Ware 0 Maldon & Tiptree 1
Disappointing start to season as Ware lose out in game of two halves.
The pre-match talk from the visitors was all about how they had to fashion a new team at short notice after various departures from their squad. The chances that they would instantly bond as a team were deemed remote.
Yet the first half suggested that this was all a crafty bluff designed to lull Ware into complacency. Maldon enjoyed the majority of the possession and territory with a co-ordinated team display that had the home defence working overtime on occasions to keep them out. In this they were largely successful and Tom Coulton was rarely troubled in the home goal beyond the need to pluck the odd high ball out of the air.
It was not until 23 minutes had elapsed that Ware had any sort of chance when Murat Karagul outpaced George Keys near the corner flag and sent over a cross. Disappointingly it went behind the two men in stripes waiting around the six yard box.
This did at least energise Ware and five minutes later Yannick Kamanan headed on to Marvin Hamilton in the Maldon area but his shot was well wide. Kamanan was involved again after 32 minutes when he worked inside from the right, exchanged a one-two with Ryan Hervel, and made space for himself 25 yards out in front of goal. His shot was narrowly past the intersection of post and bar with Andy Walker leaping to cover it.
Despite this resurgence from Ware the visitors still seemed to have the edge and they proved it on 41 minutes when Kieran Bailey did to Junior Appiah what Karagul had done to Keys. Bailey's cross was low and nearer the goal where Christopher Millar was on hand to convert for the lead.
The second half saw more effort from Ware to control the game and they did so by keeping the ball on the ground and their passes short. It paid off as the home side had much more of the game.
Now it was Maldon who were at times reliant on long balls out of defence to Junior Ogeoi-Uzokwe to relieve pressure. But these clearances were generally to his feet giving him the chance to develop something albeit that Coulton remained mostly untroubled.
Coulton's opposite number had more to do after half time with Karagul forcing him into a save on 52 minutes and Josh Oyibo's shot deflected for one of the many corners Ware were now forcing. Another of those came on 75 minutes when Kamanan's long range free kick brought a great save out of Walker as he tipped it over the bar. Hervel was next and with just over ten minutes to go his free kick was narrowly wide before Alaa Oujdi put a free kick across from the left where Karagul headed wide under pressure from a defender.
On the run of play Ware ought to have taken a point from this game but with time running out the supposed new boys of Maldon seemed familiar enough with each other to mount a cohesive defensive performance to hang on to the points.
Ware: Tom Coulton, Junior Appiah (Courtney Clay 70mins), Alaa Oujdi, Ryan Hervel, Gareth Madden, Lee White, Marcus Milner, Ahmed Abdulla (Josh Oyibo 65mins), Yannick Kamanan, Marvin Hamilton (Finbarr Robins 65mins), Murat Karagul. Unused subs: Daniel Emovon, Sym Taylor.