Arlesey Town 1 Ware 3
On the way to Armadillo hoping for a three-goal thrill-o.
Ware had a record to keep up of having scored three goals on each of their three previous league visits to the Armadillo Stadium so supporters might have feared the worst when they saw that several players were rested for this game. Bishop, Coulton, DaCosta and Karagul were on the bench and Jack Mace given recovery time for an injury sustained in midweek training. As it turned out there was no need to worry as Ware netted three again in a display to demonstrate the squad's strength in depth.
They now travel to promotion chasing Royston on Tuesday night with confidence though must be wary after the north Herts' side's management team were there to cast an eye over them following the postponement of their own match at Aylesbury.
Justin Leavers was the first to show for Ware as he, along with Jack Hutchinson, was the spark to ignite Ware in the first 20 minutes of the game. A strong run to the byline after eight minutes opened up the home defence but there was not enough support and his ball back into the centre of the penalty area only found an Arlesey defender.
Two minutes later Hutchinson was put through with just Nick Thompson to beat but the keeper saved relatively easily yet, within another minute, Ware had the lead. Leavers fed Dernell Wynter, picked up the return pass and his shot found the net through a tangle of legs and falling bodies for his first goal for the club.
Ware were looking comfortable at this stage with the Arlesey defence slow to get a grip of them and Leavers was in action again after 15 minutes when he put Hutchinson through. This time there was no chance for Thompson to save as the ball was chipped over him to give Hutchinson his own first goal for the blues.
At this point it looked as though Ware could go one to seal the points well before half time but Arlesey pulled themselves back into contention. The game became a more even contest and the ever combative Josh Oyibo, captain for the day whilst Bishop occupied the bench, was required to take his responsibilities seriously enough to earn a booking after 34 minutes.
Even so Ware didn't look in any real trouble until the last minute of the half when a lofted ball fell to Steven O'Hara playing at right back in place of Mace. Somehow O'Hara was caught out by the bounce of the ball and before he could recover Arlesey's Tony Williams was on it and shooting across the goal. The ball found the net just inside the far post for an unexpected half time boost for the home side.
Ware's second half started with Khale Dacosta on for Danny Hart but this was mirrored by the home side's introduction of Dylan Gittens. The number 14 made a lively start and his 48th minute shot was no more than a foot wide of Joe Simmonds right hand post.
But if this signalled a determined fight back by Arlesey it did not materialise and Simmonds was only in any serious action once more after George Essuman tried to dribble his way out of trouble on the edge of his penalty area with ten minutes to go. The ball was lost to Jevani Brown whose fierce shot from 18 yards was heading for the top corner of the net until Simmonds' acrobatic leap and finger tip save.
By this time Ware were 3-1 up. A neat corner routine that has been tried before but without success did the trick this time as DaCosta and Hutchinson combined to give Wynter the opportunity to score from close range after 57 minutes. It was enough and with Jake Chambers-Shaw back to his form of the previous week after a quiet opening half the home side were generally well contained.
As a result of this win Ware rise to 10th in the table. The seven consecutive league defeats during the period when Ken Charlery and Stuart Crawford were developing the side are now a distant memory. If Ware could play those games again, who knows where they might be in the table.
As it is a strong defence has become the basis of success. The last eight games have seen them concede just five goals and never more than one in any game. There was a time when such tactics would have been condemned as unadventurous and boring but no-one can level that criticism at a side that boasts plenty of skill going forward and one of the division's top scorers.
Ware: Joe Simmonds, Steven O'Hara, Harry Singh, Jake Chambers-Shaw, Marcus Rose, George Essuman, Jack Hutchinson, Josh Oyibo, Justin Leavers (Kieran Bishop 72mins), Dernell Wynter (Murat Karagul 77mins), Danny Hart (Khale Dacosta 46mins). Unused subs: Tom Coulton, Taylor Wild.