Smith Strike Not Enough As Dons Draw

Wimbledon 1 v Dagenham & Redbridge 1

Michael Smith’s ninth goal of the season wasn’t enough to secure a win for Wimbledon as they drew a scrappy encounter 1-1 with Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday (26 November).

The flow of the match wasn’t helped by referee Steve Bratt, who incurred the ire of both sides with an idiosyncratic display of apparently random decision making.

After weathering an initial flurry of Dagenham pressure, the Dons started coming more into the game and Smith’s goal came from their first purposeful attack. Peter Sweeney received the ball in the inside-left channel and delivered a perfectly flighted cross to Smith who looped his header home past Chris Lewington to put the hosts 1-0 up.

In a game of few goalscoring opportunities, Dagenham’s pace up front meant that the Dons’ defence had to be constantly alert.  and that was especially the case when Zavon Hines picked up the ball on the halfway line and rampaged forwards into the box, going past Andy Frampton before putting in a shot that Ros Worner did well to deflect onto the angle of his goal.

In the second half Kaid Mohamed saw a snap shot through a crowded area go over after a free-kick was only partially cleared, but it was the visitors who scored next with a disappointing goal from Wimbledon’s point of view.

The Dons lost possession from a throw-in and then allowed the ball to be played infield where Luke Howell threaded a clever pass to Rhys Murphy who had slipped his marker to fire a shot home from the edge of the area and make it 1-1.

Wimbledon continued to press forwards, and Smith came close when latching onto Jack Midson’s through ball and holding off the attention of two defenders, but his shot was turned away by Lewington.

And with the moments ticking away Harry Pell saw his volley from the edge of the area bobble just wide with Lewington beaten.

Manager Neal Ardley was in reflective mood afterwards, telling the club’s official website: ‘Dagenham are a good side and have a really good attacking threat. It is hard when you are up against pace because it puts you on the back foot.

‘We were wary of that and it probably showed tonight in our commitment to going forward. We were not as fluent as we can be but the boys gave everything.’

The Dons slip to tenth in the table with this result and travel to strugglers Bristol Rovers this Saturday hoping that they can extend their recent unbeaten run to five games.

Wimbledon: Worner, Fuller, Kennedy, Pell, Frampton, Bennett, Porter, S. Moore, Smith, Mohamed (Midson 63), Sweeney (L. Moore 64). Subs not used: Fenlon, Sainte-Luce, Sheringham, Brown, Feely.

Goalscorer: Smith 28.

Booked: Kennedy 90.

Dagenham: Lewington, Hoyte, Ilesanmi, Howell, Saah, Wilkinson, Elito, Bingham (Dickson 38), Obafemi (Edgar 80), Murphy (Scott 90), Hines. Subs not used: Doe, Shields, Connors, Seabright.

Goalscorer: Murphy 58.

Attendance: 3,862

By Rob Crane

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November 27, 2013