Hemmings helps Daggers pick up solid point at Cambridge United
21:54 27 January 2015
Dave Simpson/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football Leagu
Sky Bet League Two: Cambridge United 1 Dagenham & Redbridge 1
Dagenham & Redbridge were able to achieve something Manchester United couldn’t at the Abbey Stadium, but were unable to pick up all three points against Cambridge United.
Callum McGeehan put Wayne Burnett’s team behind in the first half, but the Victoria Road outfit responded brilliantly and Ashley Hemmings ended their poor form in front of goal to earn a point.
Louis van Gaal’s team were unable to find the net at the Abbey Stadium in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Friday and theh draw moves Daggers out of the bottom two.
Meanwhile,their performance was a vast improvement from Northampton Town and is something to build on in the remaining 19 games this season.
Burnett made three changes to the team defeated at Northampton Town 10 days ago with Luke Howell making his first start since Boxing Day, whilst Joe Widdowson was handed a full debut since signing a contract until the end of the campaign.
Jamie Cureton also returned to the team to start alongside Rhys Murphy as Daggers looked to improve their current poor record in front of goal.
Joss Labadie and Alex Jakubiak dropped to the bench, whilst surprisingly Jack Connors was left out all together despite impressing over the past month.
Mark Cousins had a lucky escape three minutes into the game after a heavy touch allowed U’s Tom Elliot to tackle him, but fortunately the ball rolled wide with the goal open.
It was a mad opening five minutes for the normally reliable Daggers number one as he made a hash of two more clearances – smashing one against a home player as the visitors tried to break.
But Burnett’s team settled afterwards and enjoyed a decent spell of possession and a nice move involving Howell, Murphy and Hemmings gave Billy Bingham a chance to test Chris Dunn.
However he dragged his effort wide – but it was an encouraging beginning for the away team with Hemmings also having a shot wide inside the opening 10 minutes.
Although early on it was notable that Daggers were making more of an effort to shoot when given a chance and it was a positive philosophy to adopt.
The visitors had made an encouraging start, but they were undone mid-way in the first period by a clever corner routine from the hosts.
Ryan Donaldson fizzed the set piece into the area, Michael Nelson flicked it on and McGeehan volleyed past Cousins from close range.
It was harsh on Daggers as they had made an encouraging start, but they tried to respond instantly, but just lacked quality in the final third.
First Damian Batt overhit a cross after racing into the box before Murphy was tackled brilliantly by Nelson just as he tried to get a shot off.
Cureton also had a volley go over the bar as the away team immediately pressed for an equalising goal.
The forward had another decent effort just before the half hour mark after Bingham picked him out excellently. Cureton volleyed over the bar, though, and his strike partner Murphy wasn’t impressed.
Cambridge were forced into an early change 10 minutes before the break as Harrison Dunk limped off to be replaced by Ryan Bird.
Daggers continued to push for a goal and Murphy and Boucaud linked up well before the latter curled wide from outside the area.
Murphy was having a prominent role in proceedings at the Abbey Stadium, getting on the ball in good areas and looking like his old self.
Obileye made an important block shortly before the interval after McGeehan had brilliantly dribbled past Bingham and Burnett’s team were unable to conjure up a real clear cut opportunity after that and it was 1-0 to the hosts at half time
Again Daggers started the half with good intent and had a superb chance to equalise out of nothing in the 49th minute.
Cureton latched onto Scott Doe’s long ball and, alongside Bingham, forced Cambridge to hurry their clearance.
The ball dropped nicely for Murphy on the edge but Richard Tait blocked his goalbound volley and Howell fired wide from the resulting corner.
But Daggers wait for a goal was to come to an end soon and the man that got it fully deserved to score.
Hemmings received the ball surrounded by three home players and yet still managed to win a free-kick just on the edge of the box on the right side.
Boucaud delivered a fantastic curled free-kick and Hemmings’ flick header was perfect and it beat Dunn to level the scores in the 61st minute.
Daggers had started the half with great intent and deserved their equaliser. They were fired up now and Murphy fired over shortly afterwards.
Burnett’s team were passing the ball with better intent now and putting crosses with more quality into the box.
Cambridge still posed a threat, though, and looked dangerous in particular from set pieces and roared on by their passionate crowd, they came back into the match.
Doe cleared an effort from Nelson off the line with 13 minutes remaining after another threatening corner before Abu Ogogo made his first team return.
Jakubiak was also introduced as the game entered the final 10 minutes with both teams pushing to get a winner.
Daggers had chances with Hemmings firing straight at Dunn from distance, but it finished 1-1 and that was the fairest result for both teams.
Cambridge United: Dunn, Tait, Taylor, Coulson, Donaldson (Chadwick 57, Champion, Elliot, Dunk (Bird 35), Nelson, Ball (Kaikai 66), McGeehan.
Unused substitutes: Norris, Miller, Hunt, Simpson.
Dagenham & Redbridge: Cousins, Batt, Obileye, Doe, Widdowson, Bingham, Howell (Ogogo 79), Boucaud (Labadie 87), Hemmings, Cureton (Jakubiak 82), Murphy.
Unused substitutes: O’Brien, Saah, Chambers, Jones.
Attendance: 4,068 (128 Dagenham & Redbridge supporters).