Daggers pay the penalty at Cambridge
16:52 06 February 2016
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Cambridge United 1 Dagenham & Redbridge 0
Dagenham & Redbridge’s winless run stretched to three games following a defeat at Cambridge United.
Both sets of players looked to be struggling in blustery conditions at the Abbey Stadium with very little skill on show.
A late penalty proved the difference for the hosts as the visitors’ trudged home with nothing to show for their efforts.
John Still made three changes for the trip up the M11 with Dom Hyam and Luke Guttridge handed their full debuts as Daggers switched to a 4-4-1-1.
Hyam came into at the expense of Clevid Dikamona while Guttridge took over in midfield from Andre Boucaud, playing just off striker Christian Doidge.
Joe Widdowson was the other man to come into the squad, taking over from Justin Hoyte whose fiancé had gone into labour prior to the match.
There was also a familiar face in the home line-up with former Dagenham loanee James Dunne starting.
Daggers enjoyed a good period of possession early on, but with little reward to shpow for it.
Guttridge blazed over from close range with his weaker left foot while Joss Labadie tried his luck from 30 yards both within the opening 10 minutes.
But the visitors were lucky not to fall behind in the 11th minute when they were hit on the counter, with Dunne eventually shooting over from the edge of the area.
Entertainment in the opening 20 minutes was rare, though matters were perhaps not helped by referee Carl Boyeson choosing to hand each player a warning after a foul.
The wind was also far from helpful with a strong gale blowing around the Abbey Stadium, but it almost gifted Daggers the lead in the 23rd minute.
Ashley Hemmings’ cross from the left was spilled by Will Norris in the home goal, but Ashley Chambers’ follow up was cleared off the line and away from danger.
It almost proved a costly miss as from the goal kick, U’s broke up field and were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box.
The defending wall blocked Luke Berry’s initial shot before a scramble ensued, with Jimmy Spencer eventually firing over much to Daggers’ relief.
It seemed to spark the home team into life, though, as another quick counter followed with Dunne firing into the arms of Mark Cousins from 20 yards.
A few players were also struggling with the pitch and a slip from Josh Passley in the 35th minute almost led to the opener.
Cambridge took full advantage of the gap in defence, running through the hole before Luke Berry saw his effort pushed behind by Cousins for a corner that was cleared.
The second half continued much the same as the first, but Daggers needed Hyam to clear off his own line early after the restart.
Both teams continued to struggle to show any kind of skill, but Daggers went close with 13 minutes remaining with a quick counter attack.
Guttridge looked to find Hemmings in the box, but the ball was cleared for a corner that narrowly missed Worrall’s head.
Almost immediately, U’s went down the other end with Robbie Simpson testing Cousins shortly after coming on.
With neither side creating much, one goal was likely to be all that was needed for a win and U’s were awarded a great chance when Worrall tripped Simpson in the box.
Berry stepped up to take the resulting spot kick, sending the despairing Mark Cousins the wrong way with eight minutes left on the clock.
That was all that was needed to beat Daggers, who missed a good chance to pull themselves closer to safety at the foot of League Two
Cambridge: Norris, Legge, Berry, Page, Dunk, Coulson, Dunne, Spencer (Simpson 72), Williamson, Ledson (Donaldson 63), Furlong
Unused subs: Beasant, Omozusi, Roberts, O’Neill, Horne
Daggers: Cousins; Passley, Worrall, Hyam, Widdowson; Chambers (Jones 89), Labadie, Guttridge (Cureton 86), Muldoon Hemmings; Doidge (Hawkins 86)
Subs: O’Brien, Dikamona, Boucaud, Raymond
Attendance: 4, 494 (including 258 Daggers fans)
Referee: Carl Boyeson