Ware 0 Thurrock 1
It's chalk and cheese as Ware look only a shadow of their recent selves.
Last Saturday Ware dominated the opening half of their match at Phoenix Sports but had only one goal to show for it. In this game they were the team under the cosh throughout the opening half but if there was a deviation from an otherwise mirror image it was that they did at least carve out some good openings whilst Thurrock squandered many chances to send the teams in level at half time.
Ware were still without captain Marcus Rose on long term injury leave and missing the suspended Josh Oyibo along with Joe Reynolds who had work commitments. In the circumstances Ken Charlery brought in Jordan Odofin from Dunstable at centre back to allow Murat Karagul to resume his midfield role whilst Laurence Vaughan from Arlesey Town was also in the squad though initially on the bench.
Thurrock were first out of the traps and causing problems for Ware from the start. Indecision at the back required Ashley Harris to scramble from his goal to prevent Thurrock taking an early lead whilst on six minutes pressure from the visitors won them a free kick on the edge of the penalty area. It was sent wide but the story of the first half was already in draft form.
The visitors just seemed to want it more, winning aerial balls and most tackles. If Ware did get a foot to the ball it mostly seemed to spin off to a waiting opponent as Thurrock dominated midfield.
In these circumstances a goal seemed inevitable and yet somehow Ware survived with a timely tackle by Tom Bradbury saving the day on one occasion whilst on another Alaa Oujdi applied enough pressure on Mark Onyemah for the ball to be steered onto the post before bouncing back into Harris's grateful arms.
Ware did have their chances. An Oujdi free kick was headed on by Josh Oyinsan to Brian Haule whose volley on the turn was too high. Another free kick on 38 minutes found Karagul with time enough for a header but it was wide. Overall however there was a certain amount of relief that half time came with Ware still level.
And Ware did look better after the break. Odofin had failed to impress on his debut and did not return for the second half nor did Haule. Aston Goss and Kambo Smith were the replacements allowing Karagul to yet again slot in to the centre back position whilst Goss took over in the middle of the park. As a result Ware began to show a little more guile and determination.
Even so a cross from the left just before the hour mark was cleared by the visitors and with not a Ware man in sight fell to a yellow shirt. With one pass the ball was beyond Karagul and into the path of Ronnie Winn who had a relatively easy job of putting it past Harris for what turned out to be the only goal of the game.
Ware didn't give up but Thurrock seemed to have control of things until very near the end when Karagul was now switched to a forward role and the home side turned up the pressure. Evandro Delgado shot straight into Bobby Mason's hands and then another goal bound shot was blocked by a falling defender to appeals for hand ball in the area.
Suddenly Ware had some self belief. A corner came and went, and the decision to play on the wings and keep the ball low paid off as Thurrock for once looked unsettled with Ware now on top. Unfortunately it was 85 minutes too late and the visitors went home to Essex with their third consecutive 1-0 win and fourth place in the table.
Ware: Ashley Harris, Jack Mace, Alaa Oujdi, Ryan Hervel, Jordan Odofin (Kambo Smith 45mins), Tom Bradbury, Josh Oyinsan (Laurence Vaughan 71mins), Murat Karagul, Brian Haule (Aston Goss 45mins), Gareth Price, Evandro Delgado. Unused subs: Dani Ladeira, Finley Long.