St Ives Town 1 Ware 0
First defeat in eight games as Charlery looks to the future.
Ware's undefeated run came to an end at St Ives who thereby maintained their play-off hopes. In truth though neither side looked promotion material in this game and Ken Charlery expressed himself "disappointed" with the day.
Ware were in less need of points than the home side and this allowed him to ring a number of changes with his side. Three players made their first full appearances and another came off the bench for only the second time as the manager tries to achieve a balance between maintaining the flow of good results and assessing likely candidates for next year's squad.
Of the three Harry Singh continued at left back in place of Alaa Oujdi, injured in the previous game and now out for the rest of the season. Also promoted from last week's substitute appearances was Justin Leavers whose height and ball skills were put to good use in the striker's role.
The third was George Essuman who made his debut at centre back in place of the unavailable Steve O'Hara. O'Hara may find his place at risk if Essuman can maintain his assured and calm performance from this game. Certainly Charlery feels that with Marcus Rose coming back from injury, Ben Crilley recovered from his appendix operation by next season and Murat Karagul continuing his ever dependable service he has an embarrassment of riches at centre back.
The game itself was played on a firm surface that gave both teams trouble with the bouncing ball. After early uncertainty however, Ware settled into some good form and had the better of things in the first half. During this period it was speed down the wings that made the difference with Josh Oyibo and Khale Dacosta getting in behind the St Ives defence.
Kieran Bishop, captain in the absence of Oujdi, also exposed the slow home defence though he was robbed of a chance on ten minutes when he was given offside despite clearly coming from an onside position. Bishop did have the ball in the net after 25 minutes when put through by Leavers but this time he was rightly given offside.
The home defence was having trouble coping with Ware's attacks and numerous clearances were skewed away under pressure. Tim Trebes in the home goal also had a moment to forget as he fumbled an Oyibo shot in the 17th minute but Ware were unable to capitalise and the ball was cleared, a moment that perhaps summed up Ware's day.
There were inevitably problems at the other end as well with Jack Mace on the goal line to pick up the pieces from a Tom Coulton save on 20 minutes and Coulton required to deflect a shot from Jared Cunniff over the bar 15 minutes later. But he couldn't deny St Ives on 39 minutes when the ball was worked across the field near his penalty area in a number of passes before reaching Declan Rogers who scored from close in.
Spurred by the goal St Ives upped their game with another Cunniff effort, a volley, being their best effort in the remaining time though it was straight at and safely gathered by Coulton.
Almost immediately after the restart Jack Hutchinson turned his full back this way and that to get a cross in to Oyibo in front of goal but his header was easily gathered. Thereafter hopes that the second half would see Ware claw their way back into the game were not realised as play deteriorated.
Ware seemed less able to get in behind the home defence and St Ives had the best chance of the half when hesitation in the Ware defence let in Cunniff whose shot was blocked by Coulton with the rebound being blasted wide.
Charlery brought on his substitutes in the last 30 minutes and with time running out Ware did start to exert some pressure. Singh's long throws were one aspect of this period but, as yet, no-one seems to know how to exploit them. Dernell Wynter was the only player to gain any advantage from one as the game drew to a close but his shot was over the bar.
It was not a good day for supporters to choose a player of the season though with time running out the chance will soon be theirs. Players who have already achieved 20 appearances this season or are likely to will be candidates and the poll should be on the website soon.
Meanwhile, Ware's team in this game was - Tom Coulton, Jack Mace, Harry Singh, Ryan Hervel (Jake Chambers-Shaw 69mins), George Essuman, Murat Karagul, Khale Dacosta (Dernell Wynter 63mins), Josh Oyibo, Kieran Bishop, Justin Leavers, Jack Hutchinson (Danny Hart 60mins). Unused subs: Joe Simmonds, Marcus Rose.