Ware 2 Egham Town 1
First hurdle of Easter double surmounted - just.
Despite a high cross wind that played havoc with the ball Wodson Park was again witness to an entertaining and close encounter. That Ware won it in added time was, for the home support, an added bonus. In a season of late goals mostly, it has seemed, against Ware, it was satisfying to be the beneficiary of one.
Egham will not see it in quite the same way after a fourth consecutive defeat has, if not completely ruled them out, severely damaged their title aspirations. It is now Royston's to lose, their next game on Monday being at home to Ware.
Should Ware, who have yet to beat any of their Hertfordshire opponents in the division, be worried about their journey to the north of the county? Not on this and recent performances. Ken Charlery's team continues to bed down into a resilient formation.
After a goalless first half in which the home side had created more and better chances than their opponents but failed to capitalise on them the second had started with Egham on top. This ascendancy was compounded early on when Alaa Oujdi, who has epitomised the greater toughness of the side of late, was withdrawn following a clash of heads.
His replacement was Harry Singh making his debut from a bench full of potential debutants. It was not a good start for a player who went on to do well as almost immediately he gave away a free kick on Ware's left. This was looped into the area and seemed to fall at the feet of Egham's Reece Yorke almost on the goal line who had the simplest of tasks to tap it into the net for the lead on 53 minutes.
It looked like the writing was on the wall for Ware after their missed chances in the first half when the Egham defence had kept them at bay. At that time Ware's forwards had to shoot mostly from distance though a couple of chances came closer to home and needed more drastic action. First Dernell Wynter, put through on goal, was denied by a well timed recovering tackle from Luke Neville in the 12th minute. Then later Wynter combined well with Jack Hutchinson to provide Khale Dacosta with a great opportunity only for Jamie Norris to tip his shot over the bar from close range for the save of the match.
But Ware hadn't shot their bolt and fought their way back into the game in the second half. It paid off when a good move ended with DaCosta being brought down in the area. Kieran Bishop stepped up and dispatched the penalty with Norris going the wrong way.
It was game on and both teams rose to the occasion but it was Ware who ultimately triumphed when the game had just moved into added time. Josh Oyibo had the ball on the left and delivered it into the visitors' area where Bishop was on hand but let the ball go across his front before taking action. He may have added impetus to it but the image left in the mind is of a deft, right-footed touch that did no more than steer the ball between Norris's left shoulder and inside the post for a well taken goal.
Egham came back looking for an equaliser and one free kick threatened danger. However, with all his team mates in and around the Ware penalty area Norris's kick was lofted too high and carried out for a goal kick by the wind. It earned ironic cheers from a much relieved home support with the final whistle soon to deny the visitors any further chance.
Ware: Tom Coulton, Jack Mace, Alaa Oujdi (Harry Singh 48mins), Ryan Hervel, Murat Karagul, Steven O'Hara, Khale Dacosta, Josh Oyibo, Kieran Bishop, Dernell Wynter (Justin Leavers 71mins), Jack Hutchinson. Unused subs: George Essuman, Joe Simmonds, Jake Chambers-Shaw.