Monday night saw the last of this seasons’ FA Cup First Round ties with Dagenham & Redbridge of the National League taking on Salford City of League Two at The Chigwell Construction Stadium. The home side went into the game off the back of a hard fought 2-2 draw with Chesterfield last weekend and, as a result, are well placed in the league at the moment in eighth. They have also only been beaten on home turf once this campaign, a 3-2 defeat to Altrincham which saw them concede twice late on. They are also the top scorers in the National League with 29 goals from their opening 14 league games.
The Ammies, although the league above, are in no sort of form at all. Although they beat Leeds United U23’s 5-3 last time out, they suffered a 2-1 home reverse against Exeter City last time out in the league. They currently sit 19th in League Two and a 2-0 victory at Colchester on October 2 is the only three points they have picked up on the road in the league so far. Their home form is a lot better, but that too will need to improve dramatically if they are to live up to their tag of pre-season title favourites.
First up is the home side, they have made three changes from their draw against Chesterfield nine days ago. with Sam Ling, Kenny Clark and Matt Robinson coming in for Scott Wilson, Elliott Johnson and George Saunders, who drops to the bench. Joint top goalscorer and main talisman Paul McCallum is still suspended after being sent off in the Fourth Qualifying Round win over Wealdstone.
Salford also make three changes. Veteran forward Ian Henderson has returned to the Starting XI. He replaces Brandon Thomas-Asante. Aramide Oteh and Andrew John Smith also come in for Tom Elliott and Matthew Willock.
Following an impeccably observed moment of reflection with Remembrance day approaching, the game is eventually underway.
- 2nd minute – The daggers earn a free kick around 40-yards out which is eventually cleared. Salford quickly hit them on the break and a shot by left-back Ibou Touray is blocked and Salford win the first corner of the game.
GOAL FOR SALFORD. Liam Shepherd whips in the resulting corner and defender Jordan Turnbull plants a header at Elliott Justham after just THREE MINUTES. It is straight at the goalkeeper, but the power from the header is what appears to send it over the line. 0-1.
- 14th minute – Angelo Balanta strays offside after good build-up play from Robinson and Mohammed Sagaf in the Dagenham midfield. They are putting Salford under some considerable pressure with no clear cut chances as yet to show for their performance.
- 15th minute – Midfielder Sagaf picks up the ball around 25-yards out and decides to have a go. He will be wishing he didn’t though as his effort goes miles over the crossbar.
PENALTY APPEAL! 17th minute – Sagaf screams for a Dagenham penalty but his appeals are turned away after a controversial tackle from goalscorer Turnbull. Replays appear to show he won the ball cleanly.
- 21st minute – The home side continue their pressure, and after winning three consecutive corners, Mauro Vilhete is just beaten to the ball at the front post by the Salford defender who clears, but the ball later drops to Sagaf again and he skies over from around 25-yards out.
- 29th minute – Myles Weston must be breathing a huge sigh of relief as his back pass to the keeper is too short and he accidentally plays in Oteh. Oteh has only Kenny Clark and the keeper to beat, but Clark wins the ball with an inch perfect tackle.
CHANCE! 31st minute – Liam Shepherd’s clearance for the away side hits teammate Andy Smith on the heel and the ball drops to Angelo Balanta, who tamely hits a shot straight at Connor Ripley.
- 35th minute – Callum Reynolds, who turns 32 tomorrow, skies the ball over the crossbar from 35-yards out.
CHANCE! 37th minute – Ling’s fantastic cross goes deep and ends up at Robinson. Robinson is six-yards out and his pinpoint header is tipped over the bar by Salford ‘keeper Ripley.
- 40th minute – Myles Weston does brilliantly to take on Andy Smith and he forces a great save from Ripley. Following a bit of pinball in the penalty area, the ball is eventually cleared by Salford, but it returns to Robinson, who again tests Ripley with a stinging shot.
- 44th minute – Salford ‘keeper Ripley goes down with an injury in the penalty area after a Dagenham corner resulted in the ball bouncing around before Rance looked to bundle the ball home and struck Ripley on the shin instead.
- 45th minute – TWO MINUTES OF STOPPAGE TIME WILL BE PLAYED AT THE END OF THE FIRST-HALF
- 45+2 – Salford with a half-chance at the end of the first 45. Oteh picks the ball up on the right and drills it into the penalty area and Lowe stretches but cannot get a proper connection on the ball and his chance goes over the bar.
