Ware 0 Wingate & Finchley 2
Gore Vital To Wingate's Progress.
Maybe it wasn't Trump versus Clinton but as other contenders for man of the match fell away from the running it became a enthralling contest between Ware's Gareth Price and the visitors' Shane Gore, an entertaining sub plot to this FA Trophy 2nd Qualifying Round match.
Price, either probing to provide openings for his team mates or shooting for goal himself, seemed to have the edge but Gore came through with a number of excellent saves to keep a clean sheet. Whether he was clawing the ball away for a corner high near the intersection of post and bar, smothering it at the foot of a post or, on one occasion, performing something akin to a star jump on the edge of his area to twice block goal-bound shots, Gore was just not going to let Ware through.
But it wasn't all down to Gore and in front of him he had a solid back four that made its contribution to thwarting Ware who too often played into their hands with high balls when keeping it on the ground would have been better. In particular Claudio Vilcu and Ola Williams had good games for the visitors though the latter was lucky the referee didn't have better hearing. Williams' multiple and "colourful" complaints about the referee might otherwise have prompted a card.
When Ware did play the ball on the ground they made better headway and as early as the 6th minute Price got behind the defence to drill the ball along the goal line but his team mates couldn't capitalise on the opening. Half way through the half good interplay between Price and Murat Karagul saw the latter try his luck but Gore turned the shot away for a corner as he did to Brian Haule's attempt with ten minutes of the half left.
At the other end Wingate & Finchley had been creating their own chances with Steve Wales' shot from within the penalty area after only four minutes being straight at Kyle Forster who gathered it safely enough. It was the first of three misses by the visitors' number seven who scuffed a shot high and wide in the second half. To extend the presidential contest analogy it was perhaps his "What is Aleppo?" moment. By the time he was easily robbed of the ball by Price in the centre of the field he cut a dejected figure and will have been disappointed by his contribution to the game.
Meanwhile Reece Beckles-Richards, the visitors' top scorer, was playing like it and confirmed his credentials in the 26th minute when, not for the first time this season, Ware were caught on the break and he scored low beyond Forster's dive. This was the only goal of the first half and represented a fair reflection of the game come the referee's whistle.
Initially the second half seemed to be going the same way as Ware struggled to get past a resolute defence whilst Wingate looked capable of getting another which they did just past the hour. Rob Laney's powerful shot was parried away by Forster but only to the Wingate man who tried again and this time buried it in the net. There was a moment's relief for Ware as the assistant referee raised his flag with three forwards in an offside position but the referee judged them not to be interfering with play and the goal stood.
It looked like it was all up for the home side but they came back searching for goals. Haule was through on 68 minutes with just the keeper to beat but Gore was off his line to close him down and the Ware man's shot was beaten out by a flailing arm. Karagul was there to hit the rebound but again Gore jumped and got an arm to it. There were Ware claims that he was outside his area when he did so but the officials were having none of it.
And so the game moved into its final passage with Ware mounting numerous attacks and Gore somehow keeping them at bay. Evandro Delgado, Price and Karagul were all denied in this period before first the prospect of a draw receded and then even that of a consolation goal.
Jack Mace and Mekhi McLeod were absent from this game though Tom Bradbury made an encouraging return after his bout of concussion. Finley Long made his first team debut in a late substitution as both a signal that the game had gone from Ware and as a reward for his role in the under-18s not to mention his patience on the bench in other games. His first involvement was to be felled by a crunching tackle. Welcome to the first team Finley.
Ware: Kyle Forster, Aston Goss, Alaa Oujdi, Murat Karagul, Marcus Rose, Tom Bradbury, Josh Oyibo (Ryan Hervel 55mins), Joe Reynolds (Finley Long 89mins), Brian Haule (Dani Ladeira 72mins), Gareth Price, Evandro Delgado. Unused subs: Luis Fernandes, Joe Simmonds.