Ware 2 Leatherhead 5
Midson's the main man as Ware bow out of the FA Cup to premier division opposition.
Jack Midson has done the rounds of the Football and National leagues and showed his experience with four goals in a more than competent display by Ware's premier division opponents.
Perhaps the score line was a little flattering to the visitors with some in the ground feeling that Leatherhead's second penalty was a bit soft but Ware could have little objection to the result even if the score was not to their liking.
As it is the last two games have given Ware an insight into what is required if they are to realise their long term ambition of reaching the premier division themselves. They fought hard on Tuesday against a team full of former Step 3 players and ran them close before losing. This match against a current premier division side saw them sometimes short of answers to their opponents play.
In a preview of the to and fro of the first half Marvin Hamilton brought a save out of Zaki Oualah with a fierce shot as early as the second minute before a Leatherhead free kick on the right went across the face of the Ware goal begging for some one of either side to deal with it.
And so it went on as next a Ware attack ended with Yannis Ambroisine nodding the ball back to his keeper, the only trouble being that Oualah wasn't where his defender thought he was. For a brief moment the possibility of a goal tantalised the home support but there was insufficient power behind the ball and it was cleared with ease.
Leatherhead meanwhile continued to move the ball around well with Sammy Moore trying an overhead kick with his back to the goal after 12 minutes before Alaa Oujdi's tackle two minutes later saved Ware and gave Tom Coulton (making his 50th appearance for the club) the chance to clear the ball at the expense of a throw in.
It was only a temporary relief however and from the throw in the ball was back in the Ware area where Midson showed his skill to guide the ball home through a ruck of players.
It might have been two half way through the first period when Niall McManus was denied a goal after he twisted and turned to get free of defenders before unleashing a fierce shot. Coulton was equal to it however and stopped the ball dead in his grasp diving low to his right.
Two minutes later it was all square as Finbarr Robins' pass found Marvin Hamilton on the left and his cross was met by Yannick Kamanan who, as so often this season, turned and drilled it past Oualah and into the corner of his net.
Play was soon back at the other end with Coulton again excelling as he tipped Midson's header over the bar but the number ten got the better of him just before the half hour. With the visitors' neat passing causing problems in the Ware area a lunging tackle from Rheo Josephs saw the referee point to the penalty spot. Midson stepped up to show how a penalty should be taken and thumped it to Coulton's left with the keeper gambling on diving to the right.
It was 3-1 two minutes later when Daniel Gallagher's low shot found the net but there still seemed to be hope. With ten minutes to the break Oujdi's precise pass inside the the visitors' defence gave Elliott Charles enough scope to reach it before the advancing Oualah and he reduced the deficit with comparative ease.
Play continued to go back and forth and three minutes later Coulton brought off a fine save as McManus worked across the Ware penalty area and looked about to shoot before the keeper grabbed the ball from his feet. Coulton was soon in action again as he parried a shot at his post. Midson was on the rampage though and completed his hat trick with two minutes of the half left. The ball was given away and Gallagher and Moore combined to open the defence for him to score the sixth goal of an entertaining half.
It was unlikely that the second half would see as many goals and with Leatherhead happy enough to contain Ware and look for opportunities on the break the home side were too often forced to play the ball back and across the defence.
And as Ware had difficulty in those circumstances to engineer clear openings so they inevitably lost possession and found the visitors dangerous on the break with, in particular, Moore's cross from the right just too far away from Ambroisine as it skimmed past him for a goal kick.
Ware did have their moments with Murat Karagul's free kick headed on by Kamanan but somehow scrambled away from the goal line. But with the result now heading clearly in the visitors' favour another break saw Gareth Madden penalised for a tackle giving Midson another chance from the penalty spot in the final minute.
Not unreasonably Coulton gambled in the other direction this time but with equal logic Midson put it the other way showing once again that power and placement are the keys to successful penalty taking.
By this time Ware had moved Lee White forward without much success but Oujdi's cross from the right in added time found him near the far post. His header, safely gathered, was Ware's last chance and moments later the final whistle was blown.
Ware: Tom Coulton, Gareth Madden, Alaa Oujdi, Ahmed Abdulla, Marcus Milner, Lee White, Rheo Josephs (Murat Karagul 55mins), Finbarr Robins (Prince Madu 69mins), Yannick Kamanan, Marvin Hamilton, Elliott Charles (Oreoluwa Ogunleye 77mins). Unused subs: Daniel Emovon, Ahmed Mohammed, Junior Appiah, Denzel Conteh.