Northwood 1 Ware 2
Hard fought victory as Ware start to recover lost ground.
This win was Ware's first at Northwood at the fourth attempt and completed a second league double of the season to continue their revival after the January doldrums.
If that makes it sound easy it was never that. A competitive game on a difficult surface following late rain was always going to be a close run thing and so it proved at the end as Ware just hung on for the victory.
The opening exchanges were initially cagey but Ware moved the ball well and looked dangerous going forward. They were the first to come close with Khale Dacosta firing over the bar from distance before Murat Karagul and Dernell Wynter both had chances.
Almost inevitably however it was that man Kieran Bishop who opened the scoring in the fifteenth minute with his 20th league goal of the season. A through ball was chased by Wynter to the goal line where, without immediate support, he held off challenges before feeding the ball back to the advancing number nine. Bishop controlled it, took a pace or two and then fired into the net giving Berkley Laurencin little chance.
The rest of the half presented chances to both sides but Ware, fielding the same outfield starting line up for the fourth game running, are beginning to look the part. They held firm under attack with Jack Mace and Ryan Hervel both stepping up to the mark alongside their colleagues at the back with Jimmy Hartley adding to the attacking options.
The only disappointment was the tendency to lose or give away possession but on a day when it was difficult to keep upright both sides were guilty of this.
The second half did not initially produce a significant fight back from the home side and if anything Ware started the period with the greater possession. By now the pitch was sticky and the ball would sometimes get held up in the mud allowing Ware's forwards to intercept it and move forward again.
Bishop played provider out on the left on one occasion ultimately flicking the ball across the area with the outside of his right foot. A brief scramble ensued with the ball shovelled out of play for a corner.
The match seemed to be over in the 86th minute when a Ware shot was deflected towards the goal wrong footing Laurencin but just failing to make it across the line as the mud put a brake to it. Defenders struggled to turn and clear it away but Wynter was there at the last moment to force it into the goal for 2-0.
Ware made two rapid substitutions after that as the game appeared won but Northwood were having none of it and in the 89th minute scored through James Budden who headed home from a corner.
The home side threw everything in to getting an equaliser and on Ware's recent history who would have bet against them doing it. Deep in to added time it seemed that they must score but in a goal mouth melee Tom Coulton made two fine saves to keep the three points with the visitors.
Ware: Tom Coulton, Jack Mace, Alaa Oujdi, Ryan Hervel, Marcus Rose, Ben Crilley, Khale Dacosta (Steven O'Hara 87mins), Jimmy Hartley (Elliot Bailey 68mins), Kieran Bishop, Dernell Wynter, Murat Karagul (Harley Haag 87mins). Unused subs: Joe Simmonds.