Lovetts
3:00pm - SaturdaySat 7th AprilApr 2018
The Chigwell Construction Stadium | Att: 1391

Dag & Red
Dagenham & Redbridge
1 - 1

Woking
Woking

Chapple and Goodliffe aim to inspire the Cards to safety

Glen Harrington
12:00am, Fri 6th Apr 2018
Dagenham and Redbridge vs Woking
Vanarama National League
Saturday 7th April 2018


Geoff Chapple returns as Woking’s interim manager on Saturday as the Cards travel to Dagenham and Redbridge looking to end a run of nine games without a win.

Monday’s defeat at relegation rivals Torquay proved to be Anthony Limbrick’s last as Woking boss and the pressure now passes to Chapple and assistant coach Jason Goodliffe as the pair look to address an alarming slide down the National League table. The Cards have managed just two league wins since November, the last of which came in early February, and now sit just three points below Barrow and Solihull Moors, who occupy the last of the four relegation places. Both teams still have games in hand over the Cards and have better goal differences, meaning that for the first time this season, Woking are reliant on results elsewhere. Torquay, who have picked up 10 points in their last four games, also can’t be discounted from the equation as the survival race hots up. With just five games remaining the Cards know that they have to find a return to their early season form sooner rather than later.

Dagenham have had a tough season, with their seemingly comfortable spot in mid-table telling far from the whole story, with widely reported off the field issues and financial struggles marring much of the second-half of their campaign. After a host of promising summer editions, the Daggers were tipped by many for promotion at the start of the season, but have fallen away from the play-off race in recent months after losing several key players in January. They currently sit in 11th place with 58 points from 40 games, seven points adrift of the top seven, but still comfortably clear of the bottom four. After losing seven games out of nine at the start of the year their recent form has seen something of an improvement with wins over AFC Fylde and Maidstone United as well as a draw with Gateshead in their last three games. They’ll be hoping to finish the season strongly before their long-term fate becomes clearer over the summer break.

The Cards desperately need your support for this huge game and Geoff has urged the fans to continue to get behind the team as much as possible as you have done all season! So please make the relatively short trip if you possibly can and cheer on the boys!

Woking Team News

It will be interesting to see if the Cards, under their new management team, will make any changes to the side beaten by both Macclesfield and Torquay. At the back, Joey Jones has endured a tough run of form, and could be the man to miss out if Chapple and Goodliffe wish to employ something of a reshuffle. With Jordan Wynter now fit, he could move across to centre-back to partner Josh Staunton, in what has arguably been the team’s strongest combination this season. Matt Young could then return at full-back alongside Louis Ramsay assuming, that is, that Nathan Ralph is not fit to start.

The next choice will be as to whether to stick with the three-man midfield of Chez Isaac, Kane Ferdinand and Charlie Carter, or to sacrifice one of them in favour of a second striker. With Anthony Cook and Regan Charles-Cook likely to continue on the flanks it will be a choice of one the midfield trio to make way for, most likely, Louie Theophanous – who has looked promising in partnership with Reece Grego-Cox in recent games.

Dagenham Team News

Despite their difficulties off the pitch manager John Still continues to have a strong squad of players to pick from and the Cards will need to return to somewhere near their best to repeat their victory over the Daggers from earlier in the season.

Last time out, Still went with experienced goalkeeper Mark Cousins; a back four of long-time Boreham Wood full-back Ben Nunn, captain Craig Robson, youngster Luke Pennell, who spent the early part of his career in the Southern Premier League, and former Luton Town favourite Luke Howells; in midfield was the pairing of England C international and former Birmingham City academy graduate Charlee Adams alongside the hugely experienced Andre Boucaud; further forward was the exciting Fejiri Okenabirhie, scorer of 10 goals this season, along with former Woking player Chike Kandi and Dan Sparkes, who is known from his spells with Torquay and Braintree; up front was another former Braintree player in striker Michael Cheek.

