Ware 2 Phoenix Sports 2
Point saved at the death against league leaders as Ware stay unbeaten at home.
The weather defied Met Office predictions and instead of steady rain provided good conditions for both playing and watching football. In the main the teams responded and an entertaining match was enlivened as Ware gained a point with two goals in the closing minutes.
In terms of possession and pressure a point was the least they deserved but once again they had trouble converting these into goals whilst mistakes cost them at the other end of the pitch. The visitors meanwhile looked well drilled in attack and mostly solid in defence though Aston Goss had a particularly good game exposing them down Ware's left flank.
The match started with play very much end to end with Gareth Price firing wide after two minutes but Phoenix doing likewise two minutes later from a free kick. Another two minutes saw Price high and wide though a deflection had sent it for a corner which came to nothing.
However, Ware began to press and were having more of the game with things reaching a significant point halfway through the half. Steve Phillips in the Phoenix goal dropped a cross under pressure but the home side were unable to exploit the chance as his defence covered well.
Three minutes later Ware were behind as Alaa Oujdi conceded a needless corner which the defence failed to deal with adequately. Jack Barry was on hand to head home powerfully for the lead.
This initiated a strong response from the home side and there was continuous pressure on the Phoenix goal until the break with half chances and corners coming regularly but also coming to nothing. Murat Karagul looped over the bar with a neat volley and good work from Goss provided him with another chance later on but it was from long range and ultimately well wide.
It might have been expected that Phoenix would adjust their game after a half time rethink but initially at least the game continued as before with Goss again opening the defence on 47 minutes before working his way across the edge of the penalty area to fire a shot just wide of Phillips' post.
Three minutes later Jack Mace's cross reached Brian Haule whose shot brought a save out of Phillips but it wasn't all one way traffic. After 55 minutes Oujdi needed to get a tackle in to deny Phoenix with the ball going back to Kyle Forster being judged a back pass. The indirect free kick was blocked however.
Forster was in action again later tipping a fierce shot over the bar before at the other end Price was dancing through the Phoenix defence but ultimately into a dead end. There was more pressure from Ware but not for the first time this season this was soaked up by the opposition before breaking forward themselves.
So it was that a clearance on 68 minutes found Vences Bola bearing down on Forster's goal. The keeper came out of his area but as two defenders closed in the bouncing ball hit his outstretched arms. The referee deemed that the ball was not under control and that with two defenders in attendance it was not a goal scoring chance so brandished a yellow card at Forster rather than a red. It seemed not to matter when Ashley Probets stepped up and sent the free kick into the top corner of the Ware net for 2-0.
That might have been it but one thing to be said for Ware this season is that they never give up and they continued to press for a goal. Karagul put Price through but the Phoenix defence did enough to smother the opportunity. Next a Reynolds shot was parried by Phillips but cleared by his defence under pressure from Price.
It was not until the 87th minute that another Price sortie into the Phoenix area saw him tripped and a penalty awarded. Karagul did the necessary from the spot with a clean strike that gave Phillips no chance.
Ware continued to press for an equaliser and scored it deep into added time when Karagul dropped an inch perfect cross into Price lurking between two defenders. His stooping header found the bottom corner of the net.
So a point was rescued and the game ended with both teams having preserved their respective unbeaten home and away records. But unless Ware can find a way to turn pressure more easily into goals these frustrating games will continue to be a feature of their season.
Ware: Kyle Forster, Jack Mace, Alaa Oujdi, Ryan Hervel (Dani Ladeira 75mins), Marcus Rose, Tom Bradbury, Aston Goss, Murat Karagul, Brian Haule (Joe Reynolds 68mins), Gareth Price, Evandro Delgado (Nathan Mukuna 69mins). Unused subs: Anton Johnson, Joe Simmonds.