Dagenham & Redbridge 2 Forest Green Rovers 1: Late Scott Doe header sees Daggers down Rovers
- Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo
National League: Dagenham & Redbridge 2 (Maguire-Drew 52, Doe 90) Forest Green Rovers 1 (Doidge 81)
A late header from Scott Doe handed Dagenham & Redbridge all three points against National League promotion rivals Forest Green Rovers.
Daggers controlled much of the first half at Victoria Road, but were unable to show anything for it at the break.
A goal early in the second half from Jordan Maguire-Drew looked to set Daggers on their way to victory, but the Essex club began to tire.
And with less than 10 minutes remaining on the clock, former Daggers forward Christian Doidge headed home to level the scores.
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That goal seemed to spring Daggers back in to life and with time running out, up stepped skipper Doe to head home the winner.
Daggers made two changes for the clash, with Maguire-Drew and Corey Whitely both returning to the starting XI, the latter after serving a three-game ban.
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Frankie Raymond dropped to the bench, while Luke Guttridge dropped out altogether after starting at Gateshead last week.
Starting for the visitors was striker Doidge, who spent two years at Daggers before leaving in the summer.
Before kick-off, it was announced that Daggers manager John Still had signed a new two-year contract, with his previous deal set to expire in the summer.
The good news nearly continued just three minutes into the match, but Maguire-Drew’s curling shot from 18 yards was saved by FGR keeper Sam Russell.
Daggers, though, nearly gifted Forest Green the lead in the 12th minute after a defensive mix-up at the back between Shaun Donnellan and Elliot Justham.
Donnellan’s pass to the keeper was short, allowing Doidge to jab it into the path of fellow striker Kaiyne Woolery.
With the goal at his mercy, though, the Forest Green attacker could only fire his effort straight at Doe, who did brilliantly to recover on clear on the line.
It was an enjoyable match being played at a frantic pace, though both sides struggled to create much in the way of clear-cut chances.
That was until the 26th minute, when Maguire-Drew cut inside and crossed for Hawkins, who narrowly nodded over the bar.
Two minutes later, a swift counter-attack from Daggers resulted in Jake Sheppard testing Russell from 25 yards.
With 13 minutes left in the half, Sheppard tried his luck from distance, this time with his left foot, and drew an acrobactic save from Russell.
Momentum was firmly with Daggers, if not the scoreline, with Maguire-Drew next to go agonisingly close in the 36th minute.
After being played in brilliantly by Whitely, the on-loan Brighton & Hove Albion youngster clipped the bar with a delightful effort from just inside the area.
It was the closest either team came to opening the scoring in the first 45 minutes as they went into half time goalless.
Just seven minutes into the second half, though, Daggers found the breakthrough when Maguire-Drew struck.
The ball found its way to Fejiri Okenabirhie on the left flank, who weaved his way past two defenders before sliding a pass into the box.
His low cross went all the way to the back post, where Maguire-Drew was on hand to tap in his 11th goal of the season.
Daggers went close to doubling their lead in the 59th minute with Andre Boucaud through on goal.
However, once in the box, the midfielder checked back inside before sliding the ball to Maguire-Drew, who was tackled and with that the chance was gone.
The more the match went on, Daggers were looking increasingly tired and were pegged back in the 81st minute.
On his return to Victoria Road, it was almost inevitable that Doidge would find the net and so it proved as he headed in a cross from the left by Marcus Kelly.
It seemed the match would be heading for a draw until the final minute, when Doe headed in a Frankie Raymond free-kick to send the home crowd delirious.
It proved the match-winning moment, and Daggers will hope to carry that momentum with them on the long trip to Barrow next Saturday.
Daggers (4-2-3-1): Justham; Sheppard, Doe, Donnellan (Staunton 46), Widdowson; Boucaud, Robson; Maguire-Drew (Raymond 78), Whitely, Okenabirhie; Hawkins (Benson 85)
Subs: Cousins, Grant
Forest Green (4-1-2-1-2): Russell; Bennett, Ellis, Pinnock, Wishart (Kelly 60); Sinclair (Robert 65), Cooper, Noble, Carter (Bugiel 60; Doidge, Woolery
Subs: Traore, Wedgbury
Referee: Craig Hicks
Attendance: Not given