- Nicole Cho-Yee
MATCH REPORT | Wealdstone 1-0 Dagenham & Redbridge
Updated: Feb 6
Wealdstone produced a resolute performance to beat fellow playoff chasers Dagenham & Redbridge at Grosvenor Vale this afternoon.
An early goal from Ashley Charles proved to be decisive in the clash of the promotion chasers, as the Stones triumphed to secure a crucial three points.
Stuart Maynard made three changes to the side that drew with Yeovil Town midweek, as Olufela Olomola, Max Kretzschmar and Charles returned to the starting line-up, while new signing Tarrelle Whittaker from Swansea City was named to the bench.
Wealdstone got off to the perfect start, scoring in just the fifth minute of the match when new signing Brooklyn Ilunga slalomed into the box, before teeing up Charles to coolly fire into the bottom corner and notch his first goal of the season.
The Stones nearly doubled their lead five minutes later when top goal scorer Olufela Olomola’s fierce strike from the left-hand side whistled just wide of Elliot Justham’s far post.
Maynard’s side’s ascendancy continued and they were close to extending their advantage again on the quarter of an hour mark when Jack Cook surged forward with a mazy run and struck a powerful effort from the edge of the box, but Justham produced a smart save to deny the skipper.
Three minutes later, Olomola was presented with a big opportunity to score the Stones’ second; however Emmanuel Onaraise reacted with a vital block to thwart Wealdstone’s number nine.
As the half progressed, the Daggers began to find their rhythm and edge back into the contest, nearly drawing level in the 26thminute when the ball fell to Mohammed Sagaf, but Sam Howes produced an excellent save to deny the visitors.
Dagenham & Redbridge continued to display fluid attacking play as the first half drew to a close and they were close to equalising before the interval when their talisman Junior Morias fired into the side netting from close range.
The Daggers started the second half in the same vein and were close to scoring within three minutes of the restart when Morias skipped inside and fired on target, but Howes responded with a solid save to preserve the score line.
Danger-man Morias was agonisingly close to scoring again in the 59th minute when he struck a sweet volley which rebounded off of the crossbar.
A moment later, substitute Omar Mussa nearly turned super-sub as he unleashed a venomous strike which had to be expertly saved by Howes.
Howes was also on hand to save the Stones’ blushes in the 63rdminute when Sam Ling’s effort was heading goal-bound.
The visitors were relentless in their pursuit of an equaliser, generating waves of pressure as they rallied to salvage a late point.
Two minutes from the stroke of regulation time, Mussa let rip another thunderbolt of a strike which stung the palms of Howes, but Stones’ shot-stopper duly gathered.
Myles Weston’s injury time effort looked like it might ensure the spoils were shared, however heroic Howes gathered to secure his eighth clean sheet of the campaign.
Wealdstone return to action next Saturday when they travel to the Racecourse Ground to face Wrexham in a 3pm kick off.
WEALDSTONE: Howes, Cook (c), Barker, Freckleton, Ilunga, Charles, Dyer, Kretzschmar (Whittaker 88), Obiero, Olomola (Ferguson 68), Andrews (Allarakhia 68).
Subs not used: Barrett, Hutchinson.
Attendance: 1,634 (including 155 Dagenham & Redbridge supporters)
Report by Nicole Cho-Yee