West Ham United U23s continue pre-season with goalless draw against Dagenham and Redbridge

Alfie Lewis

West Ham United U23s' fourth pre-season game ended in a 0-0 draw against Dagenham and Redbridge on Friday evening.

It was the first game for new Head Coach Dmitri Halajko and he would have been impressed with the intensity of his side against the National League opponents.

Strikers Emmanuel Longelo and Oladapo Afolayan went closest for the U23s in a physical encounter at the Chigwell Construction Stadium.  

West Ham’s defence was also tested by Joe Quigley who hit the bar for the hosts but neither side could find the net. 

West Ham kept the ball well in the early stages, frustrating their opponents. Dan Kemp forced the first save of the game after good work in midfield from Alfie Lewis. The winger’s low strike could only be palmed behind by Elliot Justham in the Daggers goal. 

The hosts looked dangerous from set-pieces, and Joseph Anang was twice called into action from free-kicks from outside the box, but the keeper saved comfortably.

Pressure on Justham in the Dagenham goal almost forced the Hammers' opener as his scuffed clearance could only find Kemp. The ball rebounded to the feet of Afolayan but the striker’s left footed effort was deflected over the bar with the keeper beaten.

Once again, the U23s were able to deal well with the increased physicality of coming up against senior opposition. Conor Coventry, Lewis and Joe Powell came out on top in midfield in a well-contested affair.

Dagenham and Redbridge countered at pace just after the half hour mark, but Reece Oxford intervened well with a crucial sliding tackle as the home side looked to go through on goal.

West Ham made no changes at the break and picked up where they left off, moving the ball well around midfield.

The centre-back pairing of Oxford and Heaven remained strong up against a tall and powerful striker in Joe Quigley.

The experienced Quigley however, found space on the edge of the box in the 58th minute and his curling effort came back off the bar.

Then Bagasan Graham thought he had put the home side in front shortly after with a low drive only to see the flag raised for offside.

Inside the final 30 minutes the game became increasingly stretched. A fizzed Jeremy Ngakia cross was put behind by some excellent Daggers defending with Nathan Holland waiting to score.

Longelo, Kristijan Belic and Reece Hannam were all introduced shortly after with Halajko looking to get the goal his side deserved. 

It nearly paid dividends straight away with a teasing Kemp cross just inches away from an advancing Longelo but the young Hammers still couldn’t find the net.

A miscommunication at the other end nearly saw Reece Grant prod home for Dagenham and Redbridge but Anang got down low to save to his right.

Substitute forward Longelo looked lively when he came on, and he raced clear of the defence late in the match but was stifled by Justham at full stretch.

As time ran down the Hammers continued to be frustrated by the home side, a clever chipped ball releasing Nathan Holland in added time but he was offside.

Halajko’s side continue their pre-season with a trip to Reading on Tuesday, before flying to Belgium next Friday for a pre-season clash with RSC Anderlecht.

West Ham United: Anang, Ngakia (Belic 70), Heaven, Oxford (Hannam 70), Alese, Kemp, Lewis (Rosa 63), Coventry, Powell, Holland, Afolayan (Longelo 70)

Subs not used:  Hegyi,

Dagenham and Redbridge Starting XI:  Justham, Onariese, Brundle , Balanta, Graham, Robinson, Quigley, Wood, Dobson, Eleftheriou, Odametey

Subs: Strizovic, Wright, Gordon, Clark, McQueen, Grant, Phipps, Luque, Hanson