Chances were few and far between for both sides and the hosts were stunned when Dave Tarpey set-up Jacob Erskine for a routine finish on the hour.
The Clarets continued to press for a leveller and were eventually rewarded when Ward broke through to fire home with six minutes remaining.
Maidenhead have endured a torrid run of results and haven’t tasted victory since they beat the Clarets on February 14th when goals from Tashan Adeyinka and Dave Tarpey sealed the win. One point from six matches followed, meaning the Magpies hovered a place above the drop-zone.
Relations between long-serving manager Johnson Hippolyte and club chairman Peter Griffin have soured, leading to the announcement that the manager will be relieved of his duties come the season’s end.
That negativity didn’t appear to have too many implications on the visitor’s start and result, however, with full-back Harry Pritchard drilling narrowly wide after finding space on the left.
Pritchard then had another chance soon after when he peeled off Mark Hughes, who returned to the City starting line-up following suspension, and headed Danny Green’s corner wide again.
It was then Chelmsford’s turn to enjoy some possession and they began to replicate the great performance that was put in by Mark Hawkes’ side last week at Gosport Borough. A high tempo and direct runs down the channel helped the Clarets to a slender 1-0 victory at Privett Park, and Ward looked to maintain that against the Maidenhead defence.
The youngster, who scored the goal to keep the Clarets in the Conference South last season and has been an almost ever-present this campaign, made a darting cross-field run before eventually drawing a corner. Top scorer Michael Cheek was unfortunate in the fact that he could only watch on as his effort from the subsequent set-piece flew over.
Evans Kouassi, who made his first start for the Clarets since re-joining the club last month, almost put through Southend loanee Jack Bridge only for De’Reece Vanderhyde to recover and eventually clear as very little separated the two sides.
Dave Tarpey did however have a chance to score his second against City this season when he was fed the ball by skipper Adrian Clifton. He opted to take the chance first time and sliced horribly wide of the upright after ex-Claret Green set-up the initial move.
Bridge, who had a fine chance to nick a goal in injury time only to be denied by Timms, looked to spark what was a poor match into life. He eventually sent a shot high and wide after an interchange with Lee Sawyer, but at least it was some sort of a chance.
The rather uneventful match seemed to play in the hands of the Clarets who could sense that just one goal would likely settle the outcome.
But the first goal didn’t go in the host’s favour as against all the odds it was Maidenhead who snuck in front. The City backline was caught too high up the pitch as Tarpey broke the offside trap. The tricky winger, who was a constant threat throughout, sent a teasing cross to Jacob Erskine who made no mistake in slotting home past Tom Lovelock.
Mark Hawkes, in reaction to the opener, brought on MK Dons loanee Kabongo Tshimanga in place of Lee Sawyer and it almost resulted in an instant impact. Cheek saw his effort cleared off the line in desperate fashion as the Clarets looked to force an equaliser.
Green then had a glorious chance to further the Magpies’ lead when he weaved through the City defence only to curl wide from 12-yards and was forced to rue that error when Joe Ward picked the ball up on the right-flank from Michael Cheek..
The youngster displayed terrific pace to attack the retreating backline and sent a composed finish beyond the reach of Ashley Timms as the Clarets drew level.
Mark Hughes had a chance to win it late on when his effort was cleared off the line following a goalmouth scramble, but in the end the hosts were held to a point against a resilient and drilled Maidenhead side.
1. Tom Lovelock
2. Rob Girdlestone
3. Michael Toner
4. Mark Hughes (C)
5. Mark Haines
6. Marvin Ekpiteta
7. Lee Sawyer
8. Joe Ward
9. Jack Bridge
10. Michael Cheek
11. Evans Kouassi
12. Mason Spence
14. Rohdell Gordon
15. Kabongo Tshimanga (On for Lee Sawyer, 70)
16. Leon Redwood (On for Evans Kouassi, 81)
19. Niklas Freund
1. Ashley Timms
2. Leon Solomon
3. Harry Pritchard
4. David Hunt
5. De’Reece Vanderhyde
6. Simon Downer
7. Danny Green
8. Adrian Clifton (C)
9. Jacob Erskine
10. Tyrell Miller-Rodney
11. Dave Tarpey
12. Charlie Strutton (On for Jacob Erskine, 84)
14. Sam Barratt
15. Stephen Browne (On for Dave Tarpey, 88)
16. Eddie Hutchinson (On for Danny Green, 90+3)
19. Elvijis Putnins
Referee: Mr Wayne Porter (Bourne)
Assistant referees: Mr Daniel Hanna and Mr Hallam Cutmore
Bookings: Chelmsford City: Lee Sawyer (33, foul), Mark Hughes (41, foul)
Maidenhead United: Leon Solomon (74, foul)
Scorers: Chelmsford City: Joe Ward (84)
Maidenhead United: Jacob Erskine (60)
HT Score: 0-0
City Man of the Match: Joe Ward