Bird swoops in to seal it for Daggers

Brian Jeeves
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Dagenham & Redbridge v Scunthorpe United – Vanarama National League – Chigwell Construction Stadium – Report

Dagenham & Redbridge 2-1 Scunthorpe United

By Dave Bishop

Former MK Dons striker Jay Bird made an electrifying start to his Dagenham & Redbridge career as he came off the bench for his Daggers debut with a quarter of an hour left to play to inspire his new club to a dramatic 2-1 victory over struggling Scunthorpe United.

Bird, who was released by MK Dons at the end of last season and had only signed earlier in the day as a non-contract player, netted the winner five minutes from time to lead Daggers to their fourth win in consecutive matches, up into ninth place in the table and only one point off a play-off place.         

Daryl McMahon brought in Omar Russa to replace Dean Rance as the only change from the side that defeated Solihull Moors 3-0, whilst Scunthorpe made two changes from the team that lost 2-0 to Maidstone United last week with Marcus Carver and Dan Gallimore coming into the team to replace Joe Nuthall and Jai Rowe.

The Iron had the best of the opening exchanges but it was Daggers, against the run of play, who took the lead in the fourteenth minute when Harry Phipps glanced home Myles Weston’s pinpoint cross.

Scunthorpe were unphased by going behind and following persistent pressure and several half chances, captain Andrew Boyce deservedly drew them level just seven minutes later when he volleyed past Elliott Justham from Tom Pugh’s cross.

Shortly after, Justham pulled off a fine save with his feet following Caolan Lavery’s low drive and just before half-time referee Jacob Miles denied Dagenham a penalty after Josh Walker was upended in the box.

Ten minutes after the break, Matt Robinson’s cross found Manny Onariase at the far post, only for his header to be pushed behind for a corner by Iron keeper Marcus Dewhurst.

With Scunthorpe hanging on and the game looking to be heading for a draw, McMahon brought Bird on in place of Mussa and the substitution proved to be a masterstroke as the new man swooped to poke home yet another fine Weston cross to put Dagenham 2-1 up and then just minutes later, he was most unfortunate not to score again as the ball fell to him on the edge of the box only for his shot to cannon off the top right corner of the crossbar.

Daggers almost made it 3-1 with seconds remaining when Walker’s low drive rebounded off the left-hand post but by then the points were already in the bag and they will no doubt now be looking forward with confidence to taking their winning momentum into next Saturday’s home FA Cup Second Round match v League Two strugglers Gillingham.

Dagenham & Redbridge: Justham, Weston, Hare, Mussa (Bird (75‘) Phipps, Onariase, Taylor, Robinson, Sagaf, Walker, Morias Subs not used: Johnson, Saunders, Janneh, Zouma

Scunthorpe United: Dewhurst, O’Malley, Boyce, Taft, Carver, Beestin, Lavery (Daniel 87’) Butterfield, Apter, Gallimore (Wilson 89’) Pugh.  Subs not used: Rowe, Young, Foster

Referee: Jacob Miles

Assistants: Valentine Anekwe and Jack Fagg

Fourth Official: Craig Barnett

Attendance: 1,579                   

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk