Dagenham & Redbridge 1 Woking 1: Daggers fail to pull off Cards trick as Josh Staunton returns to haunt former club
PUBLISHED: 16:53 07 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:53 07 April 2018
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Vanarama National League: Dagenham & Redbridge 1 (Sparkes 9) Woking 1 (Staunton 47)
Dagenham & Redbridge were held to a draw by National League strugglers Woking after Josh Staunton marked his return to Victoria Road with a goal.
A wonderful free kick from Dan Sparkes early in the match gave Daggers the lead at the end of the first half.
Staunton, marking his first return to east London since leaving last summer, headed home early in the second half to ensure a share of the spoils.
Daggers boss John Still made just one change from the win at home to Maidstone United, with Mason Bloomfield replacing Michael Cheek in attack.
Two Woking players, meanwhile, were returning to their old stamping ground, with Staunton and Kane Ferdinand starting against their former club.
After a fairly even opening, Fejiri Okenabirhie won a free kick in a central position some 30 yards out in the ninth minute.
Dan Sparkes stepped up to take the spot kick and, with a sublime, curling effort, found the target via the underside of the bar to give the hosts the lead.
Okenabirhie nearly doubled the hosts’ advantage two minutes later with a lob from an acute angle, but was unable to find the net.
Bloomfield was next to try his luck for the hosts, nodding a ball from the right to the back post by Chike Kandi narrowly wide in the 14th minute.
Six minutes later, Okenabirhie tried his luck from a difficult position on the turn, but could only produce a daisy-cutter that was comfortable for Nathan Baxter in goal.
Despite Daggers’ chances, Woking nearly drew level in the 21st minute with a move instigated by Ferdinand winning the ball off Andre Boucaud.
The ball broke kindly for Cards midfielder Charlie Carter, who bore down on goal, but he dragged his subsequent effort wide from just inside the box.
The Surrey club went close again six minutes later when a vicious effort from Chez Isaac forced Mark Cousins into a good save in goal for the hosts.
The Victoria Road side nearly made the most of the let-offs when another Sparkes free kick in the 28th minute was just about diverted wide by a Woking player.
A storming run from Kandi produced the net chance five minutes later, with the forward drawing a good stop from Baxter to deny the hosts a second.
On the stroke of half time, Louie Theophanous of Woking tested Cousins from 20 yards, but the keeper was behind the effort as Daggers took their lead into the break.
However, the Cards were level just two minutes into the second half, with Staunton marking his return to Victoria Road with a goal.
A corner from the right found the head of the defender, who was able to nod past former team-mate Cousins and into the net.
From there, both teams huffed and puffed, but were able to find little in terms of end product.
Less than 60 seconds after coming as a replacement, Michael Cheek nodded a Sparkes corner at goal, but Baxter saved with ease in the 68th minute.
Three minutes later, Okenabirhie clipped the bar with an effort after cutting in from the left after a speedy run down the flank as Daggers looked to regain the lead.
With 13 minutes remaining, Sparkes slipped in Cheek, but the forward blazed his effort from 10 yards over the bar with his weaker left foot.
Daggers, though, were unable to find a winner in the time that remained, with the Essex club hoping for a better result at Guiseley on Tuesday.
Daggers (4-2-3-1): Cousins; Nunn, Robson, Pennell, Howells; Adams, Boucaud (Robinson 85); Kandi (Howell 45), Okenabirhie, Sparkes; Bloomfield (Cheek 67).
Subs: Moore (GK), N’Gala.
Woking (4-4-2): Baxter; Young, Wynter, Staunton, Ramsay; Ferdinand, Carter, Issac, Charles-Cook (Cook 73); Grego-Cox, Theophanous (Edwards 63).
Subs: Mason (GK), Jones, Saraiva.
Referee: Sam Allison.
Attendance: 1,391 (including 244 Woking fans).