Ware 3 AFC Dunstable 2
By Stephen King
Losing run ended in second friendly meeting of the season with the ODs.
After three consecutive defeats Ware scored a much needed win ahead of next Saturday's visit from Hayes & Yeading. Yet on the evidence of the first half they will have a difficult time against the free scoring promotion favourites.
Too often in the first forty-five minutes they were exposed down the wings. This was never more so than when Billy Baird, now signed from Ware on dual registration terms with the visitors, was in acres of space in the home team's half after 38 minutes and scored to give his new side a 2-1 lead. It had been coming with the home defence at sixes and sevens on more than one occasion, not least when Dunstable broke with Ware looking for an offside and hit Anthony Page's post.
This is not to blame the full backs but with Gareth Madden and Jason Brown not available there was less cover in central midfield. With players sucked into the middle to cover there was plenty of space out wide.
Even so Ware had opened the scoring after ten minutes when a scramble in the Dunstable six yard box saw two point blank shots blocked before Louis Bowen made it third time lucky.
Just ten minutes later however Dunstable equalised when a dangerous ball across Ware's area was saved by Page but was too hot to handle. Tony Burnett was on hand and made no mistake from close range.
Ware might have regained the lead on the half hour mark but Dave Cowley's shot was well saved albeit at the expense of a corner but by now Dunstable were having the better of things and Baird's goal was not a surprise.
The home side got back to parity shortly before half time when a ball into the Dunstable area struck a defender's outstretched arm. It was tough given that the Dunstable man was only just inside the penalty area and wide out on the Ware right but it was still a penalty. Cowley made the keeper pay for his earlier save with a simple lob down the middle as his opponent dived to his right.
Ware looked better in the second half and scored what proved to be the winner after 53 minutes. Jack Daveney's neat pass freed Charlie Yexley down the right and his cross was driven hard into the visitors' six yard box. The keeper failed to gather it properly and there was Albert Adu on hand to drive the ball home from a yard out.
As his team started to construct some occasionally flowing moves going forward Louis Rose might have made it four on 64 minutes but his neat headed flick was just wide.
And with a nod to the future Harrison Rookard came on with 20 minutes to go and might also have added to the score, driving a shot against a defender with his first touch. He had another chance after he rose to head the ball over his defender and then broke free from a shirt tug to shoot wide.
Without the tug he might well have done better but the referee either didn't see the offence or played an advantage that Rookard could have done without. The 18-year-old, who has already made scoring appearances in the under-23s, showed not a little skill and a willingness to get involved. It was a pleasing debut.
Ware's last big moment came with ten minutes to go when Kardan Campbell was a knife through butter as he brought the ball forward from the half way line and past the visiting defenders before hitting the post with his shot.
Ware: Anthony Page, Harry Norman (Charlie Yexley 45mins), Dominique Njoya, Louis Rose (Harrison Rookard 71mins), Bradley Fraser, Louis Bowen, Brett O'Connor (Josh Oyibo 59mins), Jack Daveney, Louis Blake (Harley Haag 71mins), Albert Adu (Kardan Campbell 59mins), Dave Cowley (Alaa Oujdi 59mins).