Daggers secure FA Cup progress with victory over Hartley Wintney
PUBLISHED: 17:15 24 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:15 24 October 2020
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FA Cup: Dagenham & Redbridge 1 Hartley Wintney 0
It was a hard-fought victory for Dagenham & Redbridge that saw them have to fight until the very death – a goal from the penalty spot the difference – sending them into the first round of the FA Cup.
A Daggers side, galvanized by the return of a club legend, Abu Ogogo, and a new striker in Wilson after a misery with injuries in recent weeks – looked to do something they had failed to in three seasons.
That something, to reach the first round proper of the oldest club cup competition - the FA Cup.
Their opponents who wanted to make club history, Hartley Wintney, and reach the first round proper for more significant reasons – it would be the first time they’d done so in their existence. The Daggers, the favourites by far on paper, had the first chance with Deering’s shot blocked within two minutes.
However, the visitors also made their presence felt early on with Eshun just firing his effort wide – the Row having a relatively good start at Victoria Road after an initial scare. Although, after a quiet five minutes new signing Wilson looked to make an instant impact with a great run into the box, but Sam Deering was again denied!
Although, someone who wasn’t denied was Mitch Brundle from the penalty spot as the hosts were gifted the opportunity to take an early lead – Bird handling the ball in the area. The Daggers just getting the edge early on in an otherwise even game, which was a huge frustration for the men in orange.
But, they weren’t to let their heads drop this early on as they won a free-kick in a dangerous position following a good move – the ball just flashing wide of the target. The Daggers were content to just sit on their lead after that ‘lucky’ breakthrough with the likes of Ogogo, Deering and Brundle pinging the ball all over the Victoria Road turf – not forcing it forward.
They did though, get it forward on 25 minutes with Deering winning a corner; resulting in a Balanta header glancing over the bar. Moments later, debutant Wilson looked to get off the mark but his shot well blocked by the Row defender.
In spite of the hosts looking to gain a two-goal cushion the threat wasn’t clear at the other end by any stretch of the imagination.
It was end-to-end in the next five minutes as Elliot Justham was forced off his line to clear up a loose ball over the top before the Daggers skipper, Clark, looked to relieve the pressure at the back by scoring – that he was unable to do.
The number six then nearly in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, as troubling Kingsley Eshun nicked the ball off the Dagenham man – that keeper Justham was to come to the rescue again with the fan favourite equal to Eshun’s shot – a big save!
The Daggers, though getting opportunities and looking good going forward, there were vulnerabilities at the back which would have to be addressed at the break.
A couple of rash challenges were to close the half, Saunders going into the book although the advertising hoardings were perhaps more to blame for Drage’s injury.
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He was soon back up on his feet though, but it wasn’t long before another challenge, typical of a cup tie as Abu Ogogo was a victim of Webb’s tackle – despite initial concern he was to continue. Only for a minute though, as the sides went down the tunnel to regroup; the visitors losing but weren’t too disheartened.
The second half got underway with 45 minutes between Dagenham and the first round proper – a one goal lead to uphold. The game picked up where it left off, neither side losing their aggression, as Parker was next to enter the ref’s book – fouling Brundle. Then, moments later Saunders was so close to a second yellow after a slightly late challenge on Argent – the former replaced by McQueen as a matter of caution.
The visitors were to have the lions’ share of possession in the opening 10 minutes with shots being blocked in the Daggers box and then a free kick won by Wintney.
That set piece well-defended, mirroring Croll’s defensive skill as he held Eshun off in the box – the latter having a penalty appeal waved away.
With a slight lull in play, McMahon made an interesting change with Scott Wilson, replaced after a 65-minute debut, by Andrew Eleftheriou – the striker putting in an adequate shift.
The Daggers won a corner on 70 minutes but the best chance of the minute was to be up the other end as Hartley Wintney went on the break. Mitchell Parker was through on goal, a golden opportunity to equalise but the golden gloves of Justham was equal to it – a real saviour yet again for Dagenham as always.
A very open game, the visitors broke yet again with numbers but the low driven cross was cleared and that same man who cleared his lines nearly sealed the victory up the other end but his header was glanced wide.
It would have been seen a great victory if McMahon’s men were to hold on as it had been a hard-fought second half.
Abu Ogogo was to make way on 80 minutes after a solid debut; to be replaced by Charlee Adams who was also returning to Victoria Road for his second spell.
The away side’s momentum not going anywhere, substitute Ben Wright fired his effort just over the bar – one of many chances – the Row were getting closer.
But, it was the Daggers who so nearly secured their place in the first round draw as Darren McQueen was only denied a first Dagenham goal by a diving Williams. The keeper agonising over another missed chance from his side who were fighting to the death was beaten, but Drage cleared McQueen’s shot off the line, to keep some hope alive.
But that hope was only a very small glimpse – soon dashed – as the referee signalled the end of the tie which saw both sides fight until the end.
The Daggers, though not putting in the prettiest of performances, got the job done and are through to the first round after a 3-year wait. The keeper Elliot Justham is to be thanked for his huge performance – a fantastic keeper.
Daggers XI: Justham, Wright, Croll, Clark ©, Johnson, Ogogo, Brundle, Deering, Balanta, Saunders, Wilson.
Hartley Wintney XI: Williams, Smith, Bird, Drage, Smart ©, Webb, Nuur, Griffiths, Parker, Eshun, Argent.
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