Maidenhead United are hoping for some Ex-Factor to cure their heartache in the FA Cup. The Magpies have no fewer than four former Dagenham & Redbridge players in their line up as they look to overcome the Daggers and secure a place in Round Two for the first time in 136 years. Messrs Dan Sparkes, Kane Ferdinand, Adrian Clifton and Charlee Adams you feel will be extra motivated to re-write club history. In fact, Redbridge-born Adams is himself ‘Made In Dagenham’.
The tie will be no easy task for the Magpies. The Daggers have a good recent record against United, winning each of the last four National League games against Maidenhead. Of the ten goals the Essex side have scored in that sequence of matches, five were scored by the prolific Paul McCallum who missed the 4-1 home win against Wealdstone last Saturday. If there is any doubt as to his availability for Daryl McMahon for this cup tie then the away side will at least be able to call on Junior Morias who has himself always enjoyed playing – and scoring – against Alan Devonshire’s team. Much National League talk is about deadly strike-duos at Notts County and Wrexham but the Daggers front pairing is comparable with the best in the division.
That 4-1 win last time out was typical of the Daggers form this season. Other than Barnet and Wrexham, matches involving Dagenham are the highest scoring matches in the division. Other than Dean Brennan’s Bees, McMahon’s men have conceded more goals than any other side in the top half. In fact they have conceded thirteen more goals in seventeen league matches than Maidenhead have in the same amount games. Seven of Maidenhead’s National League games have ended in a ‘one-nil’ score line. Therefore this is game seems to be a case of ‘Binary versus Extraordinary’.
The two teams have met once already this season and the result was one of those seven single-goal Maidenhead encounters. McCallum scored a first half winner but Dagenham ‘keeper Elliot Justham was voted sponsors man of the match as he pulled off a string of fine saves in the closing stages to secure the win. In the opposite goal, Tik Tok star Alexis Andre Jr will be looking to keep Alan Devonshire and his 4 million followers happy with another strong performance after a clean sheet on debut against Bromley last Saturday at York Road and a remarkable performance in midweek at Wrexham. You would expect that he would have another busy day on his hands tomorrow.
The last time Maidenhead won an FA Cup first-round tie was at South Reading FC in a match played somewhat geographically-confusingly at Caversham Cricket Club in 1886. Since then, each side they have entertained in the competition proper at York Road has been a division or more higher in the pyramid. Therefore this would seem to be their best chance on paper to progress since Queen Victoria was on the throne. Dagenham beware the vengeful ex.
Tickets for the cup tie are available to pre-purchase online via Maidenhead United vs Dagenham & Redbridge | The Emirates FA Cup 1st Round | Maidenhead United Web (ktckts.com) or at the York Road turnstiles tomorrow afternoon.