Ware 1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1
Ware rescue a point at the last.
If Ware felt that they might have had something more than a draw at Fleet last week they had their recompense in this game when Nana Asamoah was again on the score sheet to deny a strong AFC Rushden & Diamonds side with an equaliser four minutes into added time.
Until then their offensive intent had found little joy against an uncompromising defence which broke up many attacks before they threatened damage. It was only at the end of the game that a series of passes at last found a well-placed player, with a ball to Asamoah just beyond the six yard area. He hit it with the outside of his left foot relying on placing rather than power and found the bottom of the net with 'keeper Finlay beaten.
It was Kieran Bishop who supplied the final pass for Murat Karagul to feed Asamoah. Bishop had spent much of the game trying to do too much on his own, the weight of being last season's top scorer seemingly imposing on him the need to rescue the game singlehandedly. This one moment should be a happy reminder that there are other ways to do that.
It hadn't seemed that Ware might be starved of opportunities at the beginning. Within the first few minutes Rod Young had put over a cross that almost brought a goal but in a way that would define much of their afternoon the ball was fired wide.
At this time the teams were still sparring with each other and Ware mounted more attacks with the full backs joining in but the visitors were giving as good as they got if not with a little added interest as the game wore on thanks to an increasingly influential midfield.
And so it was that they began to get the upper hand, a hand that exercised an influential grip on much of the remainder of the game and was rewarded after 23 minutes when Claudiu Hoban received the ball out wide on the left. A few steps to improve range and angle, then a shot across Jack Smith's dive and into the far side of the net marked his first start for the club.
Ware's second half was disrupted early on when Ajet Shehu limped off after 48 minutes but the more telling substitution came with the arrival of Anthony Thomas who seems a different player from the one we saw last year. His arrival certainly gave Ware more options but Diamonds continued to play their part and but for Smith might have put the game to bed.
As it was Ware slowly mounted their own pressure in the final ten minutes with Bishop stinging Finlay's hands who had to gather at the second attempt before the Ware man's later contribution to the goal.
The wisdom among supporters at this game was that Ware just need to win a game to kick start their season. Snatching a draw in this fashion felt as good as a win, perhaps it will do the trick.
Ware: Jack Smith, Paul Cooper, Alaa Oujdi, Murat Karagul, Ben Crilley, Ajet Shehu (Jack Fowler 48mins), Rod Young, Josh Oyibo, Kieran Bishop, Nana Asamoah, Charlie Ledula (Anthony Thomas 54mins). Unused subs: Mickey Clark, Marco Tuzzeo, Danny Charles.