Ware 3 Romford 0
Ware start 2017 with a long awaited win as the goals flow in the last ten minutes.
It's intriguing to note that when Ware win in the league they always do so by at least two clear goals. This may well explain the frustration with so many of their defeats which have come by a single goal margin in games they have played well in if not controlled for long periods. Why can't they produce the goals in those games?
For pessimists in the crowd this game looked as though it might easily fall into the latter category. After a first half in which Ware held the ascendancy but without scoring, the second was much more even and it was then that Romford had chances to take the game away from Ware.
They twice struck the bar, the first a glancing touch from Will Greens' shot, the second a full on blow from Kai Bichard that cannoned back into play. Not content with that Romford struck again with Kwasi Marfo's free kick that brought a fine save out of Ashley Harris - playing instead of Kyle Forster who was on the bench. But Ware, with two young centre backs following Marcus Rose's late withdrawal, held out to provide the platform from which they built a victory with three late goals.
Rose's absence meant that the captain's arm band was taken by Josh Oyibo and he played his role well. He was booked in the first half but for once he seemed a little unlucky to pick up a yellow card after merely standing his ground in an altercation with Romford's Greg Akpele. That apart his committed approach to the game set an example and typified the whole team who put in a much better performance than that of two days earlier.
Ware played at a higher tempo than of late, closing down opponents and fighting for every ball. The initial sparring may well have gone to Romford and culminated in Green shooting wide from a good position after 12 minutes when he could so easily have done better but thereafter it was mostly Ware, playing down the slope, who held the initiative up to the break.
The visitors were playing an offside game with their back four high up the pitch. This did seem to catch out unwary Ware forwards far too often but it also had its dangers. On occasions, whether by luck or judgement, Ware had a man running through from an onside position whilst the Romford defence were looking ineffectually to the referee's assistant for a flag as two or even three men in blue stood offside but not interfering with play.
So it was that Ware still managed to mount numerous attacks on the Romford goal. Evandro Delgado was the first to strike in the 21st minute with a powerful shot from the right that Callum Chafer had to palm away. A minute later, this time from the left, Delgado put over a tantalising cross that just escaped a telling touch from his colleagues in the area.
Gareth Price, Joe Reynolds and Oyibo all had chances as the half wore on but the best came on 42 minutes when Tom Bradbury's header looped high towards Oyibo at the far post. The captain lifted the outside of his boot to the ball but the connection lacked enough pressure to divert it into the goal.
Whilst the second half brought a different Romford onto the pitch Ware still had their moments. Price was twice through one on one with Chafer only to shoot wide whilst Dean Mason did at least bring a save out of the keeper when he was in a similar situation.
It was still anybody's game when Price got a third bite of the cherry. Once again one on one with Chafer he stroked the ball home as if now it had become the simplest of tasks. The argument from Romford that he was offside when he started his run may have had some validity but the differing interpretation of marginal calls such as that can be the danger of playing an offside game.
Even so there was still time for Romford to at least claim an equaliser and they looked capable of doing so. What a relief then when ten minutes later the always committed Price closed down Chafer and blocked his clearance. The Ware man chased the loose ball but before he could turn it into the net he was brought down by Danny Cossington. This left Dean Mason to score his first league goal for Ware by striking the penalty past Chafer who gambled incorrectly by diving to his left.
Taking the first half into consideration two-nil might have seemed about right but sometimes you get a bonus. It came initially from Kambo Smith who drove forward in added time with a good run before striking a near perfect shot. Smith's disappointment that it struck the bar rather than go in was Laurence Vaughan's delight as he seized the moment and the rebound to score his own first league goal for the club, driving the ball past scattered friend and foe into the net.
It was Ware's first clean sheet and home league win since 22nd October and their first league win anywhere since the end of November. It was well played with Aston Goss looking at home in the left back position covering for the suspended Alaa Oujdi whilst Lewis Soraf and Tom Bradbury belied their youth with a confident centre back pairing.
They have it all to do again next week in what is still something of a crucial game at Great Wakering but they have now been reminded that there is the ability in the team to get back up the table.
Ware: Ashley Harris, Jack Mace, Aston Goss, Josh Oyibo (Ryan Hervel 81mins), Lewis Soraf, Tom Bradbury, Dean Mason, Joe Reynolds, Evandro Delgado (Laurence Vaughan 71mins), Gareth Price, Junior Appiah (Kambo Smith 86mins). Unused subs: Finley Long, Kyle Forster.