Barkingside 1 Ware 1
Another draw as Ware rise to the challenge.
Ware are rapidly becoming the draw specialists of Ryman North as they shared the spoils for a fifth time out of eight at Barkingside.
It may have been Non-league Day but whatever incentives the home side offered to encourage new support the attendance was as sparse as it ever looks on the wide open spaces of Cricklefield Stadium. The teams were not inspired and toiled away without giving anyone new to the non-league game much of a reason to return.
At least for the die-hard Ware supporters in the crowd the result was a victory of sorts over the challenging absence of key men. The manager and his assistant were sidelined (Las Vegas and chicken pox being the respective if disparate reasons) and injured captain Michael Deane did the honours in the dug out to further compound the on-field absences. As compensation George Florence came in at right back and Jack Fowler as centre back.
Even so Ware held their own and it was a pretty even game. However, if there was an edge in the first half it lay in the home side's Jason Fontaine, who was a constant threat down the left wing. It was his cross from which Lewis Francis headed Barkingside in front after 19 minutes.
The reply came just six minutes later when Kieran Bishop capitalised on a defensive mistake to run forward under pressure and shoot past the keeper into the bottom corner of the net. The pressure had come from Barkingside's Dan Callaway who had a good game against Ware's leading marksman. As a result Bishop was substituted in the second half and replaced by Tommy Wade, newly signed from Hertford. It was the sort of game that cried out for a debut-man's winning goal but also the sort of game that was unlikely to produce it.
In fact it was Wade's namesake Ryan who looked likeliest to do damage with a number of free kicks that came close to a goal, though not as close as his lob in added time that came off the post and then a surprised 'keeper before escaping for a corner. But Barkingside had also hit the Ware post earlier in the half and much as Ware would have welcomed a win it would have been hard on the home side.
Barkingside's Fontaine was less of a threat in the second period either because he had run his course or because Khale Dacosta was moved to right back. Replacing the luckless Florence in the line-up was Rheo Josephs from the under-21 side. He did enough to suggest he might deserve another chance in the future.
Ware: Rhys Madden, George Florence (Rheo Josephs 46 mins), Samir Hadi, Murat Karagul, Jack Fowler, Lee White (capt.), Khale Dacosta, Finbarr Robins, Kieran Bishop (Tommy Wade 59 mins), Ryan Wade, Marcus Milner. Unused subs: Kazim Bishop, Gareth Madden, Michael Deane.