Laithwaite Independent Financial Advisers
12:15pm - SaturdaySat 29th AprilApr 2017
The Chigwell Construction Stadium

Dag & Red
Dagenham & Redbridge
1 - 1

Woking
Woking

Cards' fate to be decided on final day

Brian Caffarey
10:06am, Wed 26th Apr 2017
Dagenham and Redbridge v Woking
Vanarama National League
12.15pm on Saturday 29 April 2017

Well, Garry Hill said ages ago that he thought that the fight against relegation would go till the last game of the season, and so it has proved. The Cards are in a better position than many feared a few weeks ago but they still need a point from this trip to Garry’s former club on Saturday to secure their safety – or hope that at least one of York City, Guiseley or Torquay lose or draw. Conversely, Woking would be relegated on goal difference if they were to lose at Dagenham and all three of these clubs, all of whom are playing at home, were to win. So, a nerve-wracking final day is in prospect. Make the trip if you can to cheer on the Cards! And don’t forget that it is a 12.15pm kick-off.

WOKING

It’s testimony to the improved form which Garry Hill’s side have shown in recent months that they go into the final game of the campaign in as high a position in the table, 18th, as they have been all season. But, even with 52 points on board, they are not safe. While, obviously, a win against York City last Saturday would have allayed all worries, the 1-1 draw at least meant that the Cards’ fate rests in their hands and ensured that the Minstermen, like Torquay and Guiseley, have to win their final fixture to have any chance of overtaking Woking.

The relevant bit of the table looks like this:

Chester (52 points) (GD: -6)
Woking (52 points) (GD: -14)
Torquay United (50 points) (GD: -9)
Guiseley (50 points) (GD: - 17)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
York City (49 points) (GD: -15)
Braintree Town (48 points) (GD: -23)

Chester are safe, in practice, since even if, on a worst case scenario, all the teams below them were to win and they were to lose, their goal difference is far superior to York City’s, who would be level on points with them.

The final fixtures are:

Chester v Boreham Wood
Dagenham and Redbridge v Woking
Torquay v North Ferriby United
Guiseley v Solihull Moors
York City v Forest Green Rovers
Aldershot Town v Braintree Town

Torquay’s and Guiseley’s home games both look very winnable, and one wouldn’t like to bet against York City beating Forest Green Rovers, who have already secured their play-off place. So, it’s perfectly possible that Woking will need to get a point at Dagenham. The only realistic approach for Garry Hill and his players is to target a win.

DAGENHAM AND REDBRIDGE

It’s no great surprise to find that the highly-experienced, canny John Still has led the Daggers to a play-off place, following their relegation from League 2 at the end of last season. He has built a side with a mix of tried and tested players, several of whom have played previously for him at Luton Town, and well-judged captures from lower non-League clubs. They sit in 4th place with 83 points, two points behind Forest Green Rovers. There is an incentive for them to attain 3rd place since this would give them home advantage in the second leg against Rovers in the play-offs.

Woking may possibly take some comfort that the Daggers’ home record is less impressive than their away record. On their travels, John Still’s side have racked up 14 wins, more than any other side, but their home record reads: 12 wins, 4 draws and 6 defeats. Those losses have come against Boreham Wood, Gateshead, Barrow, Torquay, Guiseley and Maidstone. But the Daggers have been on a good run recently, winning five and drawing one of their last seven games, with the only defeat coming away at champions Lincoln City.

Up front, Woking will have to be wary of the immensely experienced Paul Benson, brought back to Victoria Road last summer and who has scored in each of the Daggers’ last three games; pacy winger Corey Whiteley, signed from Enfield Town last summer and who has bagged 16 goals; and Fejiri Okenabirhie, signed from Harrow Borough and previously with Stevenage. Top scorer, Oliver Hawkins, with 19 goals, has been injured and has missed the last few games. A recent addition is Elliot Romain, who had scored 20 goals for Eastbourne Borough.

At the back, Still can call on Scott Doe, re-signed, along with Luke Howell, in the summer after a season at Boreham Wood. Other defenders include Joe Widdowson, signed from Bury in January after a loan spell; Curtley Williams, another ex-Luton signing; Craig Robson, signed from Bognor Regis Town; the Donnellan brothers, Shaun and Leo; and Josh Staunton, a summer signing from Charlton Athletic. Elliot Justham is the regular keeper but Still gave a run-out to Mark Cousins in their last game, at Wrexham.

