Ware 6 Fleet Town 1
Fleet sunk by early Ware broadsides.
Last week Ware opened their scoring after 30 seconds but it took all of 54 seconds to do it against Fleet in this entertaining game. Again, like the previous Saturday, it was a goal from a debutant. Tall defender David Longe-King, with his back to the goal, announced his arrival to the home fans by flicking a waist-high ball into the net with his heel after a corner from the left was allowed to drift through the six yard box by the Fleet defence.
It was 2-0 six minutes later when the previous week's opening scorer was at it again. Another corner wasn't dealt with properly and after a short bout of head tennis Elliot Bailey was on hand to nod the ball home from short range.
By this point Fleet had been so adrift that a massacre looked on the cards but the visitors, with a number of young players in their side, pulled themselves together and started to give as good as they got, sometimes a little better. In an end to end battle play seemed marginally more in the Ware half than the visitors and there was a sense that if another goal was to come it would be in the Ware net. Would a resurgent Fleet go on to sink Ware?
It was not to be and five minutes from half time Kieran Bishop put through a ball for Rod Young to chase into the Fleet penalty area. Ryan Price in the visitors' goal came out to intercept but was adjudged to have brought Young down as they met outside the six yard box.
Bishop, who had missed two penalties in the recent home game with Arlesey, was back in top form for this match and showed no reluctance to try again. He was deservedly third time lucky with a confident strike low to the right of Pryce who had guessed the wrong way.
Ware could breathe again but Ken Charlery wanted no more doubts and demanded that his team get at Fleet from the start of the second half. This they did with another two-goal salvo in the opening minutes.
First Rod Young carried the ball forward down the right before unleashing a fierce shot that swept past Pryce and into the bottom of the goal on 51 minutes. Two minutes later Bishop, playing with a much freer approach now that he is not the lone striker, brought the ball in from the left almost along the goal line before centring for Bailey to drive it into the roof of the net.
The outcome was no longer in any doubt but Fleet continued to look for an opening which they eventually found in the 73rd minute. Craig Davis' free kick, possibly with a little help from the strong, gusty wind, cannoned into the net off a post. The returning Tom Coulton in the Ware goal had little chance of stopping it.
Ware were not finished however and Bishop ended an excellent day for him and his teammates by taking the ball confidently round Pryce in the 85th minute to score the sixth from a difficult angle.
By this time Ware were down to ten men, Khale Dacosta having suffered what looked a painful reoccurrence of the hamstring injury that had kept him out of the side since the game at Tring. Having come on as a substitute himself there were by this time none left to replace him. He may now be out for a further four weeks.
Another substitute, Harley Haag, had come on for the last 15 minutes and after a nervous start looked like a good addition to the squad.
With Longe-King already looking to have booked his place in the back four it was perhaps a little surprising that it was Ben Crilley, consistently good this season, who had to give way for him. Instead Crilley operated in a midfield role where, to the surprise of some though presumably not his manager, he put in a sterling man of the match performance.
Ware: Tom Coulton, Paul Cooper, Alaa Oujdi, Ben Crilley, Jack Fowler, David Longe-King, Rod Young, Jimmy Hartley (Liam Griffin 60mins), Kieran Bishop, Elliot Bailey (Harley Haag 76mins), Murat Karagul (Khale Dacosta 60mins). Unused subs: Joe Simmonds, Charlie Kuehn