and we were unable to replicate the fine attacking play we produced earlier in the game. Jack Westlake came on for Ryan McMahon and to pep up our attack teenager Joe Naylor was brought on at the expense of Lee Stobbs.
We were defending well but in the 76th minute we mucked up a simple throw and Bishop took full advantage to put the game beyond our reach. Score 1-3
We were not creating too much ourselves apart from some half chances, A free kick fell to Sam Joliffe but his shot went wide and then Sam had a free header from another set piece but it went straight at the keeper. We did have a late chance to pull a goal back when Ryan Sturges picked up a poor pass but he was taken out by a defender. As he was the last man and clearly stopped us having a scoring opportunity it was a tad surprising that he got away without a card of any colour. But such is the way decisions have gone for us this season and we were not so lucky when Dave O'Connor got his marching orders for verbals after he felt aggrieved at being hauled down in the box. It was unfortunate but the 20 year old will learn from the experience.
An entertaining game ended with a comfortable victory in the end for Ware and we wish them all the best in the next round when they will visit Hoddesdon Town who beat Eton Manor 1-0 on the same night. FT Score 1-3.
Ware: Jack Smith, Paul Cooper, Alaa Oujdi, Finbarr Robins, Jack Fowler, Ben Crilley, Khale Dacosta (Mickey Clark 27mins), Liam Griffin (Kevin Kuhn 83mins), Jaszime Johnson, Kieran Bishop, Rod Young. Unused subs: Luke Kanjor, Ryan Maxwell, Nathan Walker.