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Match Reports

Report: Dagenham & Redbridge 1-2 Palace

20 July 2013

Crystal Palace got their pre-season programme off to a winning start, after edging out Dagenham and Redbridge 2-1 at Victoria Road. 

The Eagles dominated large parts of the match and should have come away from east London with more than two goals to show for their efforts. But in the end a goal from trialist Atdhe Nuhiu and an Owen Garvan penalty were enough to give Palace victory by the odd goal in three, despite a late period of Daggers pressure.  

After controlling the early stages of the game, Palace created their first clear cut chance on six minutes. A lofted ball over the top was taken down by Nuhiu, who showed good compsore to take the ball past the advancing Chris Lewington in the Daggers goal, only to see his shot headed off the line by Brian Saah. 

The home side then had Lewington to thank for keeping the scoreline at 0-0 just moments later, as Stephen Dobbie's well-struck free-kick was parried clear. 

It took 15 minutes for Dagenham and Redbridge to put together their first meaningful attack. A weaving run by Jake Reed on the right-hand side saw him beat two Palace players before jinking his way into the box. The winger went own under the challenge of Stuart O'Keefe, but despite big appeals from the home support, referee Darren Deadman and his officials were unmoved. 

That seemed to settle the home side and Afolabi Obafemi had a stinging short charged down by Alex Wynter, before Luke Howell also tried his luck from distance, only to see his effort fly wide of Julian Speroni's right-hand post. 

Palace wasted a great chance of their own on 24 minutes, when Quincy Owusu-Abeyie set up fellow trialist Nuhiu with a deep cross from the right. The Austran's header ricocheted off a defender and Phillips couldn't adjust his body quick enough to find the target with his close-range effort. 

The Eagles went close again just moments later when O'Keefe's shot narrowly missed the top corner, before Lewington made a brilliant one-handed save to deny the impressive Dobbie. 

Ian Holloway's men were beginning to dictate the game and only a tremondous flying reflex save from Lewington prevented them from taking the lead with 30 minutes on the clock. A cross in towards Nuhiu took a deflection off Scott Doe and the ball seemed destined for the top corner, only for the Daggers stopper to spring to his right to acrobatically deny Palace again. 

But with 34 minutes played the visitors finally made the pressure tell. Kevin Phillips fed Owusu-Abeyie on the right, who found a yard to deliver a low driven cross into the box, where Nuhiu was waiting to sweep the ball into the bottom corner.

The Eagles seemed to take their foot off the gas a little after taking the lead, and they nearly paid the price four minutes before half time, as Reed, Howell and Obefemi were all involved in a decent Daggers move. The ball was eventually worked infield to Medy Elito, whose measured right-foot shot rom the edge of the box was well saved by Speroni low to his left.  

But Palace had a chance to extend their lead at the other end right on the stroke of half time. Phillips' shot was blocked, before Jonny Williams turned and fed an unmarked Dobbie on the right-hand side of the box. The Scot looked to beat Lewington at his near post, but he could only find the side-netting with his shot.

Despite bringing on a completely new eleven for the second half, the visitors started it in the same vain as they finished the first 45. Owen Garvan and Hiram Boateng combined neatly to find Osman Sow, who was crowded out by two Dagenham defenders as he looked to get his shot away. 

It wasn't long before the Eagles doubled their lead though, as another trialist Elliot Grandin picked out the overlapping Quade Taylor. The right-back cut inside and was brought down by Obefemi, giving referee Deadman no option but to point to the spot. And it was left to Irishman Garvan to convert the spot kick, tucking the ball beyond the reach of Lewington in the bottom right-hand corner.  

But having won a penalty at one end, Taylor then conceded one at the other, tripping Zavon Hines as the former West Ham winger jinked into the box from the left. Elito stepped up and coolly dispatched the ball past Fizsimons from 12 yards to bring Dagenham and Redbridge back into the match.

Dwight Gayle had a chance to put the game beyond his former club though with 11 minutes to go. Elliot Grandin fashioned some space for himself on the left, before whipping a deep cross in to the back post. Gayle got up well at the back post to head goalwards, but his effort was blocked smartly by Lewington. 

The home side looked to capitalise on that missed opportunity, and some great work by Hines down the right nearly created an equaliser. The wide man showed great pace to get past Dean Moxey, and when his low cross rebounded into the path of Brian Woodall, the striker fluffed his lines when he looked certain to make it 2-2. 

The home side continued to pile the pressure on towards the end, with Sean Shields hitting the side netting with just seconds left on the clock. But in the end it was Palace who returned to SE25 with a morale-boosting win ahead of Tuesday's trip to Gillingham. 

Palace first-half XI:  Speroni, Ward, Wynter, Gabbidon, Jerome Williams, O'Keefe, Jonny Williams, Owusu-Abeyie, Dobbie, Phillips, Nuhiu. 

Palace second-half XI: Fitzsimons, Taylor, Inniss, Ramage, Moxey, Boateng, Grandin, Garvan (De Silva 88), Sow, Gayle, Wilbraham.

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