Chalfont St Peter 0 Ware 2
By Stephen King
What a difference a few days can make.
Ware's poor performance at the weekend and the accompanying complaints from some supporters that they didn't look fit were both put aside as these teams served up an entertaining, back and forth encounter. At times it became a little over enthusiastic and whilst the referee tried to keep his cards in his pocket the yellow came out three times.
With both sides being mindful of important FA Cup games coming up on Saturday neither club was at full strength. Five of Ware's starters last weekend were not even present on the bench for this game and the home side showed six changes from Saturday. But if some key players were missing the replacements made a good case for their continuing consideration in team selection.
Jason Junior Brown, who made substitute appearances in the pre-season friendlies against Enfield and Royston, had a very good competitive debut. He may, however, consider himself a little unlucky to get a yellow card for a second half tackle when worse fouls had gone unpunished. It was unfortunate timing as the referee, Mr Fell, finally lost patience over his warnings to other players being seemingly ignored.
A sign of Ware's selection difficulties was the appearance of a not yet fit John Frendo on the substitute bench whilst Louis Rose took the field in a Ware shirt for the first time since 2013.
Jordon Watson was also back and getting playing time before Saturday's game for which he will now be available whilst Callum Taylor responded well to the greater responsibility he had to assume following the absence of so many regular first teamers.
That's something of the context in which both teams battled out a tight game especially in the first half when play oscillated from one end to the other. Taylor's glancing header from a 19th minute corner was deflected wide whilst five minutes later Chalfont's Frankie Jones fired a sizzling shot just over the Ware bar.
But for all the energetic play these were among the few clear chances either side had and neither keeper was unduly troubled although Carl Dennison brought off a good save just before the break to deny Watson. It turned out however that the Ware man was offside. It looked like being the kind of game with plenty of action but no goals and the prospect of a penalty shoot out beckoned.
The home side seemed to be slowly getting the better of the second period as play started to concentrate in the Ware half with a shot tipping the top of the Ware cross bar. Yet it was Taylor's 67th minute header off the top of the Chalfont bar that signalled a turn in fortune.
Three minutes later Ware had the break through. Watson threaded the ball through to Jack Daveney going though the centre of the home defence and with only Dennison to beat the Ware number eight scored low into the net.
It was Watson again as provider with six minutes left. Winning the ball wide on the left he sent over a cross with such accuracy that Ben Hart, perhaps the shortest man on the pitch, could head home from close range despite Dennison trying to block.
Ware: Harry Ricketts, Billy Baird, Alaa Oujdi, Jason Brown, Louis Rose, Bradley Fraser, Ben Hart, Jack Daveney (Charlie Hannam 79mins), Leigh Rose, Jordon Watson (Harley Haag 85mins), Callum Taylor (Lauric Diakiesse 85mins). Unused sub: John Frendo.