MATCH REPORT | Wealdstone 1-2 Dagenham & Redbridge
Updated: May 1
Wealdstone were narrowly defeated by a clinical play-off chasingDagenham & Redbridge, as the Daggers continued their recent excellent run of form to move within four points of a top seven finish.
Stuart Maynard made three changes to the line-up. Goalkeeper Sam Howes was brought in as an emergency loan from Horsham to replace the injured George Wickens, while Charlie Cooper and Charles Clayden made their returns to the starting eleven
Goals from Junior Morias and Emmanuel Onariase either side of half-time sealed another crucial three points for the Daggers, while talisman Josh Umerah pulled back a late consolatory goal for the Stones.
The visitors looked like they had taken an early lead in the ninth minute of play when Paul McCallum converted past Howes, but referee Thomas Kirk disallowed the goal for offside.
In the 23rd minute, the Daggers did break the deadlock as Matt Robinson threaded an inch-perfect pass through to Morias, who coolly slotted the ball between the legs of Howes.
Wealdstone had an opportunity to draw level three minutes later as Charles Clayden collected the ball out wide, cut inside and swerved a strike towards goal, but his effort flew just wide of the target.
Towards the latter stages of the first half, Dagenham & Redbridge nearly extended their lead when captain Will Wright won the ball and lofted a cross to McCallum at the far post, but the forward could only direct his header wide from close range.
In the 44th minute, dead-ball specialist Aaron Henry was then close to converting as his dipping free kick landed just over the bar.
Just before half time, a neat exchange of passes between Cooper and Umerah on the edge of the box saw the latter blast a shot narrowly over the crossbar.
The hosts returned from the interval with added impetus, and Morias nearly added a second as he raced through on goal, but Howes produced a fine save to thwart the forward.
A minute later, the Daggers were then denied by the crossbar as McCallum’s header rebounded off of the woodwork and was cleared for a corner.
From the resultant corner, Dagenham doubled their advantage in the 47th minute. McCallum rose highest to head Wright’s corner onto the post, with Onariase slotting home the rebound.
The Stones began to build their way back into the game, with Nathan Ferguson playing through Clayden with a clever ball, but Justham produced a solid save from the winger.
In the 72nd minute, Henry’s whipped cross found Umerah’s head,but the top goalscorer’s could only guide he header just over the crossbar.
Wealdstone’s persistence prevailed and the home side reduced the deficit on the stroke of regulation time as Umerah flicked Aaron Henry’s corner in at the near post to prompt a tense finale.
Despite five minutes additional time, the Stones were unable to equalise, as the Daggers held firm to boost their play-off hopes.
WEALDSTONE: Howes, Cook, McAvoy (Tavares 60), Okimo (c), Clayden, Henry, Cooper (Dyer 60), Ferguson, Mundle-Smith, Browne, Umerah.
Subs not used: Charles, Sesay, Mascoll.
Report by Nicole Cho-Yee