Arlesey secured a 1-0 victory at Ware in bizarre circumstances on Saturday.
This was an amazing Southrn League Division One Central game with two penalty misses and a penalty save, a sending off and a bizarre goal that by the rules probably shouldn’t have been. But with the well documented bad luck that Arlesey have suffered this season they were perhaps due a lucky break and as they say these things even themselves out in the end.
On the back of a marked resent improvement of form but after 11 days off Arlesey took the short trip to a fairly high flying Ware in a quietly confident mood.
With heavy rain overnight and during the morning the pitch was in a very poor state but after a late inspection the ref decided to start the game and on kick off time the sun can out as well.
Arlesey started strongly down the slope and Nathan Olukanmi was fed into the box but was stopped by a good tackle.
A bad touch off the tricky pitch by Luke Rowland let in Kieran Bishop who tried to chip Nick Thompson who was off his line but he only hit the side netting. Then a poor goal kick from Thompson went straight back to Bishop but Thompson retrieved the situation well gathering the ball on the edge of his box to retake control of the ball. Olukanmi then won a ball in the centre and burst through outpacing the defender before he looked to have been brought down in the box but the ref waived play on.
Ware now started to push on and as the ball bounced awkwardly on the edge of the Arlesey box defender and attacker both went for the ball and then somewhat surprisingly the ref blew his whistle and pointed to the penalty spot for a very soft penalty award. Dave Deeney protested a bit too much and was booked by the ref.
Bishop stepped up to take the kick on a particularly boggy part of the pitch and fired the ball well over the bar.
Ware were then pressing as Bishop worked through but we was forced wide and blocked by Thompson and a back headed clearance by Sean Beesley went just past his own post.
Arlesey should have scored from a free kick that Lewis Wilson headed on to Ben Farrell who fired in a shot that was well stopped by Jack Smith, the ball then went to Christian Tavernier who fired just past the post.
Farrell then picked up a booking for a foul as he slid in for a tackle on Paul Cooper.
The game then continued end to end, Thompson punched clear well from a corner and Ash Deeney drove well into the box after picking up a loose ball but he slipped on the point of delivery.
On 40mins Farrell again slid in for a tackle and the ref again made his point of not allowing sliding tackles and produced a second yellow card followed by the inevitable red card.
With this the after a Ware corner that was put well over the bar the ref blew for half time at 0-0
Ware came out strongly playing down the slope trying to press home the man advantage. A corner was headed wide as Ware applied the pressure.
As Arlesey tried to break out Olukanmi was fouled by Fowler who also slid in but the ref only talked to the defender this time. The free kick just missed Beesley at the far post and went out for a goal kick.
Arlesey had a bit of luck as a ball delivered in from the right was well flicked past Thompson by Bishop but his shot hit the base of the post and went straight to the grateful arms of Thompson.
Correy Davidson had a good shot as he was worked through but this was well taken by Thompson.
On the hour Arlesey made a double change as Lois Lee replaced Harry Carr and Jack Vasey returned to replace Lewis Wilson both of who had been working hard in the heavy conditions.
Olukanmi who had been working tirelessly all afternoon again worked his way though and looked to have been brought down on the edge of the box, initially the ref looked to play on but the assistant called him over and after talks he awarded Arlesey a penalty. Louis Lee who had only just come on carefully put the ball on spot (on the poor part of the pitch) and just like Bishop earlier put it over the bar.
Ware replaced Jack Fowler with Jaszime Johnson just after this.
The home side then pushed forward again, Davidson shot wide and Bishop shot across the goal. Arlesey were looking for the counter attack and again Ash Deeney picked up a loose ball and drove into the box and this time hit a good shot that the keeper pushed around the post for a corner which he then dealt with very well.
Bishop again got a good ball into the box the was cleared and Rod Young work through well before he was well closed down by Thompson who conceded a corner that was fired in and again well saved from Thompson.
Arlesey then replaced Luke Rowland with Kim Forsythe who has again returned to his home town club.
Ware were again keeping up the pressure, Davidson had a long shot wide of the mark and Bishop worked through but was well stopped by an excellent tackle on the edge of the box by Louis Lee, and Finbarr Robins shot wide.
Ware were pressing for the winner but Arlesey were defending well and as the time ticked on it looked like Arlesey would hang on for a hard fought for point.
A Ware player took a knock to the head in the centre and the ref stopped play for his treatment awarding an unopposed drop ball to restart. Olukanmi dutifully tapped the ball not that hard back toward the keeper who let it run past him and then amazingly just let it roll into the net although he could have picked it up easily several times. The ref then awarded a goal to Arlesey. After some debate on the pitch the goal was allowed to stand although it appears afterward that FIFA had changed the rule in 2012 and it seems you can now not score from a drop ball and a goal kick should have been awarded but the ref seems to have got it wrong on the day and the goal stood.
With time now running out quickly Ware pressed forward and in added on time Cooper worked into the box and was brought down and for the 3rd time in the afternoon the ref pointed to the spot.
Bishop stepped up to rescue a point at the death and hit his shot on target this time but Nick Thompson pulled off a great save to keep a clean sheet and get Arlesey 3 very valuable points.
Next up Arlesey renew old friendships and rivalries at Biggleswade Town in the Red Insure Cup on Tuesda, November 10.