Daggers play-off hopes ended with defeat to Aldershot Town

Dagenham and Redbridge manager Daryl McMahon during Dagenham & Redbridge vs Altrincham, Vanarama Nat

Dagenham and Redbridge manager Daryl McMahon during Dagenham & Redbridge vs Altrincham, Vanarama National League Football at the Chigwell Construction Stadium - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Dagenham’s play-off hopes were seemingly ended at Victoria Road, as a lacklustre display saw Daryl McMahon’s side condemned to a 2-0 defeat.

A Jon Nouble goal fifteen seconds into the second half was enough to seal the deal for Danny Searle’s Aldershot.

A sunny Easter Monday, the Shots were in town, seeking to inflict a second defeat on McMahon’s side, as they had managed in the reverse fixture.

A big setback for the hosts, it seemed, as Myles Weston was absent from the team sheet; requiring others to step up to the plate and get that attacking creativity flowing.

After a minute’s silence to pay tribute to the late Yeovil Town captain, Lee Collins, the Daggers got the match underway. The opening minutes saw half-chances for both sides, whose equal inconsistency this season made them well-matched opponents.

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Angelo Balanta was the man looking to make things happen in the midfield, stimulating some sort of creativity, though his first cross into the box could only find the hands of ‘keeper Mitch Walker.

Soon, the Colombian was on the end of a cross, this time from an Eleftheriou corner – Balanta’s header though glanced wide of the mark.

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Looking to make their mark, the Shots countered, but the resultant effort was tame and caused Justham no trouble.

Danny Searle’s men then won a corner a few minutes later; but it was cleared and on fifteen minutes – the deadlock was yet to be broken. A rather stop, start game of football with little in the way of momentum for either side.

However, there were two consecutive Daggers chances coming from the left flank but both Rance and McCallum saw their headed efforts fly agonisingly wide.

On twenty minutes, the home side saw their defenders on thin ice, both Clark and Jones booked within two minutes.

After a five minute lull in play, the Dagenham defence were caught unawares as a ball over the top by Panayiotou saw Lyles Foster shoot just over – squandering a golden opportunity.

The game suddenly sparking into life, Josh Rees forced Justham to tip a header over from eight yards; the Daggers countered from the resultant corner – that particular attack petering out.

The Shots were beginning to turn up the pressure with a good five minute spell as the half-hour mark just passed – getting it up to their attackers – probing and winning set-pieces. But, the score remained 0-0.

The Daggers sought a response, but Gordon’s deflected cross saw the Visitors scramble clear and then go on the break.

That counter, leading to a free-kick and a hat-trick of bookings for the hosts’ defence – the outcome of the free-kick being a Mo Bettamer header wide.

Approaching half-time, Bettamer did find a breakthrough after the pressure built on the hosts’ defence – putting away a penalty from 12 yards – following a handball.

It was the away side who lead at the break and a frustrated Dagenham side had to regroup and go again in the second-half – a much-improved performance required.

McMahon made a straight swap at the break as Reynolds came on in place of Joey Jones. However, he lost his man in the box within twenty seconds and saw the ball hit the back of the net!

Nouble smashed home from close-range; a flying-start for the away side in the second half – for the hosts, they now had a whole lot to answer for.

Looking to provide a response, George Saunders stood a great ball up to the back post, but there was no man in red to connect with it.

The lack of an immediate reaction prompted McMahon to make changes, a double-change as Saunders and Eleftheriou made way for McQueen and Vilhete – reverting to a back four.

Despite the change in personnel, the hosts remained under the cosh as they nearly conceded a third; Edser heading wide from point-blank range!

Thirty minutes remaining, the home side looked to be getting their act together, taking control of the possession but still not threatening Walker in the Aldershot goal.

A ten minutes favourable for the Shots, passed by with little worthy of note, however entering the 71st minute – Dagenham piled on the pressure. The trailing side saw shots blocked left, right and centre trying to pull a goal back – time ticking away.

The yellows began to push back against the hosts’ spell of possession and attack themselves – although they couldn’t get a third their grip tightened on three points every passing second.

 A late Daggers resurgence was on the cards, but it rested on McQueen finishing a chance on 84 minutes, that he didn’t manage and Walker’s clean sheet remained.

It was Vilhete who ensured the score-line remained at just 0-2, as he did well to track back and deny Searle’s side a third – halting the Shots counter on halfway.

A consolation goal so nearly came for McMahon’s side on ninety minutes as Rance’s headed effort from three yards forced Walker to tip over.

The three additional minutes weren’t enough for the Daggers to mount a late, late comeback and it was Danny Searle’s men who took all three points at Victoria Road – seemingly ending Dagenham & Redbridge’s play-off hopes.

The 2-0 defeat topping off an Easter weekend the hosts would want to forget pretty quickly - being defeated twice – left having to pick themselves up going into the match away to Bromley on Saturday.

Daggers: Justham, Wright, Clark, Jones (’45 Reynolds), Eleftheriou (’55 McQueen), Gordon, Rance, Robinson, Saunders (’55 Vilhete), Balanta, McCallum

Unused Subs: Sagaf, Khan

Aldershot: Walker, Fowler, Sendles-White, Rees, Bettamer (’78 Kinsella), Panayiotou (’81 Miller), Nouble, Anderson, Edser, Ogie, Lyons-Foster

Unused Subs: Rowe, Colombie, Hinds

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