Their options from the bench include another former Card, midfielder Matt Robinson, as well as fellow midfielders Luke Howell and Elliot Bonds. Their substitute goalkeeper Lewis Moore is also commonly joined amongst the substitutes by defender Bondz N'Gala who has had spells with Eastleigh and Dover amongst others.

Last Time Out

Woking 1-0 Dagenham and Redbridge (Saturday 07 October 2017 – Vanarama National League)

It’s hard to believe that Woking sat third after this result, with 28 points, just one behind leaders Macclesfield Town. The Cards have managed just 16 points from the next 26 games and now come into the return fixture in very different spirits. A single goal from Regan Charles-Cook, arguably the goal of the season thus far, was enough to give the Cards victory at Kingfield whilst Chez Isaac was voted man-of-the-match after an excellent midfield performance.

On the Day

The Cards Trust will be running a coach to this game leaving the Laithwaite Community Stadium at 12pm. This will be charged at £13 for members and £18 for non-members. Under-16s are £7 and £9 respectively. For those travelling directly, the ground is located on Victoria Road in Dagenham, the postcode is RM10 7XL. To travel by train, take the District Line from central London to Dagenham East, which is five minutes from the ground. Ticket prices for the game are £21 for adults, £15 for concessions, £12 for juniors (10-16 year olds) and £2 for those under the age of 10.

Next Up

The Cards have a quick turnaround after this game as they travel to Maidenhead United on Tuesday evening for a rearranged fixture. This is followed by a home game the following Saturday with FA Trophy finalists and play-off chasers Bromley. Tickets are available online now via our website.

New management team grab a point

Brian Caffarey
9:32pm, Sat 7th Apr 2018
Dagenham and Redbridge 1 Woking 1
Vanarama National League
7 April 2018

The new interim management team of Geoff Chapple and Jason Goodliffe – or should it be the other way around? – succeeded in halting a run of three defeats this afternoon at Victoria Road. Whether a point will prove enough only the next four games will tell. Fellow strugglers Barrow and Solihull Moors had mixed fortunes, the former losing at Leyton Orient but the latter grabbing a last-minute winner at Hartlepool. The Cards fought hard – no one could complain about the commitment or effort – and had to contend with the shock of conceding an early goal from a wonderful free-kick from Dan Sparkes before ex-Dagger Josh Staunton equalised immediately after half-time with a powerful header from a corner.

The results left Woking a point above Solihull Moors, who have a game in hand, with Barrow, four points behind the Cards and with two games in hand, now occupying the last relegation place. Both Barrow and Solihull have substantially better goal differences than Woking.

There was a certain sense of déjà vu as we made our way to Dagenham’s ground this afternoon with the possibility of relegation looming. Only a year ago, on the very last day of the campaign, a draw at Victoria Road had secured the Cards’ escape. That was also the occasion of Garry Hill’s farewell as he went into the Woking end at the end of the game to shake hands with the Cards faithful. That farewell led to the arrival of Anthony Limbrick, whose own departure was announced after the Cards’ defeat at Torquay United last weekend. Now it was Chapple’s and Goodliffe’s turn to see if they could manage another ‘great escape’.

As Geoff had intimated before the game, it was very much Jason who was visibly in charge on the day, with the latter, assisted by Matt Gray, an encouraging vocal presence in the technical area, while the former looked on, seated among his fellow Woking Directors in the stand. Only a few yards away sat a tanned and relaxed-looking Garry Hill – such a contrast with the haunted figure at the close of last season! – with a deep affection for both clubs.

Whether it was Geoff or Jason or both who decided the line-up, it was no great surprise to see a return to a traditional 4-4-2 line-up, with Louie Theophanous starting up front with Reece Grego-Cox. Matt Young was the other change, returning at right back, with Louis Ramsay at left back and Josh Staunton and Jordan Wynter at centre back. Midfield comprised Chez Isaac on the right, Regan Charles-Cook on the left and with Charlie Carter in an advanced midfield role, backed up by a deep-lying Kane Ferdinand. Joey Jones and Anthony Cook dropped to the bench.

