Meadow Park | Att: 635 | Vanarama National League | 08/8/17
01. Grant SMITH 02. Kane SMITH 04. Mark RICKETTS 07. Ricky SHAKES 08. Tom CHAMPION 09. Paul BENSON 10. Kieran MURTAGH 11. Bruno ANDRADE 17. Jamie TURLEY 19. Angelo BALANTA
30. Mark COUSINS 03. Luke PENNELL 05. Craig ROBSON 10. Morgan FERRIER 11. Fejiri OKENABIRHIE 15. Bondz N'GALA 17. Andre BOUCAUD 18. Kevin LOKKO 19. Sam LING 23. Michael CHEEK 25. Corey WHITELY
WHITELY STUNNER HELPS DAGGERS SEE OFF DETERMINED WOOD OUTFIT
Another game, another win. John Still has always said that local derbies are the hardest to gain victory from and so it proved as his Dagenham side overcame a late onslaught to grind out three hard-earned points against a spirited Boreham Wood side, who were slightly unfortunate to suffer a narrow 2-1 reverse at a floodlit Meadow Park.
It was an entertaining clash which saw a frantic start, with the visitors taking just two minutes to take the lead, which was swiftly cancelled out moments later with a penalty. Corey Whitely then scored what proved to be the matchwinner, still before the twenty minute mark, as he curled home a delightful free-kick from distance. Failure to kill off the contest almost cost Still's team as Wood threw everything at them late on, but they managed to hang on to maintain their 100% start to the new campaign.
Having performed brilliantly in the most part at the weekend, John Still opted for the same XI which started against Barrow. They got off to a quick start in that match, and here it took the Daggers just two minutes to race into the lead after a defensive error. A hopeful punt forwards from Kevin Lokko appeared to be comfortable for Tom Champion to deal with, however he terribly misjudged the flight of the ball and ended up heading back towards his own goal. Okenabirhie capitalised to burst through and lash a fierce effort into the bottom left-corner past Smith.
But it is a never-give-up attitude which has lent Boreham Wood so well in their rise through the leagues and they searched for redemption straight away. They went close when Ricky Shakes headed over from a curling cross. In the seventh minute, though, after Bruno Andrade tricked his way into the box and was tripped by Lokko, the referee pointed to the spot. Andrade dusted himself down and kept his composure to smash the ball straight down the middle, before celebrating infront of the visiting fans. 1-1, after a frantic opening ten minutes.
This swung the momentum in the hosts' favour and they had the better of the next few minutes. Shakes went close with a volley and, then, Murtagh's corner was met by Johnson, who saw his effort sail over the bar. Rattled, Dagenham knew they had to regain control and, slowly, they did. From a Ling throw, Pennell's powerful header was saved by a stretching Smith, before they regained the lead in their next opportunity, still slightly against the run of play. Corey Whitely has shown his ability to create chances from nothing, and his fantastic 25-yard free-kick sailed past a helpless Smith to regain the advantage.
Now it was the home side who were visibly shaken and another mistake almost gifted a third to the Daggers soon after, when a poor backpass left the keeper scrambling to get the ball, while the resulting indirect free-kick inside the box was blocked. Further chances followed as they attempted to kill the game off and both Robson and Whitely saw low efforts tipped wide. At the other end the home side searched for a second equaliser, Daggers legend Paul Benson couldn't find the target before Murtagh's cleanly-struck strike was saved by Cousins. In the last opportunity of the half Dagenham missed a glorious chance, as Okenabirhie pulled his shot wide infront of goal.
The second half was largely controlled by Wood, who put huge pressure on the Daggers, but lacked a cutting edge which would ultimately separate the sides'.Andrade ran into space out wide and crossed for Murtagh, who skewed his header harmlessly wide. They kept the pressure on, and home defender Smith saw his effort drift just over the bar. It was one-way traffic and Wood went close again through main dangerman Andrade, who was again frustrated by Cousins who fingertipped his fizzed strike wide.
A rare chance fell to Dagenham in the second-half when substitute Hawkins flicked the ball on for Robinson, who deflected the ball towards goal, only for Smith to pull off a fantastic save. Normal service resumed, though, and the home side were urged on by their supporters, with the away defence looking nervous. However, the clock was being slowly run down by Still's side and Boreham Wood only had time for one, deadly chance. Unsurprsingly, it was Andrade who went agonisingly close as his long-range strike dipped off the top of the bar, before being hurriedly hacked away by the defenders.
But finally, after a spell of injury time, the referee blew his whistle to signal another three points for the Daggers. It was very much 'a game of two halves' as the defence withstood immense pressure and rode their luck, but Still would've been delighted to see them dig deep. Next up is an away game at Eastleigh on Saturday, which will be another stern test.
NEXT UP: Away v Eastleigh, Saturday 12th August 2017 at 3pm, Silverlake Stadium, Vanarama National League