Daggers up and running thanks to Balanta strike

Dagenham & Redbridge 1-0 Wealdstone

Dagenham & Redbridge got their Vanarama National League show on the road at the third attempt as Angelo Balanta’s second-half strike proved sufficient to see off a dogged Wealdstone side ay the Chigwell Construction Stadium.

It was already a pressure situation for Daryl McMahon’s men following back-to-back defeats at the hands of FC Halifax Town and Barnet.

Perhaps with that in mind, unsurprisingly the opening period consisted of very little quality and few genuine opportunities. Wealdstone’s Jerome Okimo was a whisker away following a short corner routine. Balanta lobbed onto the roof of the rigging, then tested Stones stopper Harry Isted as the Daggers swiftly responded.

Andrew Eleftheriou and Balanta saw efforts comfortably claimed by Isted as the home side began to assert themselves on the contest. But exchanges were frantic and scrappy as both grappled for a firm foothold.

Myles Weston’s low drive was deflected behind, while Mitch Brundle’s strike was too high as Dagenham finished the half slightly the stronger.

The second-half offered much of the same, although initially, the visitors – roundly resolute – saw a little more of the ball, without providing a viable threat.

Paul McCallum nodded over following a sweeping move down the left involving Weston and Elliott Johnson. But with their next foray forward the home side snatched the lead.

Balanta picked up the pieces before neatly dispatching beyond the fully extended Isted. On the balance of chances, it was a lead the Daggers just about deserved – Although at this stage neither side looked particularly good value in what had been an otherwise timid encounter.

Mitch Brundle fired directly at Isted as the home side looked to double their money late in the game. Meanwhile, Daggers keeper, Elliot Justham brilliantly saved from Ross Lafayette in the final seconds – Jerome Slew sending the follow-up high over the top as Wealdstone pressed desperately for a share of the spoils

Dagenham & Redbridge return to Vanarama National League action on Tuesday, October 13 when they face Woking at the Kingfield Stadium (7:45pm).

Dagenham & Redbridge: Elliot Justham, Callum Reynolds (William Wright 46’), Elliott Johnson, Kenny Clark (Capt), Mitch Brundle, Paul McCallum (Adam Clifton 86’), Angelo Balanta, Myles Weston (Sam Deering 79’), Andrew Eleftheriou, Kai Brown, Charlee Adams Subs not used: Joshua Strizovic (GK), Darren McQueen

Booked: Charlee Adams (foul), Mitch Brundle (foul)
Goals: Angelo Balanta 65’

Wealdstone: Harry Isted, Michee Efete, Jerome Okimo, Michael Phillips, Connor Smith, Daniel Green, Dennon Lewis, Kundai Benyu (Alex Dyer 69’), Jacob Mendy, Moses Emmanuel (Ross Lafayette 71’), Charlie Wakefield (Jerome Slew 66’) Subs not used: Connor Stevens, Daniel Parish

Booked: Connor Smith (foul), Jacob Mendy (foul)
Goals: None

Referee: Elliott Swallow
Assistants: Andrew Gray and Ayrton Hursey
Fourth Official: Neil Bailey

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]