AFC Hornchurch 1 Ware 0
Thoughts from Surbiton on another defeat and another game without a goal.
It could have been worse, or at least that was the view in the build up to this match. Ware had lost 4-0 at home to the same opponents only ten days before, the second in a run of three matches without scoring. All were defeats and as Ware slid down the table so AFC Hornchurch maintained second place with games in hand on the leaders. Who could be blamed for fearing a thumping?
Perhaps with that in mind Kem Kemal selected a starting eleven that was full of players (seven in all) who had at some time in the season played in the back four. Was he parking the bus in Upminster stadium?
It seemed possible as reports seeping back from the game via twitter were fewer than normal. Was anything happening? Were we stifling all initiative out of the opponents and the game? Certainly on the evidence of tweet frequency there was not a lot happening in the match.
Such tweets as did come through usually included the name of Gareth Madden who was thereby deemed in Surbiton to be playing a captain's part in the proceedings. There was a suggestion that he was undone by the home side's Brad Warner in the first half who then managed to get away a shot which it hit a post but later in the half Madden was blocking another Hornchurch effort from George Purcell.
The end of the half came with no goals scored but Hornchurch captain Elliot Styles on a yellow card for a poor tackle just before the break.
Ahmed Abdulla replaced Lee White for the second half suggesting either that Lee was feeling the strain after missing a couple of games or that Ware were going to be a bit less defensive, maybe both. Junior Appiah was in support of the less defensive approach when he broke and centred for Jamie Guy whose shot was blocked.
And so the game continued with Madden again featuring when he squared for Harry Larner who shot over. As the game reached the last ten minutes even I began to think it possible that Ware would gain their first clean sheet of the season especially after Styles earned a second yellow but of course fate had other ideas.
A Hornchurch free kick on 84 minutes went deep before being headed back across the area where that man Warner was waiting unmarked to head home. There was no come back and another defeat was recorded but if those in attendance are anything to go by it was a positive performance from the visitors who deserved something from the game. In other words it could have been better.
Ware: Tom Coulton, Gareth Madden, Lee Flynn, Murat Karagul, Nicholas Symons, Lee White (Ahmed Abdulla 45mins), Junior Appiah, Harry Larner (Prince Madu 81mins), Jamie Guy, Alaa Oujdi, Marcus Milner. Unused subs: Gus Douglas, Ryan Maxwell, Taj Hussain