Petersfield Town 2 Ware 3
Ware come through in milestone game.
This was Ware's fourth consecutive league win and their 2,000th first team victory since the club's founding. It's up to you which you think is the more notable milestone but you can be sure that Kem Kemal and his players will say it's the former.
Twelve points in four games is the best return for the club since Ware won seven back to back league games in the final weeks of the Glen Alzapiedi era in 2008. Kemal's earlier statement in the press that four consecutive wins at Step 4 is a difficult (and by default noteworthy) achievement means that he and his players should now have the belief to maintain their climb up the table.
In fact they started the game looking as though they already had that confidence and slowly took hold of the first half with their lively forwards always a handful for the home defence. Kieran Bishop scored twice and might have had four but for a post and a surprising decision to make a wayward pass when everyone else was willing him to shoot with only the keeper to beat.
By then he had already beaten Anthony Ender from close range. After having a shot saved he got a second chance in the resulting goal mouth melee and scored through a ruck of players.
Ender had a good game but he will not want to be reminded of Bishop's second goal after he was robbed of the ball by the marauding forward on the edge of his area allowing the Ware man a free shot into the empty net.
Ware looked to be establishing clear blue water between themselves and Petersfield but the home side were not just bystanders in this game. They had already clipped the bar in one attack and as the clock ticked down to half time and with Ware committing more men up front they broke up field. As the Ware defence sought to close them down the ball rolled free to Joe Briggs who, like Bishop before him, had an empty net to shoot at.
This was just the fillip any losing team needs and the half time talk must have been about carrying the game to Ware in the second period. Certainly that's what it looked like as Petersfield took control and denied Ware any opportunity to continue their attacking game.
With just five minutes gone the home side had a corner on Ware's right and the ball came over to Briggs. His looping header might well have been intended for a colleague but if so it deceived everyone and just made it into the top corner of the goal.
Surely now Ware (who had yet to score more than two goals in a game) would be hard pressed to save even a draw from a game they had so recently looked like winning comfortably.
But they rode out the storm and with the introduction of Josh Oyibo (on the bench after his late arrival at the ground) started to press again. Even so Khale Dacosta's winner, fired low from outside the area, needed a deflection to beat Ender who had already denied another distance shot from the Ware man with a flying save to his right.
Ware kept the victory safe after that even though they lost the impressive Paul Cooper to injury (he should be fit for Saturday). They also gave a debut to Corey Davidson who did not disappoint. He has had a spell with Heybridge Swifts but joins after time in his native Ireland with Drogheda United and Bohemians.
Ware: Jack Smith, Paul Cooper (Mickey Clark 79mins), Murat Karagul, Liam Griffin, Jack Fowler, Ben Crilley, Khale Dacosta, Finbarr Robins (Alaa Oujdi 71mins), Kieran Bishop, Corey Davidson (Josh Oyibo 61mins), Rod Young. Unused subs: Kieron Street.