Daggers draw in fiery friendly
The Daggers travelled to The Bridge, just a day after facing the young Hammers at home, to play The Urchins. The game got underway in overcast conditions contrary to the beautiful sunset on Friday, but The Daggers started on top. Their first real chance came just under five minutes in as Reece Grant couldn’t get a clean finish off with the keeper tipping the effort on to the post. A player who started the game the night before Andrew Eleftheriou was still fit and raring to go, getting back with a good burst of pace to cut an inviting ball out for a corner. However one player who looked rusty early on despite not playing against The Hammers was Strizovic; but after giving the ball away he made a solid save.
Approaching the twenty minute mark Strizovic’s opposite number was picking the ball out the net, after a beautiful ball in from Eleftheriou, Luque rose high and netted with a bullet header.
The Daggers continued to assert their dominance winning consecutive corners with the first seeing Croll set it back to McQueen whose effort on the volley was blocked. So Eleftheriou was having a stormer and named trialist Jethro Hanson was showing his worth though the same couldn’t be said for fellow trialist Sullivan. Another who had had a disappointing first 40 minutes was Josh Strizovic who came to gather the ball on the edge of the box, spilled it, but got back to hold on to the second attempt.
Just before the break Alex McQueen, who was also on his game, put in a stellar ball from a set piece, which captain Clark won, but Grant couldn’t win the ball while challenging the keeper.
Reece Grant’s temperament was questionable in the first half as he grew increasingly frustrated with Honchurch’s late challenges and the Linesman’s decisions. There were also heated exchanges from numerous players going into the changing rooms at half time in what was a fiery friendly. It was an unchanged away side that started the second half but not quite in the same fashion as the first; although Luque had the first chance it was poor as he dragged his shot wide.
Strizovic was called into action moments later and he made no mistake this time denying the opposition forward from long range. However, the 19 year old was rounded moments later as Dickson equalised but the blame had to be put elsewhere for this one - it was too easy for the hosts to get through the defence.
Approaching the 70 minute mark in a bid to regain the lead Luque found Quigley at the far post but the former Raven couldn’t latch onto it. Dagenham were not showing the same energy or tempo in the second half something that was highlighted by Will Wood who has entered the field of play alongside Wright and Dobson. Peter Taylor also expressed his concern soon after, he did so travelling from the stands to the touchline as his side were level against inferior opposition.
The tension soon boiled over with late tackles from Urchins and Daggers alike with Dobson, Odametey and Eleftheriou victims of these dangerous tackles. It was at this point where it looked like the referee had lost control as Harold retaliated after he was effectively hacked down - sparking a scene of shoving and shouting. The outcome was a yellow card to Odametey as young Gordon tried to calm things down. The Urchins continued to play with plenty of aggression as Strizovic received treatment after a forward left his mark (stud marks at that) on The Daggers man whilst competing for the ball.
The frustration Grant felt in the first half and did at eighty minutes was beginning to spread throughout the side as misplaced passes prompted Peter Taylor to exclaim his thoughts.
In the latter stages the home side looked likely to defeat The Daggers as Strizovic pulled off a miraculous save to deny goalscorer Dickson a second - tipping it round the post. However, moments later The Urchins were ahead as they saw Saunders’ corner turned in by a Dagenham defender (OG still not claimed). All the Daggers players just stood there in disbelief as they saw The Urchins go off to celebrate, because as previously mentioned the way this game had gone it felt more of a league game than a friendly. Therefore although there were just moments to spare Dagenham weren’t conceding defeat and seconds later they had snatched an equaliser on the whistle, with Grant getting on the scoresheet for the second time in three games.
So - that is pre season over and in six days our first National League game will get underway at home to newly promoted Woking. As Jody Brown mentioned they have a week to address mistakes made at The Bridge before commencing a promotion push.
Thanks for reading,
Keane COYD 💙❤️⚔️