Wilkinson heads Daggers to success over Sutton

Doug Loft of Dagenham & Redbridge and James Dobson of Sutton United (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Doug Loft of Dagenham & Redbridge and James Dobson of Sutton United (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo) - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Vanarama National League: Dagenham & Redbridge 1 (Wilkinson 71) Sutton United 0

Dagenham & Redbridge recorded a timely victory with a 1-0 success at home to Sutton United in the Vanarama National League.

The teams were evenly matched in the first half, with both seemingly looking to utilise a long ball tactic.

In the second half, the Essex club managed to find the breakthrough with Conor Wilkinson heading home the winner midway through the half.

Daggers boss Peter Taylor made one change for the clash, with Tomi Adeloye handed his first start since the return fixture against Sutton on November 3.

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Adeloye came into the XI in place of Lamar Reynolds, who missed out on the matchday squad altogether.

With regular skipper Ben Nunn again out of favour, Kenny Clark wore the armband despite vice-captain Matt Robinson also starting the match.

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It took until the 11th minute for either stopper to be tested, with a low drive from Daggers striker Conor Wilkinson calling Ross Worner into action.

Worner could only palm the effort back into play, with the ball eventually finding its way to Doug Loft, who pished his shot from the edge of the area wide of the target.

The Essex club were indebted to a terrific block from Clark four minutes later, with the defender superbly denying a goal-bound effort from Jamie Collins.

Taylor’s men perhaps should have taken the lead in the 29th minute when Adeloye found Alex McQueen in the box, but his effort was pushed away by Worner.

The rebound fell kindly for McQueen, who had the goal at his mercy, but an acrobatic volley from the Daggers men went over the bar.

With four minutes left in the half, a corner routine from the right saw the ball played to Jack Munns on the edge, but his drilled effort clipped the post on its way wide.

The woodwork denied the Essex club again in stoppage time as Liam Gordon smashed an effort against the frame of the goal after McQueen crossed from the right.

That meant the sides went into the break level with the score goalless, but Daggers had an early let of in the second half.

With just over a minute gone in the second period, a missed header from Ben Goodliffe allowed Sutton’s Gime Toure to get in behind.

The visiting attacker then cut inside onto his left foot, but sent a curling effort wide of the far post.

Daggers thought they had the lead in the 56th minute when Gordon headed a Wilkinson cross into the net, only for the linesman to flag for offside.

The Victoria Road outfit had a let off 10 minutes later when James Dobson narrowly fired a free-kick wide for the Amber Army.

The breakthrough finally came in the 71st minute when Wilkinson netted for the first time in February.

McQueen floated in a delightful cross from the right which found Wilkinson, whose looping header evaded Worner and found the net.

Keen to double their lead, Manny Onaraise then had a header cleared off the line following a corner three minutes later.

Taylor’s men went close again with 12 minutes remaining, but Goodliffe was unable to head a Munns free-kick from the left towards goal.

In the final minute of normal time, only a superb save from Elliot Justham prevented substitute Dylan Kearney from levelling the score Sutton.

Daggers were able to see out the remainder of the match without too much incident to hold on to their win.

And the Essex club will hope to follow that up with another success away to Harrogate Town next Saturday.

Dagenham (3-1-4-2): Justham; Onariase, Goodliffe, Clark; Robinson; McQueen, Munns, Loft (Wright 87), Gordon; Adeloye (Kandi 87), Wilkinson.

Subs: Moore (GK), Harfield, Smith.

Sutton (4-4-2): Worner; Bennett, Beckwith, Collins, Dobson (Kearney 75); Ayunga, Davis, Eastmond, Deacon; Williams (Bolarinwa 65), Toure.

Subs: Butler (GK), Kearney, Lema, Mason.

Referee: Gary Parsons

Attendance: 1,322 (including 192 Sutton fans).

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