AFC Sudbury 1 Ware 3
Centre back duo return and both score as Ware record first win at Sudbury.
Damien Green and Louis Bowen were both back from prolonged injury to help give the Ware line-up a more familiar look with Gareth Madden now able to return to midfield. But would Ware settle quickly into their old routine or need time to get back to normal?
It didn't look good initially and after an opening few minutes of sparring mostly in the Sudbury half but without any danger to their goal the home side started to find their feet. The emphasis seemed to be on wide play with Ollie Gravett getting most of the action. He was however well marshalled by Dominique Njoya and was switched to the other wing after half time before being substituted.
The remaining pressure from Sudbury was nullified by an efficient defence and an offside trap that caught them out on several occasions. As a result Ware began to come into the game, working their way forward with neat football that eventually drew a foul on 24 minutes.
Dave Cowley's free kick from the right found both Green and Bowen causing problems in the home defence and when the ball dropped to him from an attempted clearance Bowen was quick to fire it past Milo Grimes in the Sudbury goal to give Ware the lead.
This seemed to have set Ware up for the rest of the half but on 42 minutes the ball was stolen too easily from the visitors and Sudbury reacted quickly to make the most of it. The ball was laid off to Callum Harrison who carried it forward without being challenged before unleashing a low shot that beat Harry Voss on his left.
Sudbury were lifted by this and applied pressure from the start of the second half. It was enough to force Ware into some strong arm tactics that brought cautions for both Bowen and Madden. In fact the Blues were fighting something of a rearguard action at this time and on the hour a looping shot had Voss back peddling to flick it against the bar as he fell backwards. Luckily no attackers were on hand to follow up and the ball was cleared from the line.
That was a turning point and within five minutes Ware were back to carving their own openings. Jordon Watson made good progress into the Sudbury area but ignored the opportunity to pass to Josh Oyibo, opting to shoot instead. Grimes saved at the expense of a rebound but Watson had no better luck with his follow up shot which the keeper gathered easily.
Two minutes later however another Sudbury clearance was collected by Madden who drilled it back from 30 yards. Grimes' parry fell to Watson but this time he chose to pass and Green was on hand to score another close range goal.
Sudbury used up their remaining substitutes in an effort to turn things around but Ware were looking comfortable by now and the home side were wasting what chances came their way.
There was a great chance to seal the points after 85 minutes as Alaa Oujdi outpaced his defender on the left. Cowley took the ball on and delivered it to Watson in the middle. For an agonising moment the ball was trapped between his feet but it gave enough time for a defender to recover and get across to block his shot.
But Ware were not to be denied and with normal time almost up Oyibo tried a long range shot. It might have bent on its flight or Grimes might have been deceived by the lowering sun but he failed to get his hand firmly enough to the ball and it slid from his grasp and bounced over the line for goal number three.
It was hard on Grimes who is a young outfielder drafted into goal at the last moment when regular keeper Paul Walker was injured in the warm up. Grimes played well and until that late mistake gave little suggestion that he was playing out of position.
Ware: Harry Voss, Charlie Yexley, Dominique Njoya, Gareth Madden, Damien Green, Louis Bowen, Marcus Milner, Josh Oyibo, Jordon Watson, Dave Cowley, Alaa Oujdi. Unused subs: Harley Haag, Leigh Rose, Ross Elsom, Ace'a Laurent, Anthony Furlonge.
Whine or wag? Tiberius says that the sight of Damien Green and Louis Bowen taking the field was enough to set his tail twitching. However, a team performance that was reminiscent of the good run in March and culminated in a first ever win away to one of Ware's bogey sides was what got his tail really wagging.