Aveley 5 Ware 2
The Ware team lines up for our first game back in the Isthmian League not expecting the final outcome.
Everyone was being cautious before this match; there was no outward expression of the inevitable expectation after a good pre-season, and a proper recognition that competition can be a lot different to friendly games.
Even so there can be no doubting that this heavy defeat felt like a kick in the stomach, mainly because it was very much self-inflicted. It is arguable that all seven of the goals in this match were the result of poor defending but the way Ware leaked three in the last 15 minutes was of particular concern after they had been getting the better of the proceedings through much of the second half.
Mind you the writing was on the wall as early as the tenth minute when Olumbe Olliwatimilehain gave the home side the lead. His shot took a fortunate deflection over Kyle Forster but he had been left with plenty of time and space in the area and it would have been harder not to have scored.
Up to that point the game had been unimpressive as both sides seemed to struggle to string passes together in the heat and on a hard pitch. But the goal did seem to wake Ware up and they started to match their pre-season form. It only took four minutes for the equaliser to come as Aston Goss's free kick found the head of an unmarked Brian Haule who headed past Richie Robins.
This set Ware going and they were ahead five minutes later after Gareth Price was brought down in the area by Robins. Haule converted the kick with ease and it was hard to suppress a feeling that Ware were now starting to find their rhythm. Certainly they were having the better of things and searching for another goal to confirm their superiority.
Instead it was Aveley who found the net when Emmanuel Ighorae was also allowed time and space to fire home after half an hour. The rest of the half returned to the sporadic and even lethargic play of the opening period with the hard pitch thwarting attempts at a passing game.
The second half was little different though Aveley should have taken the lead shortly after the restart when Michael Pindy's cross could have been buried in an empty net. Although Forster was across his goal in time to gather a weak shot on the line Pindy's run down the wing had been another warning of what was to come.
Yet it was Ware who were pushing harder for a goal and they almost had it when Haule's shot hit the post before being cleared. It was another period in which the visitors were starting to look the likely winners but again it was ended by a goal at the other end of the pitch.
Pindy received the ball as Ware were caught upfield and after taking it forward he lobbed Forster to score and change the direction of the game after 75 minutes. A draw at least was still possible but heads seemed to drop and Ware were twice more caught out at the back as Aveley struck down both wings.
Four minutes later it was Pindy again with a jinking run on goal who opened up the Ware defence before feeding Ighorae who scored with ease. Pindy rounded things off in the dying minutes with the finishing touch to a move that had once again exploited what was by this time a confused Ware defence.
It was a disappointing start to a season that still holds promise but the ability of Aveley to open up Ware down both wings needs to be addressed before other teams exploit it in the same way.
Ware: Kyle Forster, Aston Goss, Alaa Oujdi, Jason Coughlan (Ryan Hervel 49mins), Marcus Rose, Tom Bradbury, Murat Karagul, Josh Oyibo, Brian Haule, Gareth Price, Evandro Delgado (Nathan Mukuna 71mins). Unused subs: Jack Mace, Kambo Smith, Joe Simmonds