Godalming Town 0 Ware 1
Recent improvement continues with a clean sheet and three points.
Had Godalming converted an excellent chance in the opening five minutes when a shot came off Tom Coulton's left hand post but was driven straight back into his grasp when the rest of the goal lay open, this match might have taken a different course.
Instead Ware went on to snatch a win from a close fought, end to end battle in which the vital goal fell to Kieran Bishop who has now scored in seven consecutive matches, something which has not been achieved by a Ware player since "Topper" Clarke in 1948/9.
It hadn't looked the likely outcome initially as Godalming held sway in the early sparring and it took Ware time to pull themselves into contention. When they did so they too came close with Bishop hitting the foot of a post but, in the main, whilst both teams looked dangerous, the two keepers had little to deal with. Whilst there was no shortage of efforts on goal they either went over or wide and come the half time whistle no-one was complaining that the teams were level.
The start of the second half was delayed for the arrival of a replacement assistant referee after an injury to one of the officials and it looked like the home side had benefitted most from the chance to rethink their approach. They opened up Ware's defence twice, first hitting the bar and then having a shot roll along the goal line before it was cleared.
But, with a Spitfire patrolling the skies above, Ware once again fought back into the game with new signing Jack Hutchinson coming off the bench on 52 minutes to play an increasingly influential role in midfield. Hutchinson, on loan from Staines Town of the Ryman Premier, demonstrated skill on the ball, positional awareness and the ability to pick out a team mate with a well directed pass.
This was never more so than in the 82nd minute when he took the ball to the left goal line and put it across the penalty area to find Bishop who scored from in front of goal.
Ware had another chance when Elliot Bailey turned on a ball in the area and shot for the top corner but whilst Oneal Garnes pulled off a great save to deny him at the expense of a corner there was no denying Ware the points.
The fact that those points came from an away game against a side that had not lost for six matches spoke of the improvements that Ken Charlery and Stuart Crawford have brought. They seem to have forged Ware into a solid and competitive unit.
What has characterised Ware's good run since early February has been consistent team selection. However, the suspension of Marcus Rose and an appendectomy for Ben Crilley which probably rules him out for the rest of the season, meant that Steven O'Hara was joined at centre back by the ever reliable and versatile Murat Karagul. How ironic that the apparently makeshift pairing should see out Ware's first clean sheet since 5th December when Beaconsfield were beaten by the same score.
Coincidentally Ware travel to Beaconsfield next Saturday for the return fixture and with increasing confidence. The play-offs may be just a bit too far off now but there are games still to come against other contenders and on this form Ware look more than capable of influencing the final make up.
Ware: Tom Coulton, Jack Mace, Alaa Oujdi, Ryan Hervel, Murat Karagul, Steven O'Hara, Khale Dacosta (Danny Hart 83mins), Josh Oyibo (Jack Hutchinson 52mins), Kieran Bishop, Dernell Wynter (Elliot Bailey 74mins), Jimmy Hartley. Unused sub: Joe Simmonds