Ware 0 VCD Athletic 0
Clean sheet and a point but a disappointing game.
With Marcus Rose unavailable and Josh Oyibo suspended Murat Karagul moved into the back four with the captain's arm band and Ryan Hervel had his first start of the season. Davis Haule (brother of Brian) also made his debut for the club whilst Sam Whiting, newly arrived from Northwood, would make a brief debut from the bench.
This revised line up gained Ware's first ever point from VCD Athletic and kept a second consecutive clean sheet in the league following the poor defensive display at Aveley. Such were the good points to come from this match but there was little else to cheer at the end of a dour struggle which included a missed penalty.
There were early signs that this was going to be a poor game as Ware failed to get any grip on proceedings in the opening minutes whilst VCD failed to exploit the possession that this gave them.
In the end it was Ware who had the first chance when the ball was worked to the by-line after eight minutes and pulled back for Brian Haule to fire wide but if it was a rallying call it was the visitors who heard it.
Much of the rest of the half belonged to them as Ware struggled to play the ball on the ground and took to aerial assaults that were meat and drink to VCD's tall centre backs. But they had their moments of close control not least when Jack Mace and Gareth Price combined well after 20 minutes but the latter's shot went wide under pressure from a defender.
Yet still there was no consistent flow to the game and it seemed to affect all the players, perhaps none more so than the visitors' Tyrus Gordon-Young who somehow managed to head over the Ware bar just past the half hour mark with the goal at his mercy.
Ware had their moments too with Price drawing a save out of Niklas Freund after 38 minutes before, a minute later, the keeper denied Brian Haule's fierce close range drive with a great save at the foot of his right hand post.
Haule didn't have long to wait for another chance after Marc Gorbell handled in the area but his penalty was poorly taken and went high over the bar. There was talk of gamesmanship by the visitors as Haule prepared for the kick and his approach to the ball did look strangely tentative but really there can be no excuses.
VCD immediately broke after the goal kick and Gordon-Young was played in for a one-on-one with Forster. To his credit the keeper stood firm and the chance went away.
The breeze that had appeared towards the end of the half blowing down the slope was in Ware's favour in the second period but too often balls forward were over hit. Even so Ware shaded the half if the amount of time spent in the visitors' end of the pitch is anything to go by.
VCD were also picking up cards rather rapidly (five in all) as they strove to restrict Ware. That said the referee was having no trouble dishing them out to either side at one point. There was a card for the visitors' Connor Hogan after 56 minutes and the free kick resulted in some head tennis in the VCD area before Freund's clearance was blocked by Davis Haule to earn him a card as well.
Price, whose shot earlier in the half had given Freund some difficulty, was on the end of a good move after 68 minutes. Once again he was denied by a timely tackle at the expense of a corner that came to nothing.
With eight minutes of normal time left and both teams stretching for a decisive goal it was Forster in the Ware goal who rescued his team with a double save from close range shots. A third shot found the net but with the referee blowing for a foul the home side could breathe again.
Hervel had a long range effort at the other end but the game concluded with first Price firing straight at Freund from an offside position before VCD's Thomas Youngs fluffed his lines by shooting weakly into Forster's grasp.
It was that sort of game.
Ware: Kyle Forster, Jack Mace, Alaa Oujdi, Ryan Hervel, Tom Bradbury, Murat Karagul, Aston Goss (Kambo Smith 66mins), Davis Haule, Brian Haule (Justin Leavers 76mins), Gareth Price, Evandro Delgado (Sam Whiting 90mins). Unused subs: Jason Coughlan, Joe Simmonds.