Ten-man Dagenham & Redbridge got 2014 off to a perfect start with a hard-fought victory over AFC Wimbledon at Victoria Road.
In relentless rain Daggers captain Abu Ogogo
put the home side ahead in the tenth minute, rounding off an excellent passing move to score his second goal in as many games.
Ogogo spurned a glorious opportunity to double the home side’s lead midway through the half, while at the other end the Dons had chances of their own, the best of which fell to Michael Smith who was denied by a last-ditch clearance from Scott Doe
Dagenham went down to ten-men early in the second half when Lawson D’ath picked up a second yellow for a late challenge on Sammy Moore, but the Daggers managed to see out the remainder of the match and pick up their first win in over a month.
Daggers boss Wayne Burnett made two changes to the side that earned a point against league leaders Chesterfield on Sunday. Afolabi Obafemi
and Medy Elito
replaced Sean Shields
and Zavon Hines
who served a one-match suspension for receiving five yellow cards.
The home side’s first chance came four minutes in. Former-Dagger Will Antwi conceded a 20-yard free-kick for a foul on Afolabi Obafemi
and League Two’s top scorer Rhys Murphy
stepped up but curled the set-piece just wide of the near post.
Dons striker Michael Smith was inches away from converting Barry Fuller’s inswinging cross shortly after, and the visitors were made to pay for the missed opportunity when the Daggers gained a tenth minute lead.
Murphy controlled Lawson D’ath’s long ball and produced an expert pass to find Gavin Hoyte
on the wing. The full-back squared the ball to the onrushing Ogogo who slotted it past Ross Worner from 12-yards.
The hosts almost doubled their lead in the 21st minute when Medy Elito
put Ogogo through on goal and the ex-Arsenal man looked certain to score, but instead he looked for Murphy and Wimbledon managed to clear.
made sure the Daggers led at half-time with a superb last-ditch block to stop Michael Smith’s goal-bound strike.
Neal Ardley’s Dons side continued to press in the second half and Luke Moore should have leveled when he was in acres of space only a few yards from goal but keeper Chris Lewington
did well to stop his shot nine minutes in.
A minute later the Daggers went down to ten men after Reading loanee Lawson D’ath was given a second yellow for a late challenge on Sammy Moore, while Daggers boss Wayne Burnett had to watch the final 20 minutes from the stands after an altercation with the fourth official.
With eight minutes remaining Lewington denied Luke Moore’s effort and Ogogo managed to block Jack Midson’s rebound before the ball was eventually scrambled clear by Doe.
Dons substitute George Porter fizzed a shot into the side-netting deep into injury time as the Dons fought to salvage something from the game but the Daggers held on for their 100th Football League win and their first over Wimbledon.
: Lewington, Hoyte, Doe, Saah, Connors (Ilesanmi 74), Howell, Ogogo (C), D’ath, Obafemi (Wilkinson 63), Murphy (Dickson 87), Elito.
: Seabright, Scott, Edgar, Shields.
: 2,012 (619 AFC Wimbledon)