Wealdstone 1-3 Dagenham & Redbridge
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Monday night saw the return of former Wealdstone player Graeme Montgomery to the St George’s stadium, whose appearance and performance in the second half would have made the watching Stones fans wish he was still wearing the Wealdstone blue and not the red and blue of Dag & Red.
His appearance came at half time, after an edgy first half which Dag & Red just shaded with two close range strikes. However this might have been different, had a curling shot from the lively Stones wide man Danny Spendlove found the bottom corner in the first minute, instead just falling the wrong side of the far post after good work on the left. Spendlove was giving opposition right back Abu Ogogo all sorts of problems but unfortunately it was to no avail. The watching crowd had to wait until the 34th minute for the first big chance, and unfortunately for the locals, it fell to opposition striker Tomlin, who opened the scoring with a low header into the far corner of the net after a good cross in from the left. This seemed to shock the Stones after an uneventful and even first half hour, and a further goal came just after 40 minutes when Tomlin once again found himself with the goal at his mercy, putting in the rebound after his initial shot was saved well by Mcweeney.
It was 2-0 at the interval, after a half that lacked chances but saw a lot of effort from both teams, with just that extra bit of class and clinical finishing separating the two. The second half saw the visitors make ten changes, with left winger Montgomery coming on for the Daggers, returning to the club which he left in 2009. The next goal came five minutes into the half, and once again it was the visitors who found the back of the net. Half time substitute Josh Scott turning in the rebound after a powerfully struck effort from Montgomery bounced unfortunately off the keepers shoulder. The response from the Stones was quick, a great cross in from the left wing from impressive full-back Lee Chappell found new signing Scott Fitzgerald at the back post; however the visitors keeper made a good save to divert the ball wide and keep the score at 3-0. Montgomery was looking lively for the visitors, using his left foot to good effect and putting in some dangerous crosses which the Wealdstone defence did well to deal with, as well as hitting the bar later on. A mainly unexciting second period suddenly came alive in the last ten minutes, when in the 80th minute, Daggers striker Josh Scott attempted an acrobatic overhead kick which to the homes fans’ relief hit the post and went wide. A freak incident moments later nearly resulted in a goal for the Stones, Osbourne’s spinning miss hit catching the Daggers keeper out, but unfortunately the shot just missed the goal.
The Stones were putting some nice moves together and were showing a lot of commitment in the tackle throughout the half, but lacked that final ball to penetrate the Dag & Red defence. However in the 85th minute this changed, as another good cross from Chappell was converted by half time sub Greg Ngoyi from inside the six yard box. After a match where few chances were created by the home side, Ngoyi’s good finish ended the match on a positive note for Wealdstone.
With the match finishing 3-1 to Dag & Red, the Daggers certainly provided a high level of opposition and a good work out for the home team, who will be now looking forward to Wednesday night’s friendly with Championship outfit Watford.
Wealdstone: Mcweeney (Petchanger 74), Togwell (Clark 62), Chappell, Parker (Cronin 80), Massey, Ashe (Ngoyi 62), Smith (Brooks 35), O’leary, E’beyer, Fitzgerald (Ojukwu 74), Spendlove (Osbourne 66)
Dag & Red – First Half: Lewington, Ogogo, Mcrory, Lewis, Doe, Arber, Green, Vincelot, Benson, Tomlin, Cain
Dag & Red – Second Half: Lewington, Wilkinson, Antwi, Sie, Gwillam, Ming, Currie, Bingham, Montgomery, Nurse, Scott
Goals: Wealdstone; Ngoyi (84). Dag & Red; Tomlin (34, 42), Scott (50).
By Dan Goldstone