Heybridge Swifts 6 Ware 1
Ware slip to defeat.
It's hard to know where to start with this report. The score line looks bad and there's no way of suggesting that Ware were unlucky. And yet they didn't play badly, certainly not in the first half when the real damage was done.
During the first forty five minutes they recovered from a double setback early on to draw level and then looked the more likely to score again. Yet it was the home side that recovered the momentum with a goal that, not unlike the first, seemed to be thanks to Ware's defence as much as their own initiative. That momentum took them to a 4-1 half time lead and left Ware with little to hope for from the game.
The game didn't start well for Ware with the second kick of the match launching the ball deep into their half. Charlie Yexley rose to head it in contention with Juan Luque and a clash of heads left the Ware man flat on his face and apparently unconscious. He did recover and returned to the fray, his first action being to cut out a through ball at the expense of a corner after four minutes.
From this the ball was sent low across the area where it looked as though it would be cleared by a Ware player. That man may have had a call but for some reason the ball was not intercepted after which it eluded the rest of the defence and ended in the net. Ryan Henshaw took the credit for putting it away in what was almost a carbon copy of the first goal conceded at Tilbury seven days earlier.
It was clearly a bad start but Ware recovered and started to move the ball around confidently. Five minutes after conceding, a good break inspired by Harley Haag saw Ross Elsom hit the outside of Danny Sambridge's right hand post. Then a quarter of an hour in another attack seemed to have been countered but Alaa Oujdi was in quickly to block the clearance. The ball fell to Marcus Milner 20 yards out and he lifted it over the defence and Sambridge for the equaliser.
Having grasped the initiative it all went wrong for Ware ten minutes later. On a slippery surface Dom Njoya lost the ball in trying to bring it out of defence. Heybridge seized the chance and the resultant low cross slipped through Harry Voss's hands leaving Matthew Price to force the ball over the line under pressure from Yexley.
Hopes that Ware would bounce back again were dashed four minutes later. This time Yexley slipped when going to cut out a long ball which then fell to Juan Luque. His cross from the left was met by Harrison Chatting who scored past the diving Voss.
Ware continued to plug away and Elsom's 36th minute free kick again hit the outside of Sambridge's post. But Ware's pressure was all to no avail as with a minute of the half left Luque was able to cut inside and fire past Voss to put the game beyond the visitors. The Ware keeper, back for his first game since his injury at Romford, might have wished he'd delayed his return as a disconsolate Ware team trooped in at half time.
At least Ware had the strong wind at their back for the second half but the game had gone from them and as the half wore on it seemed to become a matter of damage limitation. That damage came in the form of two more goals.
Having already hit a post Price scored after 65 minutes when Ware lost the ball under pressure in midfield allowing the Swifts' striker to get in behind the Ware defence. He gave Voss no chance to score his second of the afternoon before completing his hat trick on 77 minutes with a long range shot into the top corner of the net.
The result underlines Swifts' resurgence and reinforces their play-off prospects. These could be further enhanced on Tuesday when they visit Norwich United where a win will also benefit Ware's struggle in the lower reaches of the table.
Ware: Harry Voss, Charlie Yexley, Dominique Njoya, Ahmed Abdulla (Murat Karagul 74mins), Damien Green (Gareth Madden 52mins), Louis Bowen, Marcus Milner, Conor Okus, Harley Haag (Finley Long 84mins), Alaa Oujdi, Ross Elsom.