Bedford Town 3 Ware 2
Ware fall short at the Eyrie.
Ware made a slow start to this game with Bedford taking the lead after six minutes when good work on the their right drew the visiting defence and left space on the other side. So Matt Clifford had room to spare when Stuart Muldrew's cross reached him and he scored with comparative ease.
With a strong wind at their backs Ware came into the game and play began to consistently flow towards the Bedford goal. The equaliser duly arrived after 23 minutes when Josh Oyibo spotted an opening and, in the words of the old song, played it straight down the middle. Tyler Reading came out from his goal to collect but Kieran Bishop beat him to the ball and a well judged lob was goal bound from the moment it left his boot.
This seemed a turning point and Ware continued to press with a couple of notable near misses before they got their reward on the half hour. After a game of pinball in the home penalty area the ball reached Murat Karagul who scored from close range with two home defenders, sliding unsuccessfully to block the shot, ending up in the net as well.
Things looked good at this point and it might have been 3-1 a little later when Bishop was the recipient of a cross from the left on the edge of the six yard box. With the benefit of hindsight a left foot shot blasted towards goal ought to have done the trick but the number nine instead angled his body and right foot to steer the ball in the necessary direction. No extra speed or force was imparted and Reading was just able to fall and clutch the ball to his chest.
Shortly after this the home side had their best spell of the game and play started to concentrate in the Ware half. With a minute of normal time left this culminated in a penalty for a rash tackle. Kyal McNulty buried it in the centre left of Tom Coulton's goal with the keeper guessing the wrong way.
Half time saw the withdrawal of Liam Griffin and the introduction of Kit Brown, signed that morning for first team duty after games with the under-21s and under-17s. At 16 years and 261 days he was not the youngest ever player in Ware's history but it is a big ask for some one of that age and slight build to mix it with grown men. However, with his best years still ahead of him he showed enough to suggest that he has ability worth cultivating.
The second half was a tighter affair. Bedford now had the wind in their favour but too many balls forward just ended up running out of play. Those that didn't were usually chased down by Solomon Sambou who was doing most of the running for the home side though with mixed results and he was replaced with 20 minutes to go.
Ware made their own alterations at about the same time with Oyibo giving way to Jack Mace and Elliot Bailey, who had been quiet for most of the match, yielding to perennial substitute Harley Haag whose late goal had won the game against Beaconsfield the week before.
There was to be no last minute salvation this time however and these changes did not really alter the drift of the game. Ware were without the injured Young, DaCosta and Hartley, and failed to impose themselves on it despite the promptings of Karagul who was having his best game for some time.
In the end Ware were undone in the 79th minute when a free kick taken by Coulton out on Ware's left was caught by the wind and drifted out of play. Bedford were quick with the throw in and with the keeper scuttling back into position found an opening from which Josh Beech scored.
And so the game ran down and Ware's frustration at their impending defeat ultimately led to Bishop being cautioned for over zealous work when chasing back. On the plus side he now has 13 league goals this season but it seems that number proved unlucky on the day.
Ware: Tom Coulton, Paul Cooper, Alaa Oujdi, Ben Crilley, Jack Fowler, David Longe-King, Josh Oyibo (Jack Mace 70mins), Liam Griffin (Kit Brown 46mins), Kieran Bishop, Elliot Bailey (Harley Haag 72mins), Murat Karagul. Unused subs: Olumide Quadri, Joe Simmonds.