Romford 2 Ware 2
Fight back secures point.
After Saturday's aerial tussle Ware reverted to more ground-based approach work in this game and carved out some good openings. Yet they found themselves two goals down and then a man down just as a fight back was maturing into something significant. Perhaps they should be happy to have gained a draw in the circumstances but it's hard to escape the feeling that this was a game that should have been won.
Marcus Rose and Josh Oyibo were back in the side after their absence on Saturday allowing Murat Karagul to return to midfield at the expense of Ryan Hervel but Gareth Price was sidelined by an upper thigh strain. He hopes to be back by the weekend but in the meantime Kambo Smith was given his first start in a Ware shirt.
Romford hadn't scored in the league so far this season whilst Ware hadn't conceded in their last two league matches. In the circumstances those tutored in the perverse nature of football would not have been surprised when Romford took the lead but even so it was a disappointing moment after Ware had held the balance of play for much of the first half.
Good movement on and off the ball had allowed Ware to carry the game to their opponents and a number of chances had been created, not least when Evandro Delgado fired over from a good opening. For much of the first half Romford's response had been to punt the ball upfield for their forwards to chase. But things did turn their way for about ten minutes towards the end of the half as they forced a number of corners.
But it was from straightforward crosses in the 37th minute that the damage was done with a long ball from the right eluding everyone in the box before it was retrieved out on the left and returned. For a moment it looked to have gone too long again but there was Charlie Portway making his header the instrument of perversity as it seemed to take an age on its journey back and beyond the dive of Kyle Forster into the net.
Hopes that Ware would stage a recovery in the second half received an early set back as Romford did what the Blues had been trying to do for much of the first period. A simple move down to the Ware goal line after 47 minutes had the defence in a tangle before the ball was pulled back for Portway to score again.
But Ware came again and the home goal had a number of narrow escapes before Aston Goss's corner from the left on 53 minutes caused problems in the Romford defence. The ball went loose and Brian Haule turned to fire it into the net to suggest that the game might still be there for Ware to take.
There were more chances now for the visitors but then a break by Romford saw Alaa Oujdi tussling with Ryan Boswell until brought to a halt by a raised flag. Time was up for the left back with the referee showing him a red card on advice from his assistant.
With almost 30 minutes to go that might have been it for Ware but in truth the ten men kept going well against a Romford side seemingly content to hang on to what they had. Jack Mace moved from right to left back and Goss dropped in on the right of the defence. A further tactical change ten minutes later saw Jason Coughlan off the bench to allow Karagul to go up front and this eventually paid dividends.
A good move down the right with six minutes of normal time left ended with the ball going across the face of the Romford goal where Karagul was racing in to thump it into the back of the net from a yard or two out. Could Ware now go on to take the three points?
Romford provided the negative to that by upping their game. Having previously been happy to delay clearances and goal kicks, Callum Chafer was now urging his outfield players on and firing the ball forward at every opportunity. The legs of the ten men began to look tired and passes started to go astray.
With more than five minutes of added time the final whistle was a long time coming and the home side had their best spell of the game forcing several corners. But Ware held out though they were grateful for Nick Reynolds' miss late on when he might so easily have scored.
To have rescued a point with ten men felt like a win and it was a great recovery but there remains the nagging feeling that this game could have been put to bed without the need for heroics. Even so the reverse at Aveley has receded into the past as Ware are now undefeated in their last three league games.
Ware: Kyle Forster, Jack Mace, Alaa Oujdi, Murat Karagul, Marcus Rose, Tom Bradbury, Aston Goss, Josh Oyibo, Brian Haule (Justin Leavers 93mins), Kambo Smith (Jason Coughlan 74mins), Evandro Delgado (Nathan Mukuna 54mins). Unused subs: Ryan Hervel, Joe Simmonds.