Dagenham & Redbridge salvaged a last gasp draw against a spirited Burton Albion outfit, thanks to a sublime half volley. Brian Woodall lashed in the winner in the 87th minute after Jacques Maghoma had fired in an equally impressive left footed strike early in the half to give Burton the lead.
John Still approached the match by making two changes to the side that won in Staffordshire last weekend, John Akinde & Dominic Green came in whilst Jon Nurse was absent with an injury and Billy Bingham was forced to sit on the bench. This also meant a change in formation with the home side reverting to a more familiar 4-4-2 in order to try and give a more attacking presence. Burton came into the game unchanged following a resolute defensive display against Crawley a week previous, top scorer Billy Kee remained sidelined with a long term injury.
The game started with a very slow pace and the only real incident within the opening 20 minutes was a stonewall penalty appeal that was turned down by the referee after a Dominic Green ball in hit the arm of Jack Dyer and bounced clear. Despite the avid appeals of the Dagenham fans and players, the referee and his assistant waved play on. Minutes later and Burton tested Lewington for the first time with Jimmy Phillips screwing a shot at the ‘stopper from just inside the box. The away side continued to impress as Greg Pearson narrowly headed over from an enticing ball in by Phillips on the right hand side.
The game began to come to life as the game headed towards the break with Aaron Webster picking up a deserved booking for a foul on Dominic Green just outside the box. From the resulting free kick, Green fired at the wall, much to the frustration of the home support. Some good play down the right hand side from Medy Elito then enabled Crawley loan player John Akinde to get an attempt on goal, but he headed his chance just over the bar. On the 35 minute mark Mickey Spillane flashed a 30 yard strike wide of the post following some neat play in the middle by makeshift midfield Abu Ogogo and winger Green.
The final attempt of the half was the one that got the hearts of either side racing the most. On loan Bournemouth defender Mathieu Baudry picked the ball up just inside the Burton half before driving forward and unleashing a speculative effort that was just tipped over the bar.
The teams emerged for the second half and it was the home side who nearly opened the scoring from a corner. The ball found its way to an unmarked John Akinde at the back post, with a touch, he fired a tame effort goalwards where it was blocked on the line by the sliding Andy Corbett. From the resulting block the ball found its way to Baudry but he could only fire over the bar under pressure from the Burton defence.
Burton Albion then took a somewhat undeserved lead thanks to a simply sensational strike from Jacques Maghoma. The former Spurs youngster cut in on the right hand side and struck an exquisite left footed strike past the reach of Chris Lewington and into the top corner, simply unstoppable.
Gary Rowett then decided to make his first change of the afternoon, bringing off the already booked Jack Dyer for Shrewsbury loan player Lionel Ainsworth who was enjoying the seventh loan spell of his career. Scott Doe then came close for the home side with his header being cleared off of the line in the same fashion as Akinde’s shot previously in the half. Calvin Zola who scored for the Brewers in the draw at The Pirelli in December was then introduced as the far from influential Justin Richards was withdrawn.
The home side weren’t offering anything in terms of a persistent threat, but Mickey Spillane should have tested Atkins on 65 minutes when he worked his way into the box, however he was crowded out after taking too long to get a shot away. The lacklustre John Akinde was then taken off for Josh Scott which brought a large cheer from the crowd, along with Jimmy Phillips being booked for apparent dissent. The change gave Medy Elito new life and he went on a mazy run past two Albion players before firing a poor shot over the top which only endangered the unsuspecting crowd in the Traditional Builders Stand. We then had another change for either side with Josh Parker coming on for the uninterested Dominic Greem whilst the Brewers brought on former Redbridge player Patrick Ada for Greg Pearson up top.
Burton then began to press and find a second goal once more with Baudry blocking a fierce Ryan Austin shot, whilst substitute Ainsworth gave Lewington a scare when his cross come shot just went over the bar. Some neat play between Maghoma & Ainsworth minutes later saw Ainsworth fire a low shot that was saved with ease by Lewington, anywhere else though and it could have caused some trouble for the ‘keeper. Calvin Zola was proving to be a nuisance since his introduction and that continued when he shrugged off Baudry to play in Bolder who’s fierce near post drive was tipped round the post by Lewington once more as Burton cranked up the pressure.
John Still then decided to bring Billy Bingham on for Damien McCrory in an attempt to stem the Burton pressure and give new added impetus in a 3-5-2 formation. Almost instantaneously Bingham made an impact, shifting himself around the park as well as playing a neat ball through to Elito which ended up in a goal kick following a poor cross from the former Colchester winger.
Just as it was all looking hopeless though, Scott Doe punted the ball up field towards former Gresley man Brian Woodall. Woodall miscontrolled the ball but turned his defender and unleashed a fierce right footed volley from outside the box which flew into the bottom corner beating Atkins all ends up to even the game up. An absolutely sensational strike from Woodall to net his 7th league goal of the season in Peter Crocuhesque style.
Straight from the restart Burton attempted to appease the 123 travelling fans by finding a winner and it nearly came when Lewington was forced into another good save from Ainsworth after Zola had kept the ball in play on the right. It wasn’t to be for either side though and the game remained level at 1-1 until the referee blew his whistle to end the contest. A very poor match that won’t live long in the memory of either support, it was brightened up by two exceptionally good strikes, moreover the draw was probably the fair result.
Man Of The Match: To be perfectly honest no players really stand out for me, however Ogogo playing out of position once more was tireless in his work ethic and for that I’ll give him the accolade.
Attendance: 2035 (123 Burton Supporters)