Aveley 0 Ware 1
First win in six as Ware get their tactics right to end Aveley's seven game unbeaten run.
Ware produced a disciplined performance that belied expectations after a recent run of defeats and took home all three points in a close encounter at Aveley's excellent new headquarters.
That said Ware seemed to take a little while to find their feet on the 3G surface in a worrying opening period as the home side moved the ball around confidently. At this stage it was possible to see the visitors being overwhelmed and they were given a warning in the 8th minute when Aveley had the ball in their net only to be ruled offside.
Five minutes later however Ware showed their teeth as Jordon Watson slipped between two defenders before Rhys Madden, in the home goal, was out to scramble the ball away. Now the home side were beginning to look unsettled especially when Anthony Furlonge rode a hefty tackle and set up a cross.
It became apparent that Ware were prepared to concede territory to Aveley in their defensive third of the pitch but were working hard to close down their opponents and deny them time and space elsewhere. It was clearly effective but Aveley slipped the shackles sometimes and twice in quick succession a shot and then a header were narrowly wide of Harry Voss's left post before on 25 minutes he had to make an excellent save to palm away a header following one of several long throws from Myles Keizer-Burrows.
And despite the work being put in at the back and in midfield to deny Aveley possession it was not until Marcus Milner's long range shot after 35 minutes that Ware had their first clear shot on goal. Even so Ware were getting to grips with the game and after 42 minutes Watson lobbed Madden to put the ball in the net but the offside flag had long been raised.
As it turned out it was just a sighter for better things and with just a minute left to half time a long clearance was headed on by Leigh Rose to Watson. With only Madden to beat he scored into the bottom corner despite the keeper getting a hand to the ball. As tradition dictates in these circumstances, Watson was until recently an Aveley player whilst Madden had been a favourite between the posts on 149 occasions for Ware.
But it was his brother and Ware captain Gareth Madden who was having a big influence on things playing a controlling role in midfield. Aveley were allowed few chances as the game wore on and were limited to long range shots but they rarely troubled Voss whilst a free kick from the edge of Ware's area was blocked by the defensive wall.
So added to Voss's first half save it was Damien Green, who seems unable to put a foot wrong in the back four, Madden in midfield and Watson up front who were the spine of a solid Ware performance in which it would be hard to criticise anyone.
Ace'a Laurent was presented with a late chance to make the game safe after a poor clearance but perhaps a single goal margin was a fair reflection of a close game. With Romford losing and Cheshunt and Norwich having to settle for draws Ware have gained some additional breathing space at the bottom of the table.
Ware: Harry Voss, Anthony Furlonge (Charlie Yexley 25mins), Dominique Njoya, Gareth Madden, Damien Green, Louis Bowen, Marcus Milner, Josh Oyibo (Alaa Oujdi 76mins), Jordon Watson, Leigh Rose, Ace'a Laurent. Unused subs: Harley Haag, Ivan Machado, Finley Long.