The Daggers’ midfield contingent includes Andre Boucaud, who has played for a number of League and non-League clubs; Luke Howell; Matt Robinson, another recruit from Luton who also had a spell on loan with Woking last season and who has recently returned after breaking his leg; 35-year-old Luke Guttridge, signed from Luton in January; Jordan Maguire-Drew, a winger on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion; and Frankie Raymond, recruited from Eastbourne Borough in 2014.

GETTING THERE

Dagenham and Redbridge FC
Chigwell Construction Stadium
Victoria Road
Dagenham
RM10 7XL

Website: www.daggers.co.uk

By coach

The Cards Trust coach leaves Kingfield at 10.00am. The cost is only £10 for Cards Trust Members, £20 for non-Members, and £10/£5 for Under 16s. Phone the Club Shop on 01483 772470 or email shop@wokingfc.co.uk to reserve your place, or email Alan Barnes on a.barn1572@btinternet.com . Please book as early as possible, so that appropriate provision can be made.

By car

Take the M25 eastbound and head for the Dartford Tunnel crossing. Follow signs for A13 to Dagenham/ Central London. Proceed along this road and take the turn-off signposted Elm Park & Dagenham East and turn right at the roundabout at the bottom of the slip road. Proceed to the set of lights and turn left onto a dual carriageway. 

After about half a mile you will see a McDonalds on your right. Get into the right-hand filter lane and turn right onto the A1112 Ballards Road. The speed limit is 30 mph and there is a speed camera on your left. At the Bull roundabout bear left and go past Dagenham East Tube Station. Victoria Road is the fifth turning on the left.

There is no parking at the ground but there is parking in local streets, subject to parking restrictions.

By train

Take the train to Waterloo and then go on the Jubilee Line to West Ham. Switch onto the District Line and alight at Dagenham East. On leaving the station turn left and the ground is the fifth turning on the left, about 400 metres from the station. 

An alternative, if more convenient, is to take the train from Liverpool Street to Romford. When leaving Romford station turn left where the 103 bus (towards Rainham Station) will stop at the nearest bus stop. The bus stops outside the ground.

ADMISSION PRICES

Traditional Builders Stand 

Adult - £21.00 
Concession - £15.00 
Junior (10-16 year olds) - £12.00 
Under 10 – Free if purchased in advance with an adult ticket (one free per paying adult). Otherwise, £10 on the day.

LAST TIME OUT

Woking 1 Dagenham and Redbridge 3
Vanarama National League
20 August 2016

In their fifth game of the season and with only a point to show to date, the Cards suffered their third straight defeat at home. The Daggers raced into a 3-0 lead with only 20 minutes gone and, although a spirited Woking side pulled a goal back shortly after half-time, the mountain was too high to climb.

Craig Robson opened the scoring for Dagenham in the 11th minute with a deft header, and the lead was doubled six minutes later when Jordan Maguire-Drew hit a superb ‘curler’. Ben Gordon then brought down Maguire-Drew. Although Michael Poke saved Fejiri Okenabirhe’s spot kick, he was able to put away the rebound.

Anthony Edgar did well, in the 47th minute, to make space for himself in the Daggers’ box and beat the keeper with a low drive.

Woking: Michael Poke; Jake Caprice, Joey Jones, Brian Saah, Ben Gordon (Fabio Saraiva 45); Charlie Carter (Zak Ansah 81), Keiran Murtagh, Anthony Edgar, Nathan Ralph; Charlie Penny, Max Kretzschmar (Gozie Ugwu 73)

Unused subs: Brandon Hall, Dennon Lewis

Goals: Edgar (47)

Dagenham & Redbridge: Elliot Justham; Joe Widdowson, Craig Robson, Scott Doe, Curtley Williams; Matt Robinson, Paul Benson, Jordan Maguire-Drew (Corey Whitely 72); Andre Boucaud, Luke Guttridge (Josh Staunton 78), Fejiri Okenabirhe

Unused subs: Mark Cousins, Frankie Raymond, Christian Assombalonga

Goals: Robson (11), Maguire-Drew (17), Okenabirhe (19)

Attendance: 1153

COMING UP

Don’t forget that the Cards play Merstham in the Final of the Surrey Senior Cup at 7.45pm on Wednesday 3 May at the Laithwaite Community Stadium.


