EAST Thurrock maintained their place at the top of the table with a very professional, workmanlike performance against a Ware side who were game, but second best in most areas.
The exception was visiting keeper Joe Taylor who turned in an excellent performance, keeping his side in the game with some reaction stops in the first half and keeping the tally down in the second half with his goal under almost constant pressure.
Rocks dithered through the opening few minutes but showed their ability to create chances on four minutes when Jimmy Webb crossed. Kris Newby headed the ball back into the mixer and Max Cornhill rose and headed goalwards. It looked a certain goal but Taylor dived and stretched out an arm to claw the ball off the line.
Cornhill then turned provider with an incisive ball for Kye Ruel who carried it to the bye-line and rolled a great ball across the face of goal, the shame being no-one had matched his conviction and followed into the box.
A succession of chances followed. Joe Keith worked the ball to Steve Harrison who forced a double save from Taylor, Cornhill shot over the bar, a long range effort from Ryan Sammons and a swerving volley from Webb was well covered by the keeper.
It was almost inevitable that a goal would come and it did on 33 minutes when Harrison stepped over Cornhill’s ball into the box and Ruel showed calmness to gather it and drill a close range shot past the flat-footed Taylor.
Threats from Ware were few and far between but their best came in the closing stages of the half when Keith tried the shepherd the ball out for a goalkick but was disposed and in the goalmouth melee that followed Rocks defenders and keeper Richard Wray had to scramble to clear their lines.
There was much less goalmouth action in the second half as Rocks lost some of their fluency ad Ware concentrated on a rearguard action but they made the points safe soon after a double substitution.
New recruit Reiss Gilbey and veteran Lee Hodges, who replaced Webb and Ruel, were both involved in the build-up that created a close range chance for Newby. Taylor excelled with his save at the expense of a corner but when it came in centre-back Steve Sheehan surged into the six yard box and prodded the ball home on the volley.
Youngster Gilbey, who had been released by Thurrock in midweek, was a thorn in the side of Ware and his presence got to visiting skipper Matt Turpin who clattered him late and was sent off.
Rocks boss threw on another youngsters, Martin Llewellyn for the closing minutes in place of Neil Richmond, who had done a solid holding job up front all afternoon, and he grabbed a third goal two minutes into added time when Ware gave the ball away. Newby raced through and in contrast to a moment a couple of minutes before when he had shot when others were better-placed, he unselfishly rolled the ball into the path of Llewellyn who rolled it into an empty net to round off a thoroughly competent display by the home side who remain at the top of the table.
Report courtesy of The Essex Enquirer.