Brentwood Town 0 Ware 1
Three points and another clean sheet but they had to be hard won.
Ware have now won 11 league games this season and surprisingly, given their league position, this was the first in which they were limited to a winning margin of just one goal. That will be of scant consolation to Brentwood who might have had the game sewn up by half time but for poor finishing and Darren Behcet in the Ware goal.
Anwar Uddin was pleased with another win, his third in four league matches since taking over as manager and the third clean sheet too. Behcet, who won the goalkeeping award for Ryman North in January, might just be heading for February's accolade as well on this form. His first half saves, not to mention a couple in the second period, were out of the top drawer.
The result may have been good but after last Saturday's performance against Aveley this one was a disappointment. Brentwood went for Ware from the off and adapted to the slippery surface much better than the visitors who had difficulty timing their passes and controlling the ball.
Jack Fowler, making his first outing for Ware since the 2014/5 season, was in the referee's book as early as the second minute for a mistimed tackle that upended his opponent. But no outfield player could be excused from this disjointed first half performance and it was not until the half hour mark that Ware had a proper effort on goal when a cross from Imedd Kartita was headed narrowly over by Anthony Furlonge.
Furlonge was another new name but this time one making his full debut. After service with Stevenage and Southend United but most recently AFC Sudbury he put in a good shift but Uddin is keen to build team work and avoid too many changes, those in this game forced on him by the absences of Jack Mace and Marcus Rose.
Furlonge's header triggered a rare period of Ware ascendancy as they started to put the home defence under pressure but they couldn't sustain it and the half ended as it started with the home side finding chances without converting them.
As early as the sixth minute Behcet had brought off a superb double save to deny Brentwood and in the 37th minute got down to smother a shot from Lamar Reynolds after the ball had been given away in midfield. With two minutes of the half left Behcet again saved, this time from Leon Gordon, with the ball then somehow drifting across the face of goal before Fowler, under pressure, cleared it.
The second half started with Ryan Hervel on for Kartita. The slightly built midfielder had played well but Brentwood's tactics of rapidly closing down any Ware player on the ball needed a more robust response.
Certainly Ware were stronger and better in the second half and almost took the lead on 52 minutes after Gareth Price rose to a Murat Karagul cross from the left and headed it against the bar. The ball fell just in front of the line but Price couldn't get to it in time even though Anthony Page struggled to gather it into his grasp.
Within a minute the action was at the other end as Behcet rose to tip over a free kick for a corner but Brentwood were finding their chances more restricted now and it was Ware who finally opened the scoring on 72 minutes. Hervel's through ball was picked up by Evandro Delgado who worked his way towards goal. His first shot was saved but he was onto the rebound and steered the ball into Page's bottom left corner.
Four minutes later it might have been two as Price was set free by Dean Mason but Page came out to reduce the opening to his goal and Price's shot was over the bar. There was still time for some scares in front of the Ware goal but Behcet remained at his best to thwart the home side.
With three minutes of normal time left Ellis Remy, the former Hitchin Town and Enfield Town forward, came on for his first game after signing for the club a month before. Now recovered from injury he did enough to demonstrate that his ability to hold the ball in forward positions could be of benefit.
Ware: Darren Behcet, Anthony Furlonge, Alaa Oujdi, Imedd Kartita (Ryan Hervel 46mins), Jack Fowler, Lewis Soraf, Dean Mason, Joe Reynolds, Gareth Price, Evandro Delgado (Ellis Remy 87mins), Murat Karagul. Unused subs: Kambo Smith, Laurence Vaughan, Russell Harley.