VCD Athletic 2 Ware 0
Ware left to hope for a reprieve after defeat in Kent.
An afternoon spent gazing as much at phones to check other scores as looking at the game itself started well for Ware but ended in disappointment as they failed to breach the home defence and goals went in at other games. As it turned out all they needed was a single goal to save their status but they couldn't do it even in a frantic closing period when the ball was cleared off the VCD line.
At half time all seemed reasonably well. Despite being a goal down Ware had had a fair share of the game and on another day might have been awarded at least one of two penalty claims, the second seemingly clear cut as Gareth Price was felled by an elbow in the back. This was during a period when Ware were probing the home defence for an opening goal.
Josh Oyibo and Price were both notable at this time with forward balls from Alaa Oujdi giving them plenty to feed off. But it was Ryan Hervel's cross after 13 minutes that almost brought a score with the ball inches from the head of the onrushing Oyibo in front of goal.
With nothing to play for VCD were moving the ball around well at times but not presenting much of a threat. When they did it was from the wings and as the half wore on they started to look more menacing down both flanks. And so with five minutes to half time a move started on the left ended with a ball out to the right where Rashid Kamara was waiting. He controlled the ball before drilling it back across the front of the Ware goal where Mitch Hahn was on hand to shoot home from close range.
This may have seemed a little hard on Ware but scores elsewhere were in their favour and with Heybridge two down and Soham level the Blues at this stage were still clear of the relegation zone. There was more comfort for the visitors as they made a very positive start to the second half, almost laying siege to the home goal.
For a while it seemed that wave after wave of attacks were mounted as Ware were playing out of their skins but they found a home defence with Jeffrey Imudia outstanding. But the waves created a backwash and for what seemed the first time in the half VCD mounted their own attack just past the hour mark. This was brought to an end by Alaa Oujdi's tackle that earned him a lecture from the referee. There was a bigger price to pay as Derek Duncan sent the free kick from wide into Darren Behcet's top right corner for 2-0.
By now other scores were going against Ware and buoyed by their second goal VCD were less disposed to sit back and let Ware do the work. Time began to ebb away and whilst the corner count mounted the home defence stood firm. Headers were just wide or high as defenders crowded around attackers and Price's sweeping cross from the left just eluded Lee White as he stretched to connect with it by Michael Gooch's left hand post.
A moment of pinball football in front of the Ware goal needed a good stop from Behcet and then a goal line clearance from Jack Fowler and served as a reminder that things could get worse. But in the frenetic minutes at the end of the game VCD had their own escape when a goalmouth scramble ended with a shot being cleared from the goal line by a defender one suspects knew little about it.
The final whistle brought the inevitable post mortem. On the run of play Ware ought to have earned themselves the point necessary for safety; and then there was the penalty that would have put Ware ahead in the first half. But these things happen in football and it has been results throughout the whole season that have led to relegation.
Currently next season looks like being spent in the Spartan South Midlands League offering a number of local derbies but Ware's total of 51 points puts them at the head of the queue for any reprieves should one become available. Wherever next season finds them Ware should have no worries if the form displayed in their last five games is carried forward to the new campaign.
Ware: Darren Behcet, Junior Appiah, Alaa Oujdi, Ryan Hervel, Jack Fowler, Lee White, Marcus Milner, Ahmed Mohammed (Brian Haule 62mins), Gareth Price (Jamie Smith 86mins), Josh Oyibo, Murat Karagul (Evandro Delgado 76mins). Unused subs: Anthony Furlonge, Liam Griffin.