Sheffield Wednesday made a comfortable start to life in League One as they secured a first home victory since March against newly promoted Dagenham & Redbridge.
Wednesday began brightly, taking a 2-0 lead inside 15 minutes through a Scott Doe own goal and a debut strike from Clinton Morrison, and if the game went off the boil after the break Alan Irvine, for one, had no complaints. "I thought we were terrific in the first 30 minutes," the Wednesday manager said. "We played really well, created chances, got two goals, passed the ball well and the movement was good."
The Owls' relegation from the Championship in May has consigned them to only the eighth season of their 119 in League football outside of the top two tiers. For Dagenham, this is a first season in League One just three years after they entered the Football League. When Dagenham & Redbridge came into being in 1992 – with the merger of Redbridge Forest and Dagenham FC – Wednesday finished third in the old First Division under Trevor Francis.
For Wednesday, a winning start lifts a little of the gloom surrounding the club since their failure to beat Crystal Palace condemned them to the drop. They have endured a summer of turmoil with the club up for sale after Lee Strafford's departure as chairman and a transfer embargo imposed after the club received a winding-up petition from HM Revenue and Customs over a £550,000 unpaid tax bill.
The £1 million sale of goalkeeper Lee Grant to Burnley ensured the lifting of that embargo and Irvine brought in Nicky Weaver as his replacement.
As it was Weaver was hardly needed in the first half as Wednesday – who scored only two goals in five pre-season outings – seized control against opponents who, as their manager John Still admitted, looked "apprehensive".
Two of six newcomers in the starting XI combined to help produce the opening goal. Gary Teale swung in a corner that Giles Coke turned goalwards before Doe, reacting instinctively, headed into his own net.
Within 120 seconds it was two as Morrison struck a goal on his first appearance since joining from Coventry City. Chris Sedgwick nodded Teale's deep cross back into the six-yard box where Morrison found the space to turn and fire past Tony Roberts.
Morrison threatened another with a low volley while his strike partner Marcus Tudgay also went close with a header tipped over by Roberts.
Irvine is confident there is more to come from the 31-year-old Morrison. He said: "He's three weeks behind everybody in terms of fitness and preparation."
After Roberts had tipped over Tudgay's header, Dagenham began to assert themselves and fashioned a first chance of note for Romain Vincelot in the 38th minute, only for the Frenchman to shoot past the far post.
Dagenham's heads did not drop after the restart and after Jon Nurse had spurned a headed opportunity from Damien McCrory's corner, it took a superb defensive header from Mark Beevers to thwart Paul Benson and Peter Gain tested the backpedalling Weaver with a chip.
Still praised his side for their efforts. "We finished the game strongly. I've said to the players they've seen the benchmark today and we've shown we can compete at this level."Reuse content