Maldon & Tiptree 4 Ware 1
Ware fail to make the most of their chances.
Maldon demonstrated their credentials in the promotion race, a place in the play-offs at least being a plausible aim. Their ability to exploit defensive frailties whilst defending well at the other end allowed them to go off at half time 3-1 to the good in a game that had thus far been evenly and well contested.
Two goals a minute either side of half time sealed the points though the real turning point came just a couple of minutes earlier. Gareth Price had drawn Daniel Wilks from his goal before rounding him out wide. He had a difficult angle but his shot was going in for Ware's second equaliser before defender Billy Roast rose and his desperate clearing header hit the post before the ball was cleared. Even then Ware were back on the attack as Price turned provider for James Mays but his shot was high and wide.
It was from the resulting goal kick that Maldon found themselves at the other end of the pitch. A poor clearance by the Ware defence allowed the home side to apply pressure and after a scramble in the area the ball broke to Sam Newson who scored his second of the game.
Ware trooped off moments later knowing that they had been two down in previous games this season and rescued a point and that there was nothing in their performance to suggest that they couldn't do it again.
Maldon had other ideas or more accurately it was Liam Nash who, after a relatively quiet first half, started to take control of things for them in the second until he was substituted. His main contribution though had come just a minute into the second period. Allowed perhaps just enough time and space he fired a stinging shot into the bottom left corner of Forster's goal from distance.
Ware continued to plug away but the possibility of rescuing the game had gone and the second half fell away as a spectacle. Ware started to pick up yellow cards as frustration took over though Kyle Forster's in the 64th minute seemed to surprise everyone. Advancing from his penalty area out to the right he executed what appeared to be a clean tackle to win the ball. Why the referee thought otherwise is hard to tell.
There was no doubt about Alaa Oujdi's second yellow when he petulantly kick the ball away after Ware had been penalised but in truth neither camp was over pleased with the performance of the man in the middle. However, that has no bearing on Ware's performance which, indeed, in the first half had been very promising.
As early as the second minute Price had controlled a lofted ball forward that dropped to him before taking it past Wilks only to run out of space and four minutes later James Mays fed Aston Goss at the end of a good move but last week's scorer scooped his shot over the bar.
It was not all one-way traffic and before ten minutes were up Jack Mace had twice to intercept Adam Mills, the second at the expense off a corner whilst Forster was called into action to save at the foot of his post after 14 minutes.
Back at the other end Evandro Delgado freed Mays whose cross cum shot across the face of goal eluded everyone. Price and Goss both tried long distance shots around the 20 minute mark before Mays also tried a volley from outside the area but all were to no avail.
After 26 minutes, good work on the by-line by Price caused problems in the home defence but immediately from the break Maldon took the lead. A throw in was not cleared by the Ware defence and Newson was there to poach the opening goal.
As so often a goal raises a team and it was almost two immediately after as Rose, already on another seemingly harsh yellow, was disinclined to go in strongly on his man. This allowed a cross to come in and a shot was bound for the goal until it hit a Ware leg and bounced clear.
Then in the 31st minute some excellent interplay on Ware's left resulted in a cross into the box where Mays was brought down. Murat Karagul converted the penalty to bring Ware back level.
It didn't last long and the third goal in less than ten minutes came from a Maldon throw that found Adam Mills who scored from close in. There was still all to play for but the game went away from Ware in those few minutes either side of half time. Maldon maintained their 100% home record and Ware still search for their first away win in the league with a visit to Tilbury due on Tuesday when Brian Haule is expected to be available again.
There are now just seven matches before Ware's 5,000th first team game.
Ware: Kyle Forster, Jack Mace, Alaa Oujdi, Ryan Hervel (Josh Oyibo 55mins), Marcus Rose, Murat Karagul, Aston Goss, Joe Reynolds (Dani Ladeira 82mins), James Mays (Tom Bradbury 54mins), Gareth Price, Evandro Delgado. Unused subs: Kit Brown, Joe Simmonds.