Ware 2 Witham Town 1
Hard work pays off as Ware take three points to boost survival fight.
In an entertaining battle under the early spring sunshine Ware responded to their new management team with a performance of commitment and perseverance. It was their first win in ten games since the 1-0 success at Brentwood in mid-February and augurs well for the remainder of the season.
Ware began with only two changes from the starting eleven at Heybridge last week under the previous management team. Gareth Price was an easy choice to come in at the expense of Remy Ellis but Kambo Smith was unlucky to be left out of the squad completely though the elevation of Josh Oyibo to a starting place was rewarded by another good performance.
The other signs of change were two old faces on the bench as Jamie Smith and Liam Griffin have both returned to the club whilst a new face in the form of Ahmed Mohammed sat the game out. The transfer deadline is now in place so there can be no more additions to the squad.
After an early spell of control from the visitors Ware started to come into the game and apply their own pressure. Even so it was not until the 18th minute that there was any kind of chance for either side. A Ware corner found Tyrique Hyde who played it into the path of Josh Oyibo to volley over the bar.
Ten minutes later Lee White was on the end of a free kick but his header was safely gathered under the bar by Reece Paine. Just past the half hour mark it was still Ware carving out the opportunities in an otherwise even game as good interplay between Marcus Milner and Gareth Price allowed Oyibo another shot, this time low and past Paine's left upright. Defender Anthony Furlonge was next to try his luck with a long range shot from the right that Paine parried down before gathering the ball.
Witham at last got in on the act with ten minutes of the half left and a dangerous cross found Alaa Oujdi, under pressure, stooping to head clear for a corner. But it was back to a chance for Ware as Oyibo intercepted a free kick to allow Price to send a long ball out to the right. Hyde was on it and cut in towards the penalty area before shooting beyond Paine but against the bar.
The second half was more of the same and after another early spell of Witham pressure Ware were back searching for a goal. It came six minutes in when a corner from the right went beyond the goal to where Lee White was waiting. His header went in from such a narrow angle that some in the ground thought it had gone behind when the net rippled.
But the hope generated by the goal lasted only three minutes. It looked like it could be another disappointing day for the home side as Ryan Charles' free kick from long distance was hit with power and accuracy to cannon off Darren Behcet's right hand post and into the goal for Witham's equaliser.
It would not have been the first time this season that Ware had gone on to lose from a winning position but heads did not drop. Instead the Blues continued to search for another goal and with 25 minutes left gambled on replacing Furlonge with midfielder Evandro Delgado. It was to prove the difference ten minutes later. A period of pressure began to build on the visitors and after several attacks had been repulsed another surge into the Witham area saw the ball fall to Delgado who drove it home from short range.
There was still time for Witham to come back again and some heart in mouth moments especially when the ball was driven across the face of the Ware goal very near the end. Amidst these nerve wracking final minutes Jack Fowler earned himself another yellow card to blight an otherwise strong performance with an unnecessarily dangerous tackle. He is now on four since returning to Ware and needs to be careful if he is to remain available in Ware's last four games.
The first of those is another home game next Saturday against already relegated Great Wakering. There is a very real need to avoid complacency but after this excellent victory Ware have a base from which to pick up more points in the fight against relegation.
Ware: Darren Behcet, Anthony Furlonge (Evandro Delgado 64mins), Alaa Oujdi, Ryan Hervel, Lee White, Jack Fowler, Marcus Milner, Tyrique Hyde, Gareth Price (Jamie Smith 88mins), Josh Oyibo, Murat Karagul. Unused subs: Liam Griffin, Ahmed Mohammed, Junior Appiah.