Wimbledon 1 v Dagenham & Redbridge 0
Barry Fuller's first goal for eight years earned Wimbledon a valuable 1-0 win against Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday (15 November).
The former Gillingham man showed considerable composure to wait patiently for a bouncing ball to drop before hooking home with his left foot from close range.
It was no less than the Dons deserved for a positive start to this match, but by the end they were content to smother the game as the visitors came back into it and the home side held on for their first win in six matches.
Fuller told the club's official website afterwards: 'It seemed like the ball took an age to come down and you never know what will happen on your left foot!
'When we play at a high tempo we make it difficult for teams and we started well in the first 15 minutes.
'Then it turned into a bit of a derby battle and it got a bit aggressive near the end because they wanted to get a result.'
The Dons were out of the starting blocks in a flash, with Sean Rigg and Dannie Bulman both seeing early shots deflected narrowly wide – the latter following a fiercely struck effort from long-range – while Adebayo Akinfenwa had a header cleared off the line.
And Matt Tubbs was perhaps too conscious of his recent barren spell in front of goal as he flashed a volley over the crossbar after being put clear by Akinfenwa.
But the breakthrough came after 19 minutes as the imposing figure of Adam Barrett rose highest to head down a George Francomb corner to where Fuller waited patiently for the ball to drop.
That goal sparked the visitors into life, with Abu Ogogo blasting narrowly off target and then Ashley Chambers seeing his effort deflected wide.
But it was the Dons who went closest to scoring again before the interval, with Rigg's effort also cleared off the line.
And their forward-momentum continued at the start of the second period, with Tubbs volleying straight at keeper Mark Cousins, Fuller heading narrowly wide, and Tubbs firing just over.
With 25 minutes remaining, Dagenham introduced strikers Rhys Murphy and Jamie Cureton and the tide of the game started to change, with the visitors making numerous runs through midfield.
Dons keeper James Shea did well to bravely stand his ground and thwart Cureton on the breakaway, while Ashley Chambers shot wide from close range.
Faced with a growing threat, the Dons decided to smother the midfield, switching to 4-5-1 and playing substitute Azeez as a lone gunman up front.
Although Bulman again had a good opportunity, the Dons' tactical switch was enough to see them through to the final whistle without facing much further threat on their own goal.
The Dons entertain York City in an FA Cup 1st round replay on Tuesday 17 November before travelling to Oxford United the following Saturday.
Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Barrett, Bennett, Smith, Francomb, Sutherland, Bulman, Rigg, Tubbs (Moore 78), Akinfenwa (Azeez 78). Subs not used: Kennedy, Nicholson, Beere, Oakley, McDonnell.
Goalscorer: Fuller 19.
Booked: Fuller 89.
Dagenham & Redbridge: Cousins, Ogogo, Saah, Partridge, Batt (Obileye 92), Bingham, Howell (Cureton 65), Porter, Chambers, Hemmings, Yusuff (Murphy 65). Subs not used: O'Brien, Doe, Labadie, Green.
Booked: Hemmings 56.
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November 16, 2014