Ware 3 Witham Town 2
Madden confirms victory and man of the match performance with a late goal.
Despite a number of individual contributions - Elliott Charles ran Madden close with his runs up front whilst Yannick Kamanan once again scored a goal and then assisted with another - this was a below par performance from the team as a whole.
Junior Appiah made his first appearance since injury in the home win over Waltham Abbey but even so Ware continued with three at the back using Appiah and Murat Karagul on the wings of a well stocked midfield. Appiah plays well at right back but in his old midfield role was sometimes too far forward in the opening period to get back as cover when the visitors attacked. This left the speedy Timothy Monsheju too many chances to supply Samuel Ashford as he lurked unchallenged in the open spaces on Ware's right.
None of that was the cause of Ware going behind. The ball was lost on the left side of their area and although scrambled away for a corner it was no more than a delay as the ball came over and Patrick Ahern rose above the defence to head home.
The inability to get a solid grip on the visiting attack was to cause palpitations amongst the home support for much of the rest of the game and with thoughts starting to turn to next week's first derby with Hertford in eleven years that problem will need attention.
Yet when going forward Ware looked dangerous and Marvin Hamilton's good ball into the area for Charles was just grabbed by Lewis Moore in the Witham goal whilst Appiah's later cross was met by Karagul whose header was beaten away by the keeper.
Ware got their reward after 32 minutes. From his own throw Madden got the ball back before releasing Charles on the right whose first time cross rose into the Witham area where Kamanan was waiting. The number nine seems always to know where the opposition defenders are and even with his back to goal had enough awareness to help the ball on with a deft flick of his head and into the far corner of the net.
Ware appeared to have turned the game their way eight minutes into the second half when Madden killed a Witham break out of defence before it had properly started with a great tackle. He laid the ball off to Hamilton on the right and his powerful cross into the box saw the ball ultimately hit the visitors' Corlett Tyler and ricochet into the goal.
However, any thoughts that Ware might now drive on to a comfortable victory were shattered five minutes later when the defence seemed to go absent and Shamido Pedula drove home from the Witham right giving Tom Coulton little chance. It was the first time Ware had conceded two league goals in a league game this season and it was enough to give the visitors fresh heart.
As a result the game looked as if it was heading towards a stalemate but when Ahmed Abdulla received a second yellow card with three minutes of normal time remaining Ware were apparently left to cling on; yet six minutes later and into an extended period of added time the Blues secured the points.
Kamanan received the ball in the Witham area but wide to Moore's right. He tried to blast it home but the keeper parried it away only to find Madden on hand to nod it into an empty net. It was his third goal for the club, the previous two coming in consecutive matches in August 2013, but the first one to contribute to a victory, that fact alone causing great celebration on and off the pitch.
Josh Dobson made his debut from the bench (now thankfully and rightly back in front of the clubroom) having signed from Biggleswade United some time before. He had a solid enough performance at left back, enough that is to suggest he might get another chance in the league cup game at Potters Bar in midweek.
But more significant challenges lie ahead next Saturday. If Ware are to succeed at Hertingfordbury Park they will need to close down opposition attacks more than they did in this game.
Ware: Tom Coulton, Gareth Madden, Alaa Oujdi (Josh Dobson 63mins), Ahmed Abdulla, Junior Appiah, Lee White, Murat Karagul (Marcus Milner 63mins), Finbarr Robins (Prince Madu 75mins), Yannick Kamanan, Marvin Hamilton, Elliott Charles. Unused subs: Denzel Conteh, Warren Kayembe.