After a very lacklustre first half for the spectators to endure the game did wake up in the second half with three goals and noticeably more chances. But Ware couldn’t make or take enough of the latter to take even a point from this game.
Somehow the writing was on the wall before the match started. News that Jack Grosvenor was still nursing his damaged hamstring after last week’s game and that Alex Warman had to be at hospital for the earlier than expected birth of his child told us that Ware would be without their newly acquired talismanic players.
There was also the sight of full back Ben Siggers on the left wing whilst genuine wide man Richard Ennin sat on the bench, punishment for missing training. Quite understandable of course but did the team suffer because of this?
All the suffering was with the crowd in the first forty-five minutes during which the disjointed football lacked any shape, flow or quality as balls were pinged up field before being ponged back. Anyone for (table) tennis?
With the slope in their favour Ware probably shaded the first half but not by much. Jon Clements was sent chasing a through ball on five minutes which Cameron Groom in the home goal just managed to gather before the Ware man could get to it. Siggers then drew a first-rate, finger tip save out of Groom before Freddy Moncur went down in the penalty area as he was robbed of the ball. The referee turned away calls for a penalty and booked Moncur for diving instead.
Meanwhile, Rovers appeared to be looking to hit on the break. Did they know that has proved to be Ware’s Achilles Heel this season? There was a flurry of action at the Ware end towards the half time break which Ware cleared but their failure to score at the other end was already a worry.
Ware’s two most recent league games at Sharpenhoe Road had seen seven goals all scored at the bottom end of the ground so there was a sense of concern after Ware failed to convert any chances at that end in the first forty five minutes. And so it proved three minutes into the second half, Matt Moloney turning in a cross from close range to give Rovers the lead.
Barton were lifted and came close minutes later with a good move that was recklessly skied over the bar. So there was still hope for Ware and Jack Dreyer gave that substance ten minutes into the half. After picking up a Darion Furlong throw, he went past a defender, worked his way into the box and beat Groom with a low shot.
Dreyer has scored on every visit to Rovers’ home and always ended on the winning side so this should have been the moment for Ware to push on and take the lread. They might have done it at the midpoint of the half when good play between a number of the side including Joe Dearman and Stef Georgiou showed that Ware can play good football.
But it was all too rare and much of Ware’s attacks were beaten back by Rovers’ tall defenders who, other than George Ironton’s well placed corners, headed every high ball clear and often to find a team mate who would do something with it. The home side seemed to know what to do and who to look for when they broke.
This paid off with twenty minutes of normal time to go. A Ware attack was beaten off and the ball was swept out to Matt Moloney to race away against a stretched defence before crossing to Lucas Kirkpatrick to score the winner.
It was another goal from a counter attack though manager Paul Halsey was most concerned that his team had been susceptible to crosses for the goals. They’d worked on dealing with crosses in training but it seems that more work is needed.
Ware continued to fight for an equaliser but had nothing to offer as a means of getting the better of an unusually tall set of defenders. Even so every time the ball went dead the cry from the home bench was to “kill the game”, to take the steam out of Ware’s efforts whilst Rovers picked up numerous yellow cards as they sought any method to preserve their lead.
They had an extra nine minutes to do so after prolonged treatment for Rovers’ Pat McCafferty’s head injury. McCafferty recovered however and was thankfully able to finish the game.
Ware: Fred Burbidge, Stef Georgiou, David Sota, Freddy Moncur, Darion Furlong, Ekow Coker, Joe Dearman, George Ironton, Jon Clements, Jack Dreyer, Ben Siggers (Richard Ennin 69mins). Unused subs: Ramiah Mills, Kai Somers, Michael Toner, Matt Walsh.