Stub­born Mag­pies cling on

The Non-League Football Paper - - VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE - By Graeme Copas

BOSS John Still was left sat­is­fied with a point af­ter Da­gen­ham & Red­bridge dom­i­nated the sec­ond half against hosts Maiden­head United – even though they could not find a way through to snatch all three points.

The Daggers were off the pace in the first half against a con­fi­dent Mag­pies side un­beaten in their last four matches and with the con­di­tions in their favour.

Moses Em­manuel and Sam Bar­ratt were lively in and around the penalty area while Bar­ratt’s long wind-as­sisted throw-ins were a pow­er­ful weapon for the hosts.

It was from a Bar­ratt mis­sile that full-back Remy Cler­ima man­aged to glance a header inside the far post on 39 min­utes – his first ever goal for the club.

The Daggers came out for the sec­ond half on the front foot and de­servedly lev­elled on 55 min­utes when Michael Cheek fired into an empty af­ter Mag­pies keeper Carl Pent­ney came for a ball at the top of his area but lost out to Mor­gan Fer­rier who set up Cheek.

Still said: “I’m not dis­ap­pointed with a point, al­though they scored with prob­a­bly their only ef­fort which was a de­flec­tion. The sec­ond half I thought we had the as­cen­dancy, got the goal and it was a case of ‘can we get the other one’.

“But we be­came vic­tims of our own su­pe­ri­or­ity as they were de­fend­ing so deep there wasn’t a lot of space.”

In­deed, Still’s side were the more likely to add to the score­line af­ter Cheek’s lev­eller, al­though the hosts had ap­peals for penal­ties waved away.

Sub­sti­tute Fe­jiri Oken­abirhie was al­most the hero for the Daggers in the fi­nal minute but his shot nar­rowly missed the upright and the de­spair­ing lunge of Ma­son Bloom­field.

Mag­pies boss Alan Devon­shire was more down­beat but pleased his side did not fold in the sec­ond pe­riod.

“I’m sat­is­fied with a point with all the in­juries we’ve got,” he added.

“I felt we could have gone in at half-time two-up, but the sec­ond half was not too good al­though our keeper’s not ac­tu­ally had a save to make.

“It was dif­fi­cult to de­fend against the wind and we couldn’t get up the pitch like we wanted to.

“But we had our two strik­ers out and hope­fully when we play Da­gen­ham again we’ll have them fit.”


THE CHEEK OF IT! Michael Cheek slots home Da­gen­ham’s equaliser af­ter Remy Cler­ima, sec­ond left, is con­grat­u­lated for scor­ing his first-ever goal for Maiden­head, in­set

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