Dagenham & Redbridge 2-2 Boreham Wood
Saturday 6th March 2021, 3.00pm
Chigwell Construction Stadium, Vanarama National League

Boreham Wood had to settle for a draw despite seemingly cruising at two goals up with less than twenty minutes to go. It was former Wood star Angelo Balanta who turned what seemed like a comfortable 2-0 scoreline into a draw with a late equaliser for the Daggers.

Boreham Wood made two changes to the starting line-up from Tuesday night’s defeat at Wealdstone with now fit skipper Mark Ricketts replacing Keiran Murtagh in the midfield. And it was Shaquile Coulthirst, who made his first start since the corresponding fixture at Meadow Park in November, in place of Junior Morias.

To be fair to Dagenham and Redbridge, they did control the first half. After four minutes they had the first chance of the match when an excellent Myles Weston free kick was headed against the crossbar by Matt Robinson before Paul McCallum put the ball in the net but it was correctly ruled out because of a foul by Dagenham’s number nine. A few minutes later, Balanta volleyed over Nathan Ashmore’s goal and at fourteen minutes Dean Rance had a similar long-range shot over Ashmore’s crossbar. McCallum had a good chance to give the hosts the lead on twenty minutes but couldn’t get his shot on target.

Matt Robinson had another chance on twenty-seven minutes but his shot was straight at Ashmore. A minute later, a good approach in play from Shaq Coulthirst created a good chance for Mark Ricketts but he screwed his shot wide of Elliot Justham’s goal. On thirty-two minutes Ashmore did well to deny Angelo Balanta when he was one on one followed by another chance at forty-two minutes but was also denied by Ashmore at the near post.

A minute later Wood took the lead against the run of play. After some excellent work from Kane Smith and Gus Mafuta, a cross by the former Salford City player was tapped in on the goal line by an alert Corey Whitely who capitalised on a lack of concentration in the Dagger’s defence. The goal was enough to give Boreham Wood the lead on the brink of half time.

The second period couldn’t have started any better for the visitors. On forty-eight minutes, an excellent run from former Dagger, Whitely enabled him to put in a cross that was parried by Justham and put in by Coulthirst for his first Boreham Wood League goal. Wood looked in control at this stage against a shell shocked Daggers side and were now controlling possession and looked more like scoring than the hosts did. Seemingly from nowhere, on seventy-three minutes the Daggers were back in it. Angelo Balanta jumped well to head in against a seemingly static Wood defence to halve the deficit.

The home side were suddenly in the ascendancy, but the Boreham Wood defence seemed to be holding out well. However, it was at eighty-nine minutes when Dagenham equalised after Balanta struck a fantastic shot from the edge of the area that gave Ashmore no chance. As the referee signalled six minutes of added time, Wood were back on the front foot and had a couple of good chances to restore their lead late on. Mafuta had a free kick from a similar range to where he scored from against Yeovil but this time, he shot straight into the Dagger walls. As the referee was looking at his watch, there was an excellent approach play from Tyrone Marsh, which created a chance for Kane Smith who shot narrowly wide of the Daggers goal.

Boreham Wood were fortunate to be in front a half time but having gone 2-0 up early in the second half they would have expected to get all three points. However, it wasn’t to be and for the second time this week (alongside Connor Smith for Wealdstone), they were undone by a former player.

Dagenham & Redbridge: Justham, Johnson, Clark, Wright, Gordon, Robins, Rance, Jones (Saunder 58), Weston, McCallum (Wilson 90), Balanta.

Subs not used: Croll, Sagaf, Smith.

Boreham Wood: Ashmore, Smith, Fyfield, Pearce, Ilesamni, Whitely, Ricketts (Murtagh 87), Mafuta, Coulthirst (Morias 81), Tshimanga, Marsh.

Subs not used: Huddart, Stephens, Francis-Angol.

Man of the Match: Corey Whitely.

Match report written by Brett Lewis (Non-League Paper & Wood Army member).


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