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Dagenham & Redbridge 1-3 West Ham Utd

Filed: Thursday, 22nd March 2018
By: Staff Writer

Michail Antonio was the star of the show as West Ham eased to a comfortable win in tonight's mid-season friendly at Victoria Road.

The winger was in top form as he bedazzled the National League side's defence with a performance full of trickery, pace and accuracy, resulting in two goals and several more chances.

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And there was further good news for West Ham's attackers when Jordan Hugill - who led the line in the absence of Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic - got his reward for a fully-committed performance with a late goal that sealed the win for David Moyes' side.

Minus those players with international commitments, West Ham were otherwise at full strength with Mark Noble leading the side alongside other first team squad members such as goalkeeper Adrian, Aaron Cresswell, Pablo Zabaleta, Arthur Masuaku and James Collins.

Whilst the two teams both enjoyed chances in the opening half, it was the Hammers that struck first three minutes before the interval when Antonio pounced on a defensive error before finishing cleverly, lifting the ball over Dagenham's exposed 'keeper Mark Cousins.

The former Nottingham Forest man was to double both his and United's tally ten minutes into the second half when he raced through to convert a delicious through ball from Josh Pask, who had replaced a stricken Collins.

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The Welshman, West Ham's only available regular centre half on the night had worryingly limped off with just half-an-hour played with what appeared to be a thigh strain - more concern for Moyes, who is already battling against a severe shortage of central defenders.

There was some cheer on the night for the home fans when Mason Bloomfield fired home following a melee inside the six-yard box to halve the deficit on the hour mark - followed by plenty of applause from the visiting supporters as several first team regulars left the field.

One of the replacements to make a mark was Anthony Scully, an Academy midfielder who started life at West Ham as an Under 16 scholar in 2014.

The 18-year-old looked comfortable on the ball, set Antonio up for what could (and should) have been his hat-trick, tried an audacious lob from 50 yards and delivered a great centre that January arrival Hugill converted from close range to seal the victory for West Ham, just three minutes from time.

Bar the concern over Collins, it was a good night for both clubs; the Hammers secured a morale-boosting win whilst offering match experience to the likes of Hugill, Antonio and Patrice Evra whilst the Daggers were able to boost their coffers thanks to a healthy crowd of 4,515 (some 75 per cent of capacity).

For David Moyes and his team, attention now turns to what has become a huge game against Southampton in Stratford next weekend. Whilst the manager has nine days to prepare his team, his primary concern will be that his absent players return from international duty unscathed.

West Ham Utd: Adrian, Zabaleta (Johnson 63), Collins (Pask 29), Cresswell (Powell 63), Evra (Akinola 90), Holland (Scully 77), Noble (Barrett 63), Lewis, Masuaku, Antonio (Rosa 90), Hugill.

Subs not used: Anang, Longelo-Mbule.

Goals: Antonio (42, 55), Hugill (87).

Dagenham & Redbridge: Cousins (Moore 60), Nunn (Gordon 46), Robson (N’Gala 46), Howells (Agboola 77), Pennell (Southam 77), Adams (Robinson 46), Boucaud (Cheek 46), Howell, Kandi (Okenabirhie 82), Bloomfield (Bonds 60), Sparkes (Mongoy 77).

Goals: Bloomfield (59).

Referee: Tim Robinson.

Attendance: 4,515.

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