Ware 0 v 5 Grays Athletic
BLUES proved too good for a Ware team who seemed intent particularly in the first half in stopping Blues playing with at times brutal tackling, which left a number of Blues players writhing in agony on the ground.Not to be intimidated Blues produced a display which at last showcased their undoubted quality.The hunger and desire missing for so much of this season came to the fore ,eager for the ball they forced their opponents back especially in the first period ,the ball was played at pace with the movement off the ball a pleasure to watch,a performance that belied their league position,more of this and they will soon climb the league table, if ,they can add more consistency.
Manager Jamie Stuart rang the changes James Folkes, and Richard Halle, with an outstanding first start lining up in a back three with Sam Cross. A return to action for Barry Cogan in a five man midfield including Glen Poole controlled the game throughout.Kieran Bishop and Jamie Slabber worked tirelessly up front to produce an all round team performance only marred by the harsh dismissal of Stan Muguo after a second yellow..
Blues showed their intent inside the first minute ,a ball down the left channel saw Bishop outstrip his defender and crossed to the onrushing Cogan who’s momentum caused him to get under the ball and his header lacked accuracy sailing just over. Stunned by the visitors electrifying start Ware resorted to a number of cynical fouls to try and disrupt Blues rhythm but driven on by Poole and Cogan they continued to probe for an opening.Slabber played in Bishop and just when it looked he would score keeper Coulton made a smart stop with his legs.
In a quick break Ware forced a corner and from the kick Kamaman who has Champions League experience on his CV was quickest to the ball and powered a header just wide of the upright.It was a rare opportunity though as, Blues continued to dominate possession and territory, it was good to see every player eager to join in the frequent attacks ,at the back Halle was commanding winning every arial challenge and organising players around him .
It seemed only a matter of time before Blues registered a goal but they had a real fright when Appiah was left unmarked in the box and thundered a shot against the post .That was as good as it got for the hosts because on 29 minutes Blues went in front. Bishop and Slabber had been too hot to handle for the Ware back line causing panic every time the ball went into the box and panic led to Blues opener. Bishop received the ball out wide and sent in a tantalising cross for the waiting Slabber, Madu made a complete hash of his clearance and hooked the ball past the startled Coulton.
Just three minutes later and it was 2-0,Muguos’ sheer persistence on the edge of the Ware box saw him brought down , Sam Cross who is fast becoming a free kick specialist stepped up and rocketed the ball into the top corner to give Blues a two goal cushion, just reward for their hard work.
Ware look a beaten side but that did not stop them committing a series of nasty fouls with Poole being targeted on a number of occasions, but to their credit Blues refused to be intimidated and Joao Carlos nearly punished them further when he embarked on a mazy run to the edge of the box sending in a drive forcing a good save from Coulton.
It was important Blues started the second period in similar vein to the first and they did winning a corner which saw Cogans’s kick just elude the heads of Mahal and Slabber.
To their credit the hosts courtesy of a number of needless free kicks conceded by Blues began to enjoy more possession, a chance was created for the lively Appiah who was sent through on goal only to be foiled by Johnson diving at the strikers feet, appeals for a penalty went unanswered by the official much to the relief of Blues fans.The Blues defence was seeing more employment but Halle orchestrated matters at the back and continued to dominate in the air winning the ball with power and agility.
The two goal advantage allowed Blues to take their foot of the gas, but when they broke out of defence they still looked menacing going forward.The hour mark saw the departure of Slabber his job done ,to be replaced by recent signing Tim Monsheju . It proved to be an inspired substitution when just three minutes later he registered his first goal for the club and Blues third.Picking the ball up from a throw he raced forward and after a neat interchange with Bishop found himself in space on the edge of the box ,without breaking stride he fired goal wards and although the shot lacked real pace it deceived Coulton who allowed it to squirm under his body.
Bishop then had an opportunity just three minutes later, one on one with the keeper Coulton made a block save denying Blues a fourth goal.Ware responded well when Appiah raced down the flank and squared to Kamaman who rifled a fierce drive straight at Johnson.
Monsheju then had a great chance created by Bishop who raced forward to the byeline and sent in a great cross finding his striking partner unmarked in front of goal, but inexplicably he touched the ball high and wide with the goal gaping.Monsheju then returned the favour Bishop once again found himself one on one with Coulton but again the keeper denied him.
Kai Brown and Callum Thompson joined in the fray at the expense of Carlos and Cogan and quickly made an impact,Brown was causing real problems with darting runs linking well with his two strikers . Bishop had been denied by Coulton but finally got the better of the keeper and his name on the scoresheet in the 83rd minute after some intricate build up finding himself in space inside the area, he drilled the ball past the exposed Ware keeper.Brown then darted and jinked forward and struck the ball well but Coulton saved well.
Ware had one final chance to reduce the deficit when Abdullah saw his fine header clutched out of the air by Johnson.The drama wasn’t over though in the 90th minute Muguo was dismissed for a clumsy challenge receiving a second yellow, but Blues had the last laugh in injury time when Monsheju doubled his tally following more good work by Brown to make it 5-0.
The goal brought the curtain down on a comprehensive and well deserved win for Blues who produced a display that has been a long time coming.From front to back every player contributed with full commitment and showed hard work allied with ability will get you results.The task now will be to build on this performance at home to Bowers and Pitsea on Wednesday evening at Parkside.
Johnson,Mahal, Cross Folkes,Halle, Mugou , Poole, Cogan (Brown 78), Bishop, Slabber (Monsheju 60),Carlos (Thompson 70)
Subs not used,Stuart Fowler,