Brightlingsea Regent 1 Ware 0
Mersea beat fails to inspire.
Ware's below par performance failed to respond to the urgings of the significant number of their travelling supporters, several of whom made a weekend of it on the nearby Mersea Island.
A strong cross wind and a bouncy pitch seemed to confound the visitors but it was the same for both sides with Regent making by far the better fist of things in the first half. As a result Tom Coulton was called on to keep Ware in the game during a spell of early pressure.
However, he was left exposed in the tenth minute when a long throw from Josh Gould found its way into the six yard box and was volleyed home by an unmarked Matt Cripps. Well might Coulton have asked where his defenders were. Meanwhile Gould and Cripps would feature again in a mix up by the officials whose performance, at least as far as Ware were concerned, could have been better.
But it was Ware who should have been better and who must take the blame for their defeat. They were slower than their opponents in the opening period and in consequence were drawn into a number of niggling fouls with the home crowd singling out Finbarr Robins as the chief culprit.
By the 38th minute referee Mr Bushell had had enough although it was Charlie Ledula who received a yellow for a foul that would have escaped harsh punishment earlier in the game. Within four minutes Ledula had done it again with another seemingly run of the mill foul but Mr Bushell had set the standard by now and showed a second yellow allowing the Ware wide-man to enjoy the showers on his own.
This didn't stop the niggling however and Robins was again involved in an altercation with Cripps. As play moved on Cripps dealt out some retribution, charging the Ware man to the ground with a forearm to the chest. The assistant's flag drew the referee's attention to what had happened but after consultation between the two it was Gould who was booked despite the appeals of the players and spirited advice from the crowd.
Ware enjoyed more of the game in the second half and began to create chances with Khale Dacosta firing just wide early on. But Regent remained a threat and Coulton was injured in flying across goal to fist away a goal bound shot.
Ware tried to ring the changes with substitutions but a minute after Tyler Christian-Law was booked late on for a heavy tackle near the half-way line Anthony Thomas made a similar attempt for the ball in the same area. It must have seemed a bit like déjà vu for the referee and his patience wore thin again. To those from Ware the tackle did not seem vicious, negligent or dangerous but on the back of Christian-Law's booking Mr Bushell this time reached for a red card.
And so Ware's challenge disappeared into hot air. They can take some credit for not collapsing despite being reduced in numbers thanks to Coulton and the sterling work of Murat Karagul sweeping at the back but in truth they failed to produce the kind of performance necessary for success.
Ware: Tom Coulton, Arturs Reinis, Alaa Oujdi, Ryan Hervel (Ryan Imbert 50mins), Ajet Shehu (Rheo Josephs 50mins), Murat Karagul, Khale Dacosta, Sean Johnson, Anthony Thomas, Finbarr Robins (Tyler Christian-Law 83mins), Charlie Ledula.