Tough start for the new boss
  Saturday 2nd November 2019

Isthmian League
South Central




Robin Piper   
PICTURES courtesy:
Kevin Kuhn/Ware FC


Ware 4
Northwood 1

1 Joe Ringer  
2 Jaiden Irish  
3 Mack Miskin  
4 Harry Lodovica  
5 Sacha M'Baye  
6 Liam McCrohan  
7 Kweku Lucan  
8 Charlie Hayford ©  
9 Kingsley Eshun (46m)  
10 Kiye Martin (79m)  
11 Tyrone Pink (64m)  
12 Chris Gosling  
14 Louis Bircham  
15 Dan Pett (79m)  
16 Luke Holness (64m)  
17 Festus Lori (46m)  
WARE: Ethan Gannon, Harry Norman, Pat Adamson, Leigh Rose, David Kendall, Daniel Rumens (Louis Rose 62m), Ahmed Abdulla, Thomas Bruno, Liam Hope (Tommy Shepherd 76m), Alaa Oujdi (Oluwatobi Adekunle 72m), Williams Danquah  

Northwood began the Jamie Leacock era with a tough looking assignment at previously unbeaten Ware, and so it proved as the new manager saw his charges comfortably beaten in wet and windy conditions at Wodson Park.

Leacock’s first selection included debuts for 19-year-old goalkeeper Joe Ringer and left-back Mack Miskin, while there was a first league start for midfielder Kiye Martin. There was also a recall for Sacha M’Baye who returned to partner Liam McCrohan in central defence with Woods lining up in a 4-3-3 formation.

Charlie Hayford was given the captain’s armband, and the Woods’ midfielder was involved in some early drama as Ware’s Tom Bruno saw his free-kick take a wicked deflection off Hayford before being tipped over by Ringer.
And the Blues kept Northwood pinned in their own half as Liam Hope had a close range shot blocked before another Bruno free-kick was headed down by Hope but comfortably gathered by Ringer.

But the hosts didn’t have to wait long for their bright start to be rewarded as a long ball over the top caused confusion in the Woods defence and Williams Danquah was presented with the easiest of chances as he rolled the ball into an unguarded net to open the scoring on seven minutes.

Northwood needed to find their feet and quickly but their nerves continued to be betrayed as they fell further behind five minutes later. The Woods defence had ample time to clear the ball but the unfortunate McCrohan’s attempted clearance ricocheted of a red shirt and back into the danger area before finding its way to Alaa Oujdi, whose deflected shot flew across Ringer and nestled in the bottom corner.

Woods looked to gather themselves and they slowly began to produce some cohesive football on the slick 3G surface. Tyrone Pink had the first effort on goal for Northwood as his 20-yard effort was gathered by keeper Ethan Gannon before  Pink linked up well with Harry Lodovica but the latter scuffed his shot when well placed.

Northwood continued to ask questions of the home side as M’Baye saw his header  from a Hayford free-kick tipped over by Gannon although the referee blew up for an infringement. And Miskin went close to a debut goal as the overlapping full-back latched onto Lodovica’s neat ball inside right-back Harry Norman before unleashing a fierce drive which crashed off the underside of the Ware crossbar.

Having dealt with some Northwood pressure, the hosts were back looking for further goals as Dan Rumens headed over from a Bruno corner while Ahmed Abdulla was denied by the legs of Ringer after more defensive indecision. And Ware had a great opportunity to increase their lead as Danquah broke clear of the Woods defence but his hurried shot flew well wide of the target.

And there were further chance at both ends before the break. Martin combined with Pink on the edge of the Ware box as the hosts looked for an offside flag before the former’s shot was parried by Gannon with Kingsley Eshun close to latching onto the rebound while claiming he was impeded. At the other end, Danquah got in behind the static Woods defence once again but was unable to take the opportunity.

Northwood made a change at the break as Eshun made way for another debutant in the form of Festus Lori who occupied the left-sided attacking birth with Pink swapping wings and Kweku Lucan moving into the central striker’s position.

However, any hopes Woods had of  staging a second-half recovery were dashed on 56 minutes as a slick move opened up the visitor’s defence with ease enabling Leigh Rose to sweep the ball home from close range.

Luke Holness was introduced for Pink just after the hour as Northwood looked to bring some fresh legs to their attack but the action continued to be in their half as Ware looked to put the seal on proceedings with  Danquah going close went close once more as he dragged a shot wide of the target.

But the Blues weren’t to be denied on 76 minutes as a cross from former Northwood left-back Pat Adamson found its way to Hope who had time and space to pick his spot with a shot despite Ringer getting a hand on the strike.

Northwood were looking for a consolation now, as Hayford’s run and shot with the outside of the boot flew wide of the upright while Lodovica’s long range attempt flew high and wide.

Martin made way for Dan Pett for his first appearance for a few weeks and to their credit, Northwood kept plugging away in search of some positive returns, Hayford seeing his long range free-kick tipped over by Gannon.

But Woods finally got their reward when Lucan was bundled over in stoppage time before picking himself up and despatching the penalty kick for a consolation goal. And Northwood went close to adding a second in the final seconds as Holness latched onto Lodovica’s flick-on from Ringer’s upfield punt, but the shot was deflected behind for a corner.

So it wasn’t to be again for Northwood, as defensive frailty continues to cost them dear, with a defeat which leaves them rooted to the bottom of the table on goal difference from Staines Town.

New manager Leacock is under no illusions of the size of the task in front of him as he looks to plot a way out of Northwood’s current predicament. The remedial work required on the defensive set up is now a matter of urgency, but Leacock can take heart from the refusal of his team to throw in the towel and some of their attacking play. There is still hope.