Ware 1 Hertford Town 0
Déjà vu as Watson seals points against a former club for the second game running.
Ware may just be slipping into a rhythm as for the second week in succession they were prepared to concede territory in their opponents' half whilst denying them chances higher up the pitch. Manager John Dreyer may now have the confidence that his side will do what he wants consistently because he forsook the chance to field any of his substitutes. The starting eleven gave him what he wanted it seems and the outcome was a first home league victory since the beginning of October.
The strategy does of course mean that everything and everyone has to work pretty much perfectly. It's just as well because the opening period and spells in the second half saw Hertford hemming Ware into their defensive third. Yet George Lutaaya's low cross on 87 minutes that had Harry Voss for once fumbling and grateful for a defensive clearance was the only thing to trouble the keeper throughout the game.
Ware on the other hand had several chances to score especially once Jordon Watson breached the Hertford defence. Until then there was some concern that he was ploughing a lonely furrow up front, chasing every ball and doing his best to hold on until support arrived, without much reward.
That changed on 35 minutes as he chased a back header through the middle, outpaced the visiting defence and then rounded Hertford keeper Charlie Mann who had come out of his area to intercept before shooting home.
Suddenly the tactics seemed right and five minutes later Watson turned provider to set up Leigh Rose but his shot from close range was somehow blocked by the oncoming Mann. Then in added time at the end of the half Ace'a Laurent shot from distance and Mann failed to gather cleanly, the ball bobbling forward only for Watson's follow up strike to be deflected for a corner.
Fears that Ware might rue the missed chances to establish daylight between them and their opponents seemed justified after the break as the visitors started to apply pressure. But Ware were always closing down the opposition quickly and snapping at their heels to prevent openings.
And so into the mid period of the half with Ware now back to creating chances as the Hertford recovery stalled for a while. The visitors were now picking up a number of yellow cards as they in turn struggled to contain Ware's own search for a second goal.
But as the game drew to a close Hertford were back on the offensive and on 77 minutes Jason Beck carried the ball forward before releasing Emmanuel Osei. With a golden opportunity the Hertford number 9, who until this moment had been well marshalled, shot high over the bar with only Voss to beat. So if the strategy doesn't work perfectly, sometimes you get a break.
As it turned out that was about it for Hertford in what had been an entertaining game for those who braved the snow and cold, and was a good reward for the work put in by volunteers to ensure the game went ahead.
Hertford moved the ball around well at times, finding their men with the kind of familiarity that a season's long acquaintance can engender. By comparison Dreyer's new charges are still finding their feet but latest signing Dave Cowley looks a good capture with surely more to give once he settles in.
Ware: Harry Voss, Charlie Yexley, Dominique Njoya, Gareth Madden, Damien Green, Louis Bowen, Dave Cowley, Josh Oyibo, Jordon Watson, Leigh Rose, Ace'a Laurent. Unused subs: Conor Okus, Harley Haag, Ivan Machado, Alaa Oujdi, Finley Long.