The Cards are staying up

Brian Caffarey
6:23pm, Sat 29th Apr 2017
Dagenham and Redbridge 1 Woking 1
Vanarama National League
29 April 2017

“The Cards are staying up� and “Four more years for Garry Hill� were the cries from exultant Woking fans at the end of this encounter – and they had the added satisfaction of seeing their side escape relegation by dint of the team’s own efforts as they gained the point they needed to stave off the drop. As it turned out, York’s and Guiseley’s failure to win their games would have saved Woking’s bacon anyway, but that was hardly something that could have been relied upon. It was not quite as nerve-wracking an afternoon as it might have been. News that York had conceded an early goal was quickly followed by the Cards taking the lead through a Max Kretzschmar free-kick. But nerves were tested towards the end when the Daggers equalised in the 83rd minute through Scott Heard. However, Woking saw out the game to set the scene for raucous celebrations as Garry Hill went into the Woking crowd, shaking hands all round.

On a bright but cloudy afternoon the Cards lined up with only one change from the side which started the draw against York City last weekend: Kretzschmar replacing Connor Hall. The Daggers, with their play-off place already secure, made a number of changes, which probably helped the Cards gain a good measure of control for much of the game.

After an uneventful opening five minutes the Cards mounted the first serious attack when Jake Caprice, providing his usual attacking outlet down the right flank, got in a good cross, but Gozie Ugwu was penalised as he rose highest.

Another uneventful spell followed before Delano Sam-Yorke, who proved a handful all afternoon with his strong, aggressive running, was fouled out left, about ten yards from the area. Kretzschmar’s free-kick flew over the wall and ended up in the bottom far corner, with keeper Mark Cousins barely moving. There was a suspicion of a deflection but, if there was, it was not very evident.

The Cards continued to look the more threatening side: it wasn’t till the 16th minute that the Daggers managed a shot, albeit weak, on goal. Before then Sam-Yorke and Caprice had combined well down the right and Ugwu outjumped the home defence only to see the ball run on to the keeper before he could capitalise.

Woking’s midfield successfully hassled and harried, preventing the Daggers from putting many moves together, and the central three defenders almost invariably won the ball in the air and swept up anything loose. A Fejiri Okenabirhie charge into the box threatened before sheer numbers crowded him out.

In the 27th minute Caprice and Ugwu worked a nice opening down the right. The latter’s cross was cleared out to Caprice, with his volley flying high and very wide.

There was a scare for the Cards in the 34th minute when Kane Ferdinand was robbed just outside the box. The ball was played through to Luke Howell, who shot narrowly wide. Two minutes later Sam-Yorke went even closer for Garry Hill’s side. A superb whipped cross from Joey Jones, enjoying another excellent game, was met with a fine, flicked header which brushed the roof of the goal.

Keiran Murtagh, as imperious as ever, dallied too long in central midfield in the 35th minute. The ball was chipped into the path of Jake Howells running into the left of the area. He and Michael Poke converged, with the keeper’s presence being enough to force an air shot from Howell, with the ball running away harmlessly for a goal kick.

The Cards ended the first half on the front foot. Terell Thomas’s downward header from a corner was deflected away, with two more corners following in the added extra minute.

Half-time: Dagenham and Redbridge 0 Woking 1

John Still must have given his players instructions to up the tempo for they made a fast start to the second half. A clever reverse free-kick almost opened up the Cards’ defence. More pressure followed as Thomas shanked the ball away for a corner, quickly followed by another.

But the tide turned in the 52nd minute with a characteristically barnstorming run by Sam-Yorke to win a corner. Although the corner was cleared, Sam-Yorke then closed down a defender, only to be denied a blatant foul on the edge of the box. Woking’s offensive continued as Jones showed a clean pair of heels down the right but his cut-back failed to reach a team-mate.

But just as Woking seemed to be firmly in the ascendancy the Daggers created an opportunity from which they ought to have equalised. A cross looped in over Thomas. Elliot Romain, perhaps taken by surprise, headed over from a few yards out much to the relief of the away contingent.

