Relegation troubles deepen for Dagenham & Redbridge
PUBLISHED: 21:36 15 March 2016 | UPDATED: 21:36 15 March 2016
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Sky Bet League Two: Oxford United 4 Dagenham & Redbridge 0
Dagenham & Redbridge were taught something of a football lesson by Oxford United on a difficult night for the League Two strugglers.
The visitors struggled from the start against a U’s side pushing for promotion, and should have been a lot more than a goal down by half time.
Oxford were able to make better use of their dominance after half time to pile further pressure on the league’s bottom side.
Daggers made four changes from Saturday’s defeat at Hartlepool United, including a return for skipper Joss Labadie after serving a two-game ban.
Ashley Chambers, Oliver Hawkins and Dom Hyam also came into the starting XI, with Andre Boucaud and Christian Doidge dropping to the bench.
Clevid Dikamona and Ashley Hemmings missed out altogether, while there was a spot on the bench for new loan signing Quade Taylor after joining from Bolton.
The visitors were more than holding their own early on, but were given a reminder of the hosts’ dangerman when Kemar Roofe headed just over in the eighth minute.
Daggers were tested again three minutes later when a ball into the box found Callum O’Dowda, but he could only head straight at Liam O’Brien.
By now, the east Londoners were under mounting, with O’Brien stopping two brilliant efforts in the space of a 60 seconds in the 13th minute.
Alex McDonald nearly rounded off a superb solo goal with a chipped effort that the keeper caught, while Roofe tried to slide one home after a quick counter.
O’Brien’s resolve was broken two minutes later, though, as Roofe was able to find the net with a placed effort, low into the corner from the edge of the box.
The Daggers keeper was becoming increasingly busy and had to make a double save 15 minutes later.
O’Brien first denied Liam Sercombe from the edge of the box, but had to react quickly to deny Roofe a second with his leg after the Oxford man got to the rebound.
In the remaining minutes of the half, O’Brien had to bail the visitors out on more than one occasion, stopping home skipper Johnny Mullins and a Justin Hoyte deflection.
There was a brief glimmer of hope for Daggers four minutes before half time when Josh Passley shot from 25 yards, but the effort was straight at Benji Buchel.
Dagenham continued to be pressured at the second half, with Roofe’s second coming within five minutes of the restart.
A quick counter attack saw George Waring head the ball into the bath of the attacker, who poked the ball past an onrushing O’Brien and into the net.
Daggers, though, created a rare chance of their own a few minutes later after good work in the box from Hawkins.
The tall striker laid the pall into the path of Matty Cash who went for goal, but Buchel was behind the effort.
Cash was starting to offer himself more as an attacking outlet, forcing Buchel to save a cross-shot from the left in the 57th minute.
But the hosts kept pressing and Daggers were fortunate not to fall further behind four minutes later when Roofe blazed over from close range after a swift break
In between the wave of U’s attacks, Daggers forced another chance in the 67th minute after great harrying from Christian Doidge.
The Welshman blocked a kick from Buchel before passing to fellow substitute Jamie Cureton, who put his half volley over from the edge of the area.
If the visitors thought they were playing their way back into the match, they were proved wrong with O’Brien brilliantly denying Roofe again with 15 minutes left.
Daggers had a another let off in the 78th minute as Danny Hylton hit the bar from close range less than a minute after coming on.
It was a chance that seemed to spur the hosts on, with McDonald scoring their third with a close range header less than a minute later.
There was still enough time for Roofe to complete his hat trick from close range five minutes from time to round off a miserable evening for the east Londoners.
Oxford: Buchel; Kenny, Mullins, Dunkley, Skarz; McDonald, Sercombe (Ashby 83), Lundstram (Ruffels 88), O’Dowda; Roofe; Waring (Hylton 77)
Unused subs: Slocombe, Wright, Maguire, Bowery
Daggers: O’Brien; Hoyte, Worrall, Hyam, Widdowson; Passley (Jones 72), Labadie, Muldoon, Chambers (Cureton 55); Cash; Hawkins (Doidge 55)
Unused subs: Cousins, Boucaud, McClure, Taylor
Attendance: 5,319 (including 84 Daggers fans)
Referee: Tim Robinson