Preview: Dagenham v Wycombe
Wycombe Wanderers travel to Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday evening for a rearranged League Two fixture after the scheduled game in January was postponed due to a frozen pitch.
Dagenham are currently 8th in the table with 47 points from 30 games, 27 of those points having been won at home. They are 6 points behind Wycombe but have played 1 game more.
Few expected Dagenham to sustain a promotion challenge this season but they just won't go away. With goals coming from all areas of the team (six different players have scored for them in the last five games alone), the Daggers are a match for anyone on their day and haven't given up hope of snatching one of the automatic promotion places.
Recent results have seen them beat Rochdale 3-2, draw 1-1 at Grimsby, narrowly lose 1-0 against Darlington and draw 2-2 at Bury before putting another nail in Luton's coffin with a 2-1 home win on Saturday.
The Daggers are top scorers in League Two with 56 goals (32 at home) and have conceded 34 (12 at home).
12 different players have scored for Dagenham so far this season and their top marksman is Paul Benson with 17 goals in all competitions. Ben Strevens, who turned down a move to Wycombe in January is the next highest scorer with 11 strikes to his name. Sam Saunders has 8 goals, Matt Ritchie 7 and a further two Dagenham players have scored 5 goals each. What Wycombe wouldn't give for that kind of goalscoring record.
Wycombe Wanderers are currently 2nd in the league, 3 points behind leaders Brentford but with 2 games in hand on their West London promotion rivals. The Chairboys have 53 points from 29 games played, 24 of those points having been won on their travels away from Adams Park
Wycombe's recent results have been extremely poor. With only 2 wins in their last 8 games and a meagre 4 points from their last 5 outings, it's a very different story from the first half of the season. In January, following a two week break due to postponements, the Chairboys lost 1-0 at home to lowly Grimsby and 3-1 away at relegation strugglers Bournemouth. Things did pick up a little with a 0-0 draw at Macclesfield and a 2-1 win over Accrington Stanley, before the weather enforced yet another two week break. Taking the field for the first time this month against Bradford at Valley Parade on Saturday, Wycombe lost yet again, although their improved performance suggested that the current slump may not be terminal.
The Chairboys have been shy in front of goal all season and it's a sobering thought that other than Matt Harrold, the last current player to score for the club was Matt Phillips as far back as the 6th of December.
However, the big difference between pre and post-Christmas Wycombe, is the decline of their superb defensive record. Before Christmas the Chairboys kept 13 clean sheets in their first 21 league games. Since the festivities they have only kept 1 clean sheet in their 8 league outings.
Wycombe have scored 36 league goals (14 away from home) and have conceded 20 (10 away from home).
12 different players have scored for Wycombe in all competitions and the top marksman is Matt Harrold with 12 goals. Next highest scorer is the suspended Chris Zebroski who has found the net 6 times. New striker Jon-Paul Pittman looked promising against Bradford on Saturday and will be hoping to get off the mark as quickly as he can.
Current League Form
Last Five League Games
Dagenham: WDLDW - 8 points
Wycombe:...LLDWL - 4 points
Last Five Home Games
Dagenham: WLWLW - 9 points
Last Five Away Games
Wycombe: WDLDL - 5 points
Earlier this season Wycombe won 2-1 at Adams Park with 2 goals from Mike Williamson. In an eventful encounter, the Chairboys played most of the game with 10 men after Simon Church was sent off and the Daggers squandered a chance to level the match in stoppage time when they missed a penalty.
Last season Wycombe came from 2 goals behind to force a draw at Victoria Road, courtesy of a Matt Bloomfield strike followed by a last minute penalty conversion from Jermaine Easter. In the return match at Adams Park, Dagenham converted their own penalty to win 1-0.
Altogether, the two clubs have met on four previous occasions with Dagenham winning once and Wycombe twice. There has been one drawn game.
2005/06: FLT Wycombe 2 Dagenham 1
2007/08: Lg2 Dagenham 2 Wycombe 2
2007/08: Lg2 Wycombe 0 Dagenham 1
2008/09: Lg2 Wycombe 2 Dagenham 1
The Referee for this match is Mr K A Woolmer
Not exactly a good luck charm, Mr. Woolmer has been in charge of two Wycombe games already this season, neither of which Chairboys fans will care to remember. The first was Shrewsbury's 7-0 victory at Adams Park and the second was our first league defeat of the season at Aldershot. He was also in the middle when Wycombe lost 1-0 at Hereford towards the end of last season. Overall, Mr Woolmer has overseen 28 games so far this season and has issued 68 yellow cards and 5 reds.
Wycombe Team News
Lewis Hunt will be out for a few more weeks with a broken bone in his foot. (He can't come back soon enough for me)
Chris 'Kung-Fu' Zebroski is suspended for this game.
Earlier this season you might have wagered that Wycombe's mean defence could keep free-scoring Dagenham at bay. That doesn't look like such an attractive bet now though, and you would imagine the Chairboys will have to score at least twice to win.
If ever there was a time to pull a result out of the bag, this is it.
Wycombe to stop the rot.
Dagenham 1 Wycombe 2