Stevenage picked up a point with a second half come-back at Dagenham & Redbridge this afternoon.
In a game full of half-chances for both sides, Ashley Hemmings gave the Daggers a first half lead with a fierce effort from distance only for sub Tom Hitchcock to draw Boro level in a much improved second half performance.
Teddy Sheringham made two changes from the side that started against Hartlepool the previous week, with loanee Jesse Joronen handed a debut in goal and Chris Whelpdale handed a first start of the season. Jamie McCombe returned from injury to take his place among the subs.
Without a win yet this season the hosts came at Boro in the opening stages and created a number of early chances. Just two minutes were gone when Jamie Cureton found himself free in the box. The evergreen striker shaped to shoot but opted to pass across the box, only for Ogilvie to charge down the shot with a great block.
Moments past the quarter hour a great defensive header by Ogilvie handed Daggers a corner. While the initial delivery was cleared, Cureton was played through as the ball was recovered, only for Joronen to block behind.
Gradually Stevenage began to find their feet and their attacking play created a number of decent chances to break the deadlock around the 20 minute mark. First Charlie Lee, playing behind Williams, gathered a loose ball on the edge of the area and set himself for a low drive straight at O’Brien. Then Williams drove into space, running at a retreating backline only for a defender to usher the ball out of play and the chance was gone.
Chris Whelpdale was enjoying some space down the right and on 23 minutes his deflected cross nearly created another opportunity for Boro. Williams leapt well inside the box to beat ‘keeper O’Brien to the ball but his header bounced tamely wide.
For all the chances in the game it took until the 28th minute for the deadlock to the broken – and in some style. Ashley Hemmings evaded a Schumacher tackle on the edge of the area and took aim, finding the top corner with a superb hit which gave Joronen no chance.
A goal down, Stevenage rallied and certainly ended the half the strongest as they carved out some great chances. On 36 minutes Williams did well to gather a loose ball in the corner and find Whelpdale. The winger showed great skill to evade his man and advance into the box, only to fire straight at O’Brien with a left-footed effort.
Boro’s best chance came moments before the break when Williams wriggled down the left and played in Lee. The midfielder could have volleyed at goal but opted to pass to Whelpdale, who rather than shooting himself opted to head back into space that Lee wasn’t running into and the ‘keeper gathered.
17 year old Jodi Jones was certainly catching the eye for Daggers and he wriggled away from Ogilvie in injury time and tested Joronen with a low effort. Moments later a whipped cross from the winger was headed towards goal by Cureton but a Boro head deflected the ball behind.
From the resulting corner Boro broke and created the final half-chance of the half. Akinyemi controlled beautifully and played in Williams but the covering defender got back and the chance was gone.
Tom Conlon and Tom Pett both entered the action in the opening stages of the second half and Boro were to go on to enjoy a much improved second half.
A number of Stevenage corners piled the pressure on Daggers before the hour and Schumacher fired over from 25 yards as it looked like an equaliser was on its way.
However the hosts reminded everyone of their attacking instincts on 62 minutes when the tricky Jones wriggled free on the right and cut the ball back for Cureton who had two bites at the cherry and forced Franks into a headed goal-line clearance.
With Boro keeping up the pressure at the other end Dagenham were dropping deeper and deeper, but after repelling everything that came their way from Stevenage, their resistance was broken with 16 minutes remaining.
Stevenage were awarded free-kick just inside the Dagenham half and quick thinking by Conlon saw the midfielder play a deep ball in the box for Williams to head down for sub Tom Hitchcock to stick out a foot and divert the ball home.
Both sides pushed forward in the closing stages and created moments of panic in each opposition area, including Dikamona blazing over from a well worked Daggers corner. However ultimately neither ‘keeper was called into further action as the game finished level, despite six minutes of added time.
Dagenham: O’Brien, Pasley, Nosworthy (Dikamona 63), Cureton, Boucaud, Doidge, Jones (Hines 79), Hemmings, Ferdinand, Obileye, Widdowson
Subs not used: Cousins, Connors, Chambers, Richards, Hamalainen
Stevenage: Joronen, Franks, Wells, Hughes, Ogilvie, Schumacher, Gorman (Conlon 46), Whepdale (Pett 50), Lee, Akinyemi (Hitchcock 68), Williams
Subs not used: Day, McCombe, Okimo, Johnson
Referee: Mr Robinson
Attendance: 1,653 (320 away)