Update: Dagenham 1 Stevenage 2 - match report
Michael Bostwick and Mark Roberts on target for Boro in win
Dagenham & Redbridge 1 Stevenage 2
Goals from Michael Bostwick and Mark Roberts saw Boro win away at Dagenham & Redbridge today (Saturday).
Both efforts came from set pieces - and both at the far post - as Stevenage won their second match in three days with just a week to go until the new Football League season kicks off.
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Yet there were shaky moments for the visitors as first Alan Julian, with two agile saves, and then Mark Roberts, with a goalline clearance, kept Dagenham at bay as the home side sensed a draw could be on the cards following Brian Woodall’s strike 15 minutes from time.
The first half was all Boro and they were deserving of a half-time lead after Bostwick’s early header put his side in front.
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Getting on to the end of a Robin Shroot free kick, which Dagenham goalkeeper James Shea failed to connect with, Bostwick headed down and into the ground behind the goalkeeper and into the net.
Just five minutes later Boro gave the Dagenham goalkeeper a chance to redeem himself, and he grasped it with both hands. Wilson worked a neat little move up the right before crossing deep for Laird.
The winger, just inside the area, deftly took control of the ball and passed inside to Reid who turned and got everything behind a fierce strike which Shea pushed over the bar.
Between them Reid and Shroot were seeing plenty of the ball – partly due to the work of those behind them but also thanks to the movement they were creating off the ball – and there are shoots of an emerging partnership between the two which could certainly come into play away from home this season.
Another new signing, Phil Edwards, was next to shape up for a go at goal but after running through onto Wilson’s pass the midfielder lost out to Shea who was quickly off his line to dive on the ball at the midfielder’s feet.
The first chance at Boro’s goal saw Augustin Battipedi shoot high on the half-hour mark before Bostwick, hungry for a second, drilled a further effort wide at the other end. Former Stevenage man Jon Nurse then cut inside the box on the right a minute before half-time only to strike his effort onto a defender and over the bar.
The second half saw Darius Charles move up front with Shroot taking a position on the left of midfield and Laird dropping to left-back.
Wilson went close just before the hour mark when, after some good pressing upfield, Edwards thread the ball through for the winger who chested it down on the edge of the box and fired across goal and out for a goal kick.
Boro’s second goal soon followed and again it came from a set piece. Shroot was again the taker and his low corner was hit towards by Jon Ashton who swiped his foot at the ball to send it towards Roberts who tapped in from two yards.
The hosts almost reduced the deficit moments later but for Julian’s superb one-handed save from Jake Reed’s header. The ball, whipped in from the left, was directed goalwards with power by the substitute only for Julian to throw a strong hand out in front of it to deflect the ball away from goal.
Dagenham slowly worked their way back into the game but saw a sitter go wide when Moses Swaibu used his studs rather than the side of his foot as a free kick came his way after he had made space in the Boro box.
Woodall was next to try Julian but as the striker headed into the six yard box under pressure, both he and the goalkeeper fell to the ground and his resulting scoop goalwards hit the outstretched arm of Julian who had kept his composure while on the ground and the ball and bounced wide.
The chances were now coming thick and fast and Dagenham substitute goalkeeper Chris Lewington saved low down from Bostwick with 20 minutes left on the clock.
A goal was on the cards, and it came 15 minutes from time when Jake Reed struck goalwards only for Julian to palm the ball into the path of Woodall who finished from 12 yards.
The hosts sensed blood and pushed bodies forward and it was only Roberts’ intervention, where he scooped a goal-bound effort over the bar, which kept Stevenage’s lead in tact, a lead they kept to the end.
Dagenham were relegated from npower League 1 last season and as such provided good opposition for Boro ahead of the new season.
All that stands in Stevenage’s way now, ahead of their date with Exeter City next Saturday, is a squad run out at Corby on Tuesday evening.
Stevenage (4-4-1-1): Julian 7, Charles 6 (Beardsley 69), Henry 6, Roberts 6, Ashton 7, Wilson 6, Edwards 7 (Myrie-Williams 88), Bostwick 7, Laird 7, Shroot 6, Reid 6 (Murphy 87). Subs: Madjo, May, Winn, Collins, Thalassitis.
Referee: M Bull