Norwich United 2 Ware 1
Disappointment as points are nicked by United.
This game was settled by a goal immediately after half time; it wasn't a fluke nor is bizarre the correct way to describe it but it was a strange and underwhelming way to concede the lead in a game Ware had had the better of.
The much travelled Christy Finch put over a cross from the left and Alaa Oujdi under pressure stooped to head it clear. Instead the ball looped agonisingly slowly beyond the wrong footed Darren Behcet to find the corner of the net. Once again Ware had been hit in the opening minutes of the second half and ultimately proved unable to recover.
Until that moment Ware had enjoyed the greater share of possession and territory thanks to a more solid performance than of late. This was at least partly due to the reappearance in Ware colours of Lee White who never put a foot wrong in central defence.
His partner in this role was Jack Fowler who put in a steady performance which was at the expense of first team captain Marcus Rose, starting on the substitutes' bench. Behcet took the captain's armband and was active in encouragement and advice for the back four in front of him.
With the defence looking less likely to concede the kind of goals they have of late it was up to the midfield to provide the necessary prompting to the forwards. Ryan Hervel had a good game with Tyrique Hyde making his debut on loan from Dagenham & Redbridge finding his feet well at Step 4.
Even so it was the home side who took the lead mid way through the half. A United attack seemed to be well marshalled and forced sideways rather than forward. But a final pass found Jamie Speller out wide on the right and his strong shot from outside the area could only be parried away by Behcet. And there was Finch racing in from the left to bury a well taken shot into the goal.
Ware's reply came on the half hour mark, a free kick on the edge of the home penalty area being lofted into the top corner of Andrew Wilton's goal by Murat Karagul who made it look very easy.
Whatever may have been said in the dressing room at half time about keeping things tight was nullified by the quick fire goal from the restart and Ware never quite got the same share of the game after that in what ended as a fairly even second period.
White headed wide from a corner ten minutes in and there followed a period during which Ware forced another three corners without being able to make them count. So things were changed around with Marcus Rose coming on for Jonathan Nzengo to free Junior Appiah to go forward and later Josh Oyibo came on for Oujdi in another move to heighten attack at the expense of defence but the home side held firm.
White was again a danger man with time nearly up after a ball from Hyde was threaded through the home defence to him but the defender was denied by Wilton.
The resultant corner was headed over by Oyibo before another move saw Kambo Smith carrying the ball past United defenders only for the referee to blow up for a foul on the Ware man. Smith felt he should have been left to keep going but it did look as though he had lost control of the ball at the last. Karagul lined up for the free kick but any hopes that he would repeat his first half goal went away as the ball flew over the bar, carrying with it Ware's hopes for what would have been a deserved point.
Ware: Darren Behcet, Junior Appiah, Alaa Oujdi (Josh Oyibo 78mins), Ryan Hervel, Jack Fowler, Lee White, Jonathan Nzengo (Marcus Rose 66mins), Tyrique Hyde, Gareth Price (Imedd Kartita 68mins), Kambo Smith, Murat Karagul. Unused subs: Dean Mason, Reece Simpson.