Northwood 2 Ware 2
By Stephen King
Points lost as Ware squander a lifeline or two.
This match swung one way then another as Ware came from behind to lead seemingly comfortably before leaking a late equaliser. The Blues were without Dave Cowley and Harry Ricketts both nursing injuries from Tuesday's game with Hertford. Anthony Page, signed from Grays Athletic two weeks ago, made his first team debut between the posts whilst Jack Daveney took over Cowley's number seven shirt.
Ware played well enough in the opening period but the continuing absence of Jordon Watson leaves Leigh Rose as the focal point for all long balls pitched forward when in normal circumstances he is the one to feed off Watson's ability to hold the ball and chase everything. As a result Ware needed to put more emphasis on working the ball forward but until they did the game started to drift in Northwood's favour.
Their danger man was James Ewington, the division's leading scorer, who popped up clear of the Ware defence on several occasions. Somehow he was denied each time and the game began to swing back to Ware with the visitors gaining their first corner on 24 minutes thanks to Leigh Rose's determination.
Jack Daveney took the corner and played the ball out to the edge of the home area where Albert Adu was waiting to meet it on the volley but the connection wasn't quite clean enough and the ball went wide.
Ware were now sensing their chance and Adu was wide again with a header from Harry Norman's cross before a free kick was steered away for another corner. Once again Daveney found Adu in the area but this time it was a powerful header flying just wide.
It was all undone on 37 minutes when another Ware attack down the right was broken up and Northwood spotted their chance. The ball was back into the Ware half and there was Ewington free again carrying it into the penalty from where he slipped it past the isolated Page for the opening goal.
After this the wind went out of Ware's sails and they seemed to be drifting towards a half time deficit. It might have been two but for Page tipping Alex Morgan's strong shot over the bar but with time running out Ben Hart, from whom much of Ware's good work was emanating, put over a cross from the right.
There was Adu yet again coming in to meet it but he was bundled over by Sam Jenkins for a penalty. Adu got up to take the kick but seemed unhappy with the placement of the ball and eventually shot to Luke Sheldrick's right. The keeper did well to get across and push the ball away for a corner.
Ware came out looking more determined in the second half and were handed another lifeline when Northwood's Emmanuel Melford-Rowe committed two yellow card offences in two minutes leaving his team a man short on 56 minutes. This certainly had its effect on the home side. Even though they might easily have chosen to sit tight in defence and rely on quick breaks to exploit Ewington's proven ability they seemed to lose confidence and Ware worked hard to exploit this.
They found a way six minutes later when Daveney's cross reached Hart at the far post and the number eleven fired home for the equaliser. The game was now surely for the taking and Ware certainly applied the pressure with both Adu and Leigh Rose heading wide from promising positions whilst Northwood were having trouble getting the ball forward.
The apparent breakthrough came after 76 minutes when Leigh Rose was brought down in the area by the home keeper. This time Jason Brown took the penalty kick and made no mistake to give Ware the lead.
Ware needed another goal to finish off the opposition but they couldn't get it and this time it was Northwood who sensed their chance. Another Ware attack broke down on the edge of the home area and was quickly cleared to Kweku Lucan fresh off the substitute's bench. The Ware defence was caught napping and Lucan, choosing his moment, crossed the ball to where Ewington was waiting, so clear of any Ware player it was a surprise he wasn't offside. He had all the time in the world to fire the equaliser into an empty net.
The Blues will see this as two points dropped but the draw does bring them their first away point of the season.
Ware: Anthony Page, Harry Norman, Dominique Njoya, Gareth Madden (Callum Taylor 74mins), Louis Rose, Bradley Fraser, Jack Daveney (Harley Haag 92mins), Jason Brown, Leigh Rose, Albert Adu, Ben Hart. Unused subs: Josh Oyibo, John Frendo, Billy Baird.