- 47th minute – A half-chance for Salford at the start of the second period and for Aramide Oteh. Turnbull plays it square to the forward, but he blasts his shot wide.
- 52nd minute – Jordan Turnbull is infuriated by the linesman’s decision to give the home team a free-kick in a dangerous position. He was warned about his conduct in the first-half and has been warned again.
- 57th minute – More pressure from the home side and Smith goes down with an injury in the penalty area. He is soon back to his feet, and Dagenham win three corners in succession, the last of which put in by Will Wright. This was played back out to Wright for him to head back into the penalty area and, after a bit of a melee in the box, the ball comes to Sagaf whose shot is blasted over the crossbar.
- 59th minute – A strong, robust challenge from defender Clark, who is making his 100th appearance for the Daggers tonight, leaves Oteh on the deck, who is currently receiving treatment.
65th minute – YELLOW CARD!
Lund tenaciously wins the ball from Sagaf and appears to wrestle him to the ground. A small melee ensues. It all seemed a bit unnecessary and miraculously no player receives a caution. Turnbull receives a yellow card for continually arguing with the referee. As a result, the home side win the free kick 40-yards from goal.
- 70th minute – Salford are on the attack and the ball falls to substitute Conor McAleny, who skies over from just outside the penalty area.
73rd minute – YELLOW CARD!
Gambian international Ibou Touray, who has been called up for their upcoming internationals, is booked for Salford for appearing to block the taking of a Dagenham free kick in their own half.
- 74th minute – Salford catch their opponents on the break. It is three against two, but their threat is quickly nulified by Dagenham players racing back. Lund played in Henderson, who then played in Shepherd on the right, and after good footwork, wins the Ammies a corner. The resulting corner was cleared out to Touray 40-yards from goal and he lifts the ball to the head of Eastham, whose half-chance goes over the bar.
- 76th minute – A half-chance again for the away team. McAleny has a shot, which is deflected by a Dagenham player and ends up in the arms of goalkeeper Elliott Justham. Justham has played every minute of every game this season for the Daggers.
- 77th minute – A fantastic pass from Dagenham’s Will Wright ends up at Vilhete on the right around 25-yards from goal. He jinks past Shepherd, but his powerful effort is easily saved by Ripley. Ripley launches the ball forward and suddenly Henderson is one on one with Justham, but his shot is tame and ends up with Daggers ‘keeper.
85th minute – HUGE CHANCE!
Saunders wins the Daggers a corner. The resulting corner goes deep and Callum Reynolds is at the back post. His header is denied by a combination of Ripley’s thigh and the woodwork. Lund eventually clears off the line. Despite all their dominance, that was arguably the Daggers’ best chance of the game.
87th minute – HUGE CHANCE!
Saunders has looked a tricky customer since coming on. He goes left then right and takes on Shepherd and he strikes it and Ripley is forced to tip his fantastic effort over the crossbar.
- 88th minute – There is a medical emergency in the crowd.
90+4 – Play resumes as the fourth official holds up the board to confirm 10 minutes of stoppage time.
- 90+5 – Saunders is playing on the left but turns the ball onto his right foot and his tricky effort is only parried by Ripley. Dagenham piling on the pressure here with time quickly running out.
90+7 – YELLOW CARD!
Dagenham’s Kenny Clark goes into the referees book for a tough challenge on Conor McAleny. Clark has made many challenges and he can count himself lucky he didn’t go into the book sooner.
90+8 – HUGE CHANCE!
This time a chance falls for Salford as the ball is put in by Shepherd on the right and Touray finds himself alone at the back post. He has to turn on the ball but, his strike goes over the crossbar.
90+10 – FULL TIME! DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE 0-1 SALFORD
This game was also followed by the FA Cup second round draw with the Ammies being awarded for their victory with a home tie against National League Chesterfield. A pick of the ties include Northern League Premier Division side Buxton, who overcame York City in round one, awarded with a fantastic home tie against League One Morecambe. Giantkillers St Albans are away to neighbours and National League table toppers Boreham Wood and National League North Kidderminster Harriers are at home to FC Halifax Town.