Chatham Town 1 Ware 1
A touch of Adu magic brings Ware a point.
Ware kicked off with a gusty wind at their backs and three new players in the squad. In the circumstances their normal fluid passing game was absent although there were a couple of moments when multiple passes were interchanged with speed and accuracy and they generally exercised more control of the ball than their hosts. However, only one clear chance came their way in the first half with Murat Karagul not quite able to bury the ball from within the six yard box.
Chatham were more direct in their approach but the conditions often didn't favour them and balls were either inadvertently kicked out of play or just allowed to run out of control, presumably thanks to interference from the wind. Even so, in a dour match that was lit by two pieces of individual skill, they were the first to strike.
A long diagonal ball into the Ware area hung in the air before dropping almost out of play. Rhys Madden was out to claim it but the ball came free as he contested it with Kieron McCann. In an instant the Chatham forward turned on a sixpence and drove the ball into the net. Such was the tightness of the angle that more than a few in the ground saw the rippling net only as an indication that the ball had gone behind until home cheers and the referee's gesture told the tale.
If Ware came out after half time determined to redress the balance it didn't look that way as Chatham started to apply some real pressure for the first time. Two goal mouth scrambles in particular hinted that Ware could be on the end of a drubbing with McCann, Kane Phillip and Corey Holder all opening up the visitors' defence.
But Ware rode the storm and with substitutes introduced at regular intervals managed to impose some aspects of their play on the game. Anthony Thomas, signed from Canvey Island as a potential replacement for Kieran Bishop, showed some neat skills and close control, and drove the ball just wide of the goal on a couple of occasions.
However, on a day when flowing movements were at a premium it took a second piece of individual skill to bring Ware's equaliser. Albert Adu picked the ball up on the left of the Chatham half and drove with it through a couple of challenges before unleashing a shot from outside the penalty area. This time there was no mistaking the meaning of a rippling net for anything other than what it was as Adu wheeled away to take his team mates' congratulations.
Both sides continued to search for a winner but Ware at least will be happy with the draw. Of the new signings Thomas looked to have potential as did Leon Fisher, signed from Enfield Town, in midfield. Tyler Christian-Law on the wing earned a yellow card for a rash tackle in the first half and was inevitably a little subdued after that.
Of the rest of the squad Ajet Shehu is back from his lay-off, Khale DaCosta has now served his one-match suspension but Alaa Oujdi has two more to go. Kasim Bishop remains on the injured list.
Ware: Rhys Madden, Charlie Yexley, Samir Bihmoutine, Ryan Hervel, Jack Fowler, Mete Sem, Murat Karagul (Rheo Josephs 45 mins), Albert Adu, Anthony Thomas, Leon Fisher (Jermaine Osei 79 mins), Tyler Christian-Law (Charlie Ledula 54 mins).