Dagenham & Redbridge 1-0 AFC Wimbledon
It’s seven games without a win now for AFC Wimbledon after they went down 1-0 to 10-man Dagenham and Redbridge at a rain-soaked Victoria Road.
Abu Ogogo’s early goal was enough to beat Neal Ardley’s men who once again demonstrated their desperate need for firepower as they squandered several excellent chances against a Daggers that had Lawson D’Ath sent off for a second yellow card 11 minutes into the second half.
Michael Smith, Luke Moore, and substitutes George Porter (twice) and Jack Midson could all have salvaged a point, but in truth the late siege from the Dons came too late.
Ardley made two changes from Sunday’s draw with Plymouth, Will Antwi and George Francomb replacing Jim Fenlon and Peter Sweeney respectively, both of whom dropped to the bench.
The host opened brightly and Rhys Murphy was just a whisker wide with a 30-yard free-kick with just four minutes on the clock.
The visitors’ response was a few meaty challenges in the middle of the park which created space for Barry Fuller on the right and his delicious cross found Smith sliding in at the far post but just unable to make contact.
However, Dagenham broke the deadlock with a super goal on 10 minutes. Three former Arsenal men did the damage, Murphy’s ball releasing Gavin Hoyte to cross for Ogogo to calmly slot home past a helpless Ross Worner from eight yards.
Francomb’s shot deflected for a corner was the Dons’ attempt at an immediate reply, Andrew Frampton heading over from the 17th minute set-piece.
Daggers though were still carrying the greater threat and when Medy Elito’s header sent Ogogo galloping down the left his cross saw a clearance canon off a home raider and away to safety.
Worner then had to pluck and Elito cross out at his near post with Dons’ defence in disarray.
Yet Ardley’s men might have levelled against the run of play on 25 minutes when Smith found room on the right side of the area and his shot beat Lewington only to be cleared off the line by Scott Doe.
Encouraged by the opening Dons forced a couple of corners in quick succession, but another setback came their way just after the half hour when the industrious Francomb limped off, meaning a return to first team duties after injury for Harry Pell.
There was a chance for an equaliser in stoppage-time when Moore was tripped by D’Ath earning the Daggers the first yellow card of the afternoon, but Pell wasted the chance, blasting the free-kick over the top.
Don’s survived a scare soon after the restart when Worner’s miskick needlessly conceded a corner which fortunately came to nothing.
Their first big chance of the half came on 53 minutes when Fuller escaped down the right and delivered another excellent cross to Luke Moore, but the veteran striker’s first touch was poor giving Lewington a chance to block the eventual shot from point-blank range.
A big lifeline came their way two minutes later when D’ Ath, already booked was given a second yellow for a lunge on Sammy Moore. The host midfielder could have little cause for complaint as it might easily have been a straight red.
A double change followed for Dons as Callum Kennedy and Charlie Sheringham gave way to Porter and Midson.
Ardley urged his men to stretch the play, by keeping the width, but Dons struggled to make the extra man count, though Daggers boss Wayne Burnett was sent to the stand as the game ticked into the final 20 minutes.
Michael Smith lashed over from 25 yards before Fuller fashioned another cross, this time from the left, but a lack of composure from Porter saw him volley well wide.
The chance they craved arrived on 82 minutes when a ball over the top found Moore in the clear, but Lewington was out quickly to block. The loose ball ran to Midson whose follow-up effort was cleared off the line and even a third effort from Porter was put behind for a corner.
Pell fired wide from long distance as we entered the final five minutes, but Daggers could have sealed it a minute later when Elito’s shot was parried behind by Worner.
Five minutes of stoppage time were signalled to give the visitors fresh heart. They forced a succession of corners, but Porter drove the last chance into the side netting to confirm their defeat.