On a mild spring afternoon the Cards, backed by a vocal contingent of some 250 fans, started comfortably enough, with the only incident of real note the flooring of Grego-Cox by the Daggers keeper as the latter punched clear. But, in the 9th minute, a Wynter foul – one of perhaps too many conceded by the Woking defence in dangerous areas – led to a superb strike from ‘man of the match’ Dan Sparkes. Crashing off the underside of the bar, it was adjudged to have crossed the line before bouncing out. The Woking fans weren’t convinced that it had crossed the line but Nathan Baxter and his team mates did not seem to protest overmuch.

Not surprisingly, the Cards looked pretty shell-shocked by this early unexpected reverse. The Daggers, in contrast, sought to press home their advantage and for a while it looked as though a second goal was likely as the home side buzzed around Woking’s penalty area, with all three front players, ex-Card Chike Kandi, top scorer Fejiri Okenabirhie and the imposing Mason Bloomfield combining well and looking threatening. Only a minute after Sparkes’s strike Okenabirhie hooked the ball across the Woking goal, while, three minutes later, a deep Kandi cross saw Bloomfield head a good chance down and wide at the far post. The pressure continued as the home side, winning most of the second balls, penned Woking back, with the Cards defence having to work hard to head clear on several occasions. And when Woking did get forward, their cause wasn’t helped by some wasteful use of the ball, with Charles-Cook’s cross behind the goal – after he had made an enterprising run down the left – being a notable example.

On 21 minutes, though, Woking had their best chance of the half. Ferdinand forced an interception, slipping the ball forward into Carter’s path. But the young midfielder dragged his left-foot shot wide of the far post.

Gradually gaining a bit more of a foothold in the game, the Cards won a free-kick out wide in the 26th minute. Isaac chose to shoot and his effort, bouncing awkwardly in front of the keeper, forced the latter to parry the ball away for a corner. But danger soon loomed again as Sparkes lined up another free-kick at the other end. A wicked delivery was somehow half-palmed away by Baxter.

On the half-hour Grego-Cox tried to volley a loose ball but didn’t connect properly. The Daggers still had the better of the chances, though. Kandi made a forceful run into the area, with Baxter parrying for a corner. Okenabirhie then did well, following some concerted Daggers’ probing, to make space for a shot on the turn, which Baxter fielded comfortably. Sparkes spelled danger again after Staunton had been harshly punished for handball, but this time his effort was cleared. A Woking counter-attack faltered again through poor use of possession, Carter failing to find his team mate in a promising move.

The game rather petered out as half-time approached apart from a sharp effort from the lively Okenabirhie. In added time Theophanous, who had found it hard to get into the game, shot from the edge of the area from a Carter flick-on but his low drive went straight to the keeper.

As the Cards trooped off at half-time they could at least take some comfort from the fact that they had weathered the pressure exerted by the Daggers after their goal, although it was worrying that they had created so little themselves. But, at only a goal down, there was still all to play for.

Half-time: Dagenham and Redbridge 1 Woking 0

Perhaps stung or encouraged by their half-time team talk, the Cards immediately went on the offensive. Carter had the ball taken off his toes in the box but at the expense of a corner. Staunton rose splendidly to meet Isaac’s low delivery and headed powerfully home to level the scores at 1-1.

Buoyed by this equaliser, the Cards now looked more of a match for the home side and the two teams proceeded to largely cancel each other out, with the Daggers looking a bit less threatening up front following Kandi’s replacement by Luke Howell just before the interval.

Woking contrived to get the ball in the net again in the 60th minute when Theophanous shot home from a Young pass at the end of a well-worked move but he was clearly offside. Theophanous was again in action a minute later as he made progress down the left. However, his cross did not reach Grego-Cox. Goodliffe then made his first change, bringing on Jonny Edwards for Theophanous. The on-loan Hull City striker proceeded to make quite a good impression with several powerful runs.

