FA Cup: Relief for O'Leary as Potters Bar escape the battle at Ware with win
PUBLISHED: 19:12 05 October 2019 | UPDATED: 19:12 05 October 2019
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Potters Bar Town manager Lee O'Leary was just happy to get away from Ware with a victory and place in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup after a game that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Josh Hutchinson converted a penalty in the third minute of stoppage time to give the Scholars a 2-1 lead but what followed in the immediate aftermath of that goal was a brawl that saw benches on either side empty.
Once it finally calmed down, Bar's Brad Sach and Ware's Jordon Watson were shown red cards, the match finally coming to an end 11 minutes after the 90-minute mark had ticked by.
O'Leary said the game had been on a knife edge throughout and even though his own view was hindered by the mass of bodies, he hopes that the dismissals will be the end of it.
He said: "There was a bit of argy-bargy, a bit of pushing and it got out of hand to be honest.
"It wasn't nice to see but there were so many emotions flying about in the last minute of an FA Cup game that was nip and tuck at times.
"It was a tough day and it was quite a robust game at times and although it isn't nice, I could see a little incident like that pushing it over the edge.
"Hopefully it is all put to bed now."
The match itself had seen the away side in charge but without creating a vast array of chances.
And the longer the game went on Ware, who play one level below the Scholars, visibly grew in confidence.
"Overall we showed some glimpses of quality but not enough over the whole 90 minutes.
"But I felt we showed enough to win a game of football.
"We started ok but we didn't deal with the set-piece well enough and when you go 1-0 down you automatically think the worst.
"Once we got them calm and relaxed they showed some good mentality to come back into the game.
"They are dangerous because of the way they play football. They play direct and the boy up front is a proper handful. James Budden and George Quarrington-Carter won't have played against anyone like him in any of our league games so far.
"They took every opportunity they had to go direct into him or behind us and it was a challenge.
"It was a tough game and it asked a different side of our boys. They haven't really had to face too many sides that play that way.
"It was a test and we came through it and it will help us in the long run."
Now though attention turns to Monday's draw which will have a huge impact on whether or not Bar reach the first round proper for the first time in their history.
O'Leary has tasted it all before as a player but now as a manager he wants his own charges to feel those emotions.
He said: "It's a tough one. Do you want a home draw with a side in and around our level or do we want one of the big National League sides?
"I've experienced playing in the first round proper and the second round and I would love for the boys to experience that.
"It's a big deal, especially when the draw comes out and you've got League One and League Two clubs in there.
"It's a good buzz and so I'm hoping for a kind draw at home."