Dagenham 1-2 Arsenal scouts swarm after Deacons winner
Neil Banfield returned to the Reserve team helm last night to guide an Arsenal XI to a notable 2-1 win over Dagenham and Redbridge. Roarie Deacon’s 84th minute strike proved decisive after Romain Vincelot had cancelled out Sanchez Watt’s opener.
Banfield had only been back in the country for a matter of hours after taking in pre-season training with the first-team, and another staff member from Austria, goalkeeping coach Tony Roberts, lined up in the Dagenham goal. Banfield made four changes on his return, bringing the more experienced Jay Simpson and Nacer Barazite while Ignasi Miquel and Cedric Evina also started in front of swarms of watching scouts.
Boateng – Hoyte – Miquel – Evina
Ozyakup – Randall – Barazite
Murphy – Simpson – Watt
Arsenal’s Reserve pre-season has been mixed under the tutelage of Liam Brady, but with Banfield at the helm, the Gunners had menace and rose to the challenge against the newly promoted League One side. The opening goal came after just 19 minutes when Simpson burst inside and slipped Sanchez Watt away through the middle, he raced clear of the back-line, rounded Roberts and scored. 1-0, It was a perfect start.
Miquel was the captain for the night and he was on hand to stab Mark Arber’s re-bound off the line after a sloppy punch from James Shea. It was a warning. Danny Green was next to have Shea scrambling as he worked a yard of space and just slid his low effort wide of the post. Murphy could have made it 2-0, but Arsenal went down the tunnel in front at the break.
The second half was just four minutes old when The Daggers grabbed themselves a surprise equaliser. Vincelot beat Hoyte in the air to head home Damien McCrory’s cross after a good move started by former Gunner Abu Ogogo. The fixture began to get stale as the half wore on, so in search of the winner, Banfield made two positive changes. Afobe and Deacon were introduced in what would prove to be an inspired double switch.
Afobe first stung the palms of Roberts before he was finally beaten. Deacon exploded inside and from all of 20 yards, he snapped a left footed effort which gently rolled into the corner. Shea was on hand to save from goal hero Vincelot in the final moments, but the win was Arsenal’s.