Haringey Borough 4 Ware 1
Difficult night at Coles Park.
Was this a microcosm of Ware's season so far; plenty of the ball for long periods and good movement going forward but undone by seemingly unexpected goals, in this case three in the space of seven minutes? If it was a microcosm it was writ large in the final score.
With Alaa Oujdi and Jonathan Constant back on the available list Tom Bradbury returned to a centre back role with Murat Karagul back in midfield at the expense of Ryan Hervel on the bench.
This seemed to be working, with Ware having substantially more of the game in the opening period. By the sixth minute another Ware attack saw Brian Haule head narrowly wide after good work between Gareth Price and Constant and it seemed surely only a matter of time before the neat footwork and inter-passing would unlock the home defence.
At the other end of the field Haringey were not offering much of a threat going forward with many passes either over- or under-hit and the Ware defence having little more than mopping up duties. Haringey seemed to be suffering a loss of confidence in the hangover from Saturday's 2-0 home defeat.
Yet what a difference a goal or three can make. After 20 minutes more good work by Haule and Price in attack was returned with immediate interest and all Ware's pressure was negated as Haringey's Dean Fenton showed them how to turn a chance into a goal. The clearance found him on the right and with Ware committed forward and now coming back desperately he drilled his shot past Kyle Forster for the opener. It could well have been the home side's first shot of the game.
Forster, such a stalwart between the posts this season, will own that this was not his best performance. Four minutes later in an effort to clear a back pass from wide outside his area he skewed the ball low towards the centre circle where Ralston Gabriel was waiting. The 'keeper seemed slow to get back to his line and Gabriel's long range shot went in unchallenged.
Three minutes later it was 3-0 when a corner was poorly defended and the ball fell to Rakim Richards who scored from close to the penalty spot. Haringey were now transformed into a confident unit, picking out their men in a continuing effort to add to their score. On the other hand Ware were nervy and at times desperate in their efforts to keep them out.
Hopes of hanging on to what little they had for a half time revival seemed to go down in flames after 43 minutes when a cross slithered out of Forster's grasp and dropped at the feet of Dan Aristidou who made it 4-0 from close range. There was a hint of a nudge on the 'keeper but the referee was having none of it.
And yet, deep into added time Price was tripped as he dribbled through three men in the area. Haule scored the penalty with a seeming nonchalance at odds with Ware's position in the game and then moments later another run and shot by Price brought a corner.
The second half started with Ryan Hervel off the subs bench to allow the ever hard working Karagul to take a more attacking role. Haringey may have been resting on their laurels by this time but it was hard to escape the feeling that this was a better use and combination of Ware's talents.
Certainly they had the better of the second half and if there is any consolation to be had from this defeat it is that Ware didn't go quietly. Always looking to get and keep the game going just as Haringey were often content to slow things down, they were back to those first 20 minutes.
Well, almost. There was now wariness when the home side attacked and no more mopping up but a nervous apprehension that they might just make it 5-1. They didn't but neither could Ware reduce the arrears. In all it was a night to forget.
Ware: Kyle Forster, Jack Mace, Alaa Oujdi, Murat Karagul, Marcus Rose, Tom Bradbury, Evandro Delgado (Aston Goss 64mins), Josh Oyibo (Nathan Mukuna 75mins), Brian Haule, Gareth Price, Jonathan Constant (Ryan Hervel 45mins). Unused subs: Joe Reynolds, Dani Ladeira.