Daggers Triumph Over Blunt Dons

Dagenham & Redbridge 1 v Wimbledon 0

Wimbledon started 2014 with a 1-0 defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge that leaves them being sucked firmly into the battle to avoid relegation from the Football League.

Now without a win since mid-November, the Dons were downed by a Dagenham side that played the majority of the second half with ten men after Lawson D’Ath picked up a second yellow card.

And manager Neal Ardley has highlighted his side’s lack of goals for their struggles, with the Dons having scored just once since these sides last met in late November. With Michael Smith’s loan period from Charlton now over and Jack Midson in poor form, the Dons look desperately short of firepower up front.

Ardley told the club’s website: ‘We dominated large spells of the match but we did not do enough to score. We have not tested their goalkeeper enough.

‘It is not happening for us at the moment. We need to work on it, but we haven’t really got enough time with the games coming thick and fast.

‘We need to keep the faith. I will keep sending the team, out positively to try and get the goals that we need to get the momentum moving the other way.’

Momentum was against the Dons in this game almost from the off as they fell behind after just 10 minutes. Rhys Murphy carved open the Dons defence with a diagonal ball to Gavin Hoyte whose pull back found Abu Ogogo on the centre spot, the striker converting to make it 1-0 to the hosts.

Wimbledon responded positively, capitalising on a home side that seemed content to play on the counterattack, with Smith seeing an effort cleared off the line by Scott Doe and George Francomb’s long-range shot deflecting just off target.

Early in the second period Luke Moore was presented with a golden chance when he was found unmarked by Barry Fuller’s cross, but the ball bobbled up and gave Dagenham keeper Craig Lewington time to adjust before blocking Moore’s subsequent shot.

D’Ath then received his marching orders following a rash foul on Sammy Moore, and Ardley responded with a double substitution as he attempted to capitalise on the numerical advantage, with George Porter and Jack Midson replacing Callum Kennedy and Charlie Sheringham.

Dagenham were defending resolutely but came close to being undone with eight minutes remaining. Smith flick from a Ross Worner long kick found Luke Moore between defenders but Lewington reacted well to charge off his line and block the effort. Both Midson’s follow-up and Porter’s follow-up to the follow-up were blocked as the Dagenham defence hung on.

And it was almost Dagenham who got the second goal as they broke at pace and fed Medy Elito whose vicious effort from the inside left channel was well turned away by Worner.

Wimbledon had one final effort to salvage a point but spurned it as Andy Frampton’s cross fell to Porter but the wideman skewed his volleyed effort horribly off target.

With Smith now back at Charlton, Ardley will be hoping that Midson can rediscover his form when the Dons travel to Wycombe on Saturday (4 January).

Dagenham: Lewington, Hoyte, Doe, Saah, Connors (Ilesanmi 73), D’Ath, Howell, Ogogo, Obafemi (Wilkinson 63), Murphy (Dickson 86), Elito. Subs not used: Scott, Edgar, Shields, Seabright.

Goalscorer: Ogogo 10.

Booked: D’Ath 45, 57, Murphy 62, Dickson 90.

Sent off: D’Ath 57.

Wimbledon: Worner, Bennett, Frampton, Antwi, Kennedy (Porter 60), Francomb (Pell 33), L. Moore, S. Moore, Fuller, Smith, Sheringham (Midson 60). Subs not used: Sweeney, Fenlon, Brown, Mohamed.

Booked: Antwi 66.

Attendance: 2,012.

By Rob Crane

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January 1, 2014