Dagenham & Redbridge 1-1 Stockport County
SUBSTITUTE CHIKE KANDI struck four minutes into stoppage-time to earn Dagenham & Redbridge a share of the spoils from a scruffy, but hard-fought Vanarama National League encounter with out of sorts StockportCounty at Victoria Road.
Things have been looking up at Victoria Road of late. Daryl McMahon’s appointment has coincided with three consecutive clean sheets and a subtle climb away from the dropzone. And facing a Stockport side, floundering after no wins in four, hopes sprung eternal of continued progress.
Despite the imminent arrival of ‘Storm Ciara’ it was a bright, but crisp, afternoon on the outskirts of the capital. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Daggers looked sharper during the game’s infancy – County stopper, Ben Hinchliffe using his feet to good effect to deny Ben House, while Matt Robinson was a fraction wide as the home side pressed.
Stockport countered – this time Elliot Justham saved with his feet – Danny Lloyd the man thwarted after cutting in from the left. Meanwhile, Sam Deering fired over as the home side continued to provide slightly the greater threat.
Justham’s forehead took the full force of Lloyd’s close-range volley as chances continued to come at a premium during a keenly contested opening period.
Hinchliffe saved at the feet of House, this after Deering had fashioned an opening – then Deering blasted over. However, there was a lack of energy to the contest immediately after the break with both sides struggling for a foothold.
McMahon looked to his bench – replacing Liam Gordon and Alex Reid with new acquisition, Myles Weston, and returning from injury, Angelo Balanta.
Mitch Brundle drove at Hinchliffe after Deering had initially seized on Eddie Clark’s poor defensive header. Meanwhile, Weston’s debut lasted merely seven minutes before he limped out of the action, replaced by Kandi.
Lloyd again tested Justham, this time with a snapshot from twelve yards, while Kandi was wayward as the sides continued to probe, albeit tentatively.
But with time running out, the majority amongst the 1,500-plus crowd had by now accepted the outcome. Stockport substitute Ben Jackson was cursing his luck when his flashing strike was headed off the line. However, there was to be a late twist.
Another County replacement, Liam McAlinden, arrived at the far post to divert Jordan Keane’s centre in off the post – sending the sizable following from the North-West into raptures.
Justham brilliantly saved from Lloyd, but having waited all afternoon for a goal, like the proverbial ‘London Bus’ two came along at once. In the final minutes of stoppage time, Kandi reacted the quickest following a six-yard box melee, smashing high into the roof of the net to earn the home side a share of the spoils.
Ugly scenes ensued as a minority amongst the anxious away following became overheated. In truth, the result was about right although the Daggers must discover a cutting edge if they are to enjoy an altogether more comfortable run-in to the campaign.
Dagenham & Redbridge return to Vanarama National League action on Saturday, February 15 when they take on leaders Barrow AFC at Holker Street (3pm).
Dagenham & Redbridge: Elliot Justham, Andrew Eleftheriou, Manny Onariase, Kenny Clark (Capt), Luke Croll, Liam Gordon (Myles Weston 68’) (Chike Kandi 75’), Matthew Robinson, Mitch Brundle, Sam Deering, Ben House, Alex Reid (Angelo Balanta 68’) Subs not used: Josh Strizovic (GK), Harry Phipps
Goals: Chike Kandi 90+4’
Stockport County: Ben Hinchliffe, Danny Lloyd, Loius Maynard, Connor Dimaio (Liam McAlinden 66’), Jordan Keane, Adam Thomas, Eddie Clarke (Ben Jackson 86’), Festus Arthur, Ash Palmer (Capt), Dan Cowan, Nyal Bell (Sam Minihan 66’) Subs not used: Ian Ormson (GK), Sam Walker
Goals: Liam McAlinden 89’
Referee: David Richardson
Assistants: Jack Bloxham and Robin Cox
Fourth Official: Joseph Gray
Attendance: 1,512 (313 from Stockport)
Reaction to follow…