Dagenham crash to defeat at home to Stockport

Dagenham and Redbridge manager Daryl McMahon during Dagenham & Redbridge vs Grimsby Town, Emirates F

Dagenham and Redbridge manager Daryl McMahon during Dagenham & Redbridge vs Grimsby Town, Emirates FA Cup Football at the Chigwell Construction Stadium on 7th November 2020 - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Second half strikes from Richie Bennett and Alex Reid inflicted defeat on the Daggers as they fell to a 2-0 defeat to Stockport County.

After an evenly contested first half, County struck early in the second, with Richie Bennett firing home from close range.

Not long after, Reid scored a well-taken second, leaving the Daggers with a mountain to climb to get back into the game.

Angelo Balanta had two late efforts which almost gave Dagenham hope of getting something out of the game, but promotion chasing Stockport managed to hold on to inflict the Daggers first league defeat in three games.

The visitors began brightly and after only three minutes, they had the ball in the back of the net, following a deeply swung corner, only for the referee to blow for foul in the build-up.

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But the Daggers responded well, with Angelo Balanta’s left-footed volley drifting over the crossbar after 12 minutes of play.

The hosts were growing into the game and in the 19th minute, Joey Jones surged down the right-hand side, before picking Paul McCallum out at the far post with a deep cross. From a difficult angle, the forward could only head the ball inches over the bar.

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However, Justham needed to remain vigilant at the other end, with the Daggers defending multiple corners. The third of which, taken by top scorer John Rooney in the 22nd minute, looked destined for the back of the net, but for a spectacular save from the Daggers number one.

With ten minutes left before the break, the Daggers were pressing hard in search of an opener. However, Stockport broke at Justham’s goal, with the ball falling kindly for Reid before his dangerous low cross was directed inches away from an unmarked Sam Minihan in the centre of the box.

Five minutes later, Daryl McMahon’s men had an excellent opportunity of their own, when a Jones’ teasing cross from the right-hand side almost finds Liam Gordon at the far post, with the defender unable to convert.

Just before the break, Stockport almost broke through the stubborn Daggers defence when excellent link up play freed Minihan inside the penalty area, but a defender was able to hack the ball clear, enabling Balanta to break free on goal, only for Ben Hinchcliffe to smother the ball on the edge of his area.

Whatever Jim Gannon had said to his players at the break must have worked as the visitors were comfortably controlling play in the middle of the pitch.

And after five minutes, the visitors made the breakthrough when a powerful effort from Rooney was parried by Justham, before Bennett fired home from close range.

The Daggers were struggling to get a foot hold in the second period and in the 62nd minute, Stockport forward Reid closed Justham down to block a goal kick, only to see the ball dribble agonisingly wide.

In an effort to get back into the game, McMahon brought Scott Wilson and Darren McQueen on, in place of Gordon and Mitch Brundle. However, they soon found themselves two goals behind, courtesy of a well taken shot from Reid, who beat Justham from just outside the area in the 67th minute.

With less than 20 minutes to play, substitute McQueen started to show his quality, beating his man down the right-hand side, but his low cross was cut out by Liam Hogan before being cleared to safety.

Balanta was the next Dagger to try his luck at Hinchcliffe’s goal in the 82nd minute, but after working his way into space on the edge of the area, his ferocious effort was skewed wide of the upright.

Two minutes later, Balanta was once again in the thick of the action, as Stockport looked to slow the game down and secure the three points, with his low curled shot drifting into the arms of the Stockport shot stopper.

Dagenham almost nicked a goal right at the death, as Matt Robinson’s excellent cross found a teammate at the far post, but Hinchliffe was alert to make a fine save.

But the Hatters were able to see the game out and secure all three points.

Dagenham & Redbridge: Justham,  Eleftheriou, Jones (Johnson 45'), Reynolds, Croll, Gordon (McQueen 65'), Brundle (Scott Wilson 65'), Robinson, Deering, Balanta, McCallum.

Unused Subs: Strizovic, Saunders.

Stockport County: Hinchcliffe, Minihan, Hogan, Maynard, Rooney, Bennett (Jennings 88'), Kitching, Stott (Thomas 76'), Keane, Croasdale, Reid (Williams 76').

Unused Subs: Barnes, Palmer.

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