The Daggers responded by bringing on Michael Cheek for Bloomfield and it was the former Chelmsford and Braintree striker who had two chances to claim all three points for John Still’s side. The first was a stooped header from a corner, which he met well but which flew straight to Baxter. The second was a much better chance when, with only Baxter to beat, he lifted the ball over the bar.

The Cards had another lucky break on 71 minutes when Okenabirhie got the better of Wynter and curled a right-footed effort which pinged off the top of the crossbar and away.

Having had that reprieve, Edwards led the charge at the other end. Making an excellent run down the right, it looked as though he had been thwarted but he managed to get down the byeline and fire over a cross. Unfortunately, it was too high for Greco-Cox, who was facing an open goal. Another effective ‘take’ and run by Edwards ended in a cross which was easily intercepted by the Daggers keeper.

With both teams looking for three points, the game moved into the final ten minutes. The Woking defence ‘lost’ Luke Pennell, but were relieved to see his header go wide. Away fans’ nerves were frayed as the Daggers gained successive free-kicks outside the box, one of which resulted in an excellent block by the Woking defence. At the other end there was a spectacular scissor-kick by Grego-Cox, but his effort flew straight to the keeper and he was in any case flagged for offside.

In three minutes of added time Carter had one last chance as the ball fell kindly to him just outside the area. Surging forward, he struck a low shot but, once more, it was straight at the keeper.

As the final whistle blew, the Woking fans showed their appreciation of a gutsy performance by their team. Anyone who was expecting some sort of miraculous turnaround would have been disappointed since much the same weaknesses were in evidence, notably a failure to create much in the way of coherent, well-worked attacks, but the side fought hard and defended well and showed enough spirit to make one think that they were still capable of conjuring up sufficient points to escape the drop. Let’s hope that they can build on this result at Maidenhead on Tuesday evening.

Dagenham and Redbridge: Mark Cousins, Ben Nunn, Luke Pennell, Craig Robson, Charlee Adams, Chike Kandi (Luke Howell 45), Fejiri Okenabirhie, Dan Sparkes, Andre Boucaud (Matt Robinson 85), Mason Bloomfield (Michael Cheek 67), Jake Howells

Unused subs: Lewis Moore, Bondz N’Gala

Scorer: Dan Sparkes 9

Woking: Nathan Baxter, Matt Young, Jordan Wynter, Josh Staunton, Louis Ramsay, Chez Isaac, Kane Ferdinand, Charlie Carter, Regan Charles-Cook (Anthony Cook 73), Louie Theophanous (Jonny Edwards 62), Reece Grego-Cox

Unused substitutes: Sam Mason, Joey Jones, Fabio Saraiva

Scorer: Josh Staunton 47

Booked: Anthony Cook, Jonny Edwards

My Woking MOTM: Josh Staunton (pictured)

Attendance: 1391 (244 Woking fans)
Dagenham & Redbridge LINEUP
30Mark Cousins
2Ben Nunn
29Jake Howells
3Luke Pennell
5Craig Robson
8Charlee Adams
17Andre Boucaud ('85)
11Fejiri Okenabirhie
14Dan Sparkes
9Chike Kandi ('46)
24Mason Bloomfield ('67)
BENCH
13Lewis Moore
15Bondz N Gala
6Matt Robinson ('85)
7Luke Howell ('46)
23Michael Cheek ('67)
WOKING LINEUP
1Nathan Baxter
21Matt Young
2Louis Ramsay
5Josh Staunton
15Jordan Wynter
8Chez Isaac
22Kane Ferdinand
12Charlie Carter
11Regan Charles-Cook ('73)
20Reece Grego-Cox
9Louie Theophanous ('62)
BENCH
18Sam Mason
4Joey Jones
14Fabio Saraiva
23Anthony Cook ('73)
29Jonny Edwards ('62)

Dagenham & Redbridge 1 - 1 Woking (Jason Goodliffe Interview)

Dagenham & Redbridge 1 - 1 Woking (Chez Isaac Interview)

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