Ware 0 Romford 2
What a difference a week makes. Ware lack vitality in disappointing defeat. Tiberius is not happy.
The previous Saturday had seen Ware outdo play-off hopefuls Dereham to win the points. A week and four games later, two on heavy surfaces, and with Dereham winning 6-1 at Grays Athletic, Ware looked jaded. As a result bottom club Romford took their chances and the game to ease their relegation worries and place a few of them on Ware.
The game was a curious mirror image of the away fixture in which Ware had survived the loss of keeper Harry Voss for 85 minutes and also scored a 2-0 win. This time Romford lost Robb Bud to an arm injury to be replaced by number nine Nick Reynolds for the final 35 minutes.
It was 50 minutes less than Ware had had to endure without a regular keeper but even if they had had the full ninety minutes the home side didn't look capable of putting Reynolds under pressure let alone testing him with a shot. A sliced clearance and a gather on the edge of his area was pretty much all he was required to do.
With Romford more in need of points than Ware they had the better of the opening minutes as the home side struggled to put many passes together. The first real danger from Ware came on ten minutes when Marcus Milner forced his way across the edge of the Romford area dodging tackles and looking for an opening. It didn't quite come and the ball was cleared for Romford to break and force a corner, already their fourth of the game.
The home team's next chance came on 23 minutes when a Dave Cowley through ball sent Jordon Watson on his way. Forced wide by both Robb and a defender he still managed to turn and get off a shot but it was wide.
Two minutes later Romford got the break that opened up the game for them. Carlos Djalo Oso carried the ball into the Ware area under close attention from Bradley Fraser. The Ware centre back appeared to get the ball away from his opponent as it went free towards Voss.
Mr Wilson the referee however pointed to the spot, Fraser possibly having caught Djalo Oso as he cleared. There was some doubt about it all on both sides but Djalo Oso didn't object and scored from the spot, Voss diving to his right as the ball went the other way.
Hesitancy in the Ware defence almost immediately after the restart ended with Gareth Madden having to slide in to clear an almost certain goal allowing Ware the chance to settle into pursuit of an equaliser. It might have come after 53 minutes when a deft header from Leigh Rose looked about to give Watson a clear chance on goal but from nowhere a timely interception by Nathan Okoye robbed him of the chance.
Romford went straight back onto the attack and this time it needed a clearance from Ware to deny them. Unfortunately it fell to Romford captain Danny Cossington outside the area and his lofted return was judged precisely to evade Voss's leap but dip under the cross bar for goal number two.
Almost immediately after this Romford withdrew 'keeper Robb, who was injured in the first half, no doubt feeling that it might be safe to do so. They weren't wrong as Ware struggled to put any pressure on the Romford defence. They weren't devoid of ideas but if the spirit was willing the flesh was weak.
At least they have a whole week off to recharge their batteries and feed in some of their injured players. Louis Bowen will have a run out with the under 23s in midweek and Charlie Yexley was given much the same with 20 minutes left of this game.
Ware: Harry Voss, Alaa Oujdi, Dominique Njoya, Josh Oyibo, Gareth Madden, Bradley Fraser, Ross Elsom (Ace'a Laurent 63mins), Leigh Rose, Jordon Watson, Dave Cowley, Marcus Milner (Charlie Yexley 68mins). Unused subs: Anthony Furlonge, Finley Long, Harley Haag.
Whine or wag? Tiberius, the Staffordshire bull terrier who has become something of a mascot in the last few weeks, lacks an opposable thumb to give the kind of signal his namesake might have done in the Coliseum. He does however give a good indication of his feelings by sound or tail wag. Sadly this game merited a long, loud and sad whine.