Improved second-half showing reveals a cause for optimism ahead of new term
Dagenham & Redbridge just edged a competitive friendly at Vauxhall Road, 3-2, on Saturday, in a useful last warm-up before the big kick-off, writes Allan Mitchell.
The Daggers took the lead early on after a goalmouth scramble, Hemel unable to clear their lines before Will Wright forced the ball home.
The National League side went further ahead on 25 minutes when a misplaced pass from a Hemel defender was intercepted by Michael Cheek, who raced through and placed his shot past Laurie Walker in the Tudors’ goal.
Hemel almost got back into it when a mazy run by the lively Herschel Sanchez Watt saw him break into the box, but his shot went just wide.
Cheek doubled his tally when losing his marker in the box and driving the ball past Walker to make it 3-0 just before the break.
In the second-half, with the wind behind them, Hemel started to look more dangerous.
Just before the hour, Steve Cawley reduced the deficit when he had an easy tap-in. A free-kick from Hemel’s man-of-the-match Jordan Parkes was met by Ismail Yakubu, who unselfishly laid the ball back across goal for Cawley.
Charlie Sheringham and Cawley then had good chances to score, Sheringham’s header going over after a Parkes free-kick and Cawley did superbly to control a through-ball but his attempted lob didn’t have enough height and was saved.
Hemel finally got the second goal their efforts deserved following another great Parkes free-kick delivery was met by Darren Ward, who nodded the ball to Sheringham for a neatly-headed finish to make it 2-3.
There was a late chance for Sheringham to equalise but he just missed his attempted shot and the ball was cleared moments before the referee blew the full-time whistle.
After the game, Hemel boss Dean Brennan said he was disappointed to give away three poor goals but he was pleased with his side’s second-half showing and was confident of his team having a good season.
Results in pre-season rarely mean anything and are more about fitness and teamwork. His players worked very hard as a unit, which is what will be needed for the Tudors to make the best possible start to the young season.