Having survived this “let off�, Woking resumed overall control, keeping possession well as they tried to create a decisive opening and quickly snuffing out any Daggers’ attacking moves.

No doubt partly in recognition of this – but also with the play-offs in mind – John Still made a triple substitution, which included the arrival of the highly experienced striker, Paul Benson. But the changes did not seem to significantly affect the balance of the game. If anything, the Cards benefited from the departure of Luke Guttridge, who had provided a fulcrum in midfield for the home side.

Another Caprice sortie produced a corner, from which Thomas headed down, with Cousins doing well to scramble the ball away. It was Kretzschmar’s turn next as he shot on the turn from a Murtagh pass, but his effort had little power behind it. But his next attempt was much more threatening. Latching onto a Sam-Yorke pass, he took deliberate aim, forcing Cousins to parry the ball round the post.

With the minutes ticking down and news from elsewhere still sounding encouraging, Garry Hill brought on Fabio Saraiva for Kretzschmar in the 76th minute. Another Woking attack saw Ugwu go down too easily in the box. But the cries for a penalty seemed more than justified a moment later as the tall striker’s foray into the area was partly impeded by a defender’s hand. Play carried on as Ugwu’s shot was deflected over the bar. Woking continued to attack as Jones hit a powerful drive from distance, stinging the hands of the keeper, and then Saraiva fired over the bar.

But there was a sting in the tail for Garry Hill’s side. Brian Saah headed a cross out. It fell to substitute Scott Heard, who hit a low drive. The ball bounced in front of Poke, who was only able to help it on its way into the net.

Briefly, the nerves of Woking players and fans jangled, but panic did not ensue as the Cards managed largely successfully to keep the ball down the Dagenham end, with a certain amount of ‘going into the corners’. There was still time, though, for a ‘heart in the mouth’ moment in the last 30 seconds of added time as a free header from a Dagenham corner was scrambled away to safety before the referee blew for time, allowing the celebrations to begin.

This was another very solid performance from Garry Hill’s team. The defence won most of their battles. The midfield was combative, with the busy and under-rated Ferdinand working quietly but effectively, aided by the aggressive Kretzschmar and Murtagh’s ability to work the ball out of trouble. Caprice provided a vital attacking outlet, with the skilful Ralph also getting forward on the other flank. Sam-Yorke and Ugwu, while rarely testing the keeper, kept the Daggers’ defenders on their toes all afternoon.

Huge credit must go to Garry Hill, Steve Thompson and the players for turning things round after the Boxing Day debacle at Aldershot. Garry and Steve have used all their ‘know how’ to develop a more settled, competitive, confident side. In the process it has become clearer that the squad contains some talented players, who perhaps lacked only sufficient experience and on-field leadership to have avoided the early season difficulties, from which the Cards have had to spend the rest of the campaign recovering.

Woking fans have a great chance to show their appreciation of the management team’s and the players’ efforts when the Cards play Merstham in the Final of the Surrey Senior Cup on Wednesday evening (kick-off 7.45pm) at the Laithwaite Community Stadium.

Dagenham and Redbridge: Mark Cousins, Matt Robinson, Luke Howell, Frankie Raymond, Elliot Romain, Luke Guttridge (Paul Benson 63), Fejiri Okenabirhie (Shaun Donnellan 63), Luke Pennell, Sam Ling, Jake Howells (Scott Heard 63), Josh Staunton

Unused substitutes: Elliot Justham, Mason Bloomfield

Scorer: Scott Heard 83

Woking: Michael Poke, Jake Caprice (Dennon Lewis 90), Terell Thomas, Joey Jones, Brian Saah, Nathan Ralph, Kane Ferdinand, Keiran Murtagh, Max Kretzschmar (Fabio Saraiva 76), Delano Sam-Yorke, Gozie Ugwu (Jamie Lucas 87)

Unused substitutes: Brandon Hall, Connor Hall

Goal: Max Kretzschmar 12

My MOTM: Delano Sam-Yorke. His sheer determination, strength and aggression set the tone for the display that the Cards needed this afternoon.

Attendance: 1860 (491 from Woking)
Dagenham & Redbridge LINEUP
WOKING LINEUP
BENCH

Dagenham and Redbridge 1 - 1 Woking (Garry Hill Interview)

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