Chester 3 Dagenham & Redbridge 0: John Still’s Daggers left feeling Blue after humbling defeat
PUBLISHED: 21:39 09 August 2016 | UPDATED: 09:19 10 August 2016
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National League: Chester 3 (Durrell 12, Shaw 24, Alabi 59) Dagenham & Redbridge 0
After the highs of an opening day win, Dagenham & Redbridge came crashing back down to earth after a miserable defeat at Chester.
The visitors started extremely slowly in Cheshire and were two goals down by the break, and were unable to improve in the second half.
Daggers boss John Still sprang no surprises in naming the same starting XI who had been so impressive against Southport on Saturday for the trip to the Deva Stadium.
That meant new signing Paul Benson had to settle for a place on the bench, with Josh Staunton, Chris Assombalonga and Frankie Raymond also among the substitutes.
Keen to make a fast start, Daggers playmaker Luke Guttridge tried his luck from 20 yards in the first minute, but his effort trickled wide of the posts.
At the other end, the hosts themselves had a good chance two minutes later, but Elliot Durrell’s free kick from the right narrowly evaded team mate Blaine Hudson.
Durrell was proving a menace in the opening exchanges and fired the Blues in front in the 12th minute.
The winger unleashed a scintillating 25-yard volley that flew past Elliot Justham and into the net.
Daggers continued to be pressured by Chester, who were keen to banish memories of a disappointing opening day loss at Gateshead.
That did not mean that Daggers were not threatening, though, as Fejiri Okenabirhie went close to scoring in a second straight match, firing just wide in the 22nd minute.
However, it was the Cheshire outfit who found the net next two minutes later, with another superb effort from distance.
Midfielder Tom Shaw tried his luck from 20 yards, curling the ball into the net to increase Daggers’ woe.
The Essex club so nearly fell further behind in the 28th minute, with striker James Alabi heading just wide for Chester.
Slowly, Daggers were growing into the match, with Jordan Maguire-Drew winning a free-kick in a central position in the 38th minute.
The on-loan Brighton & Hove Albion youngster stepped up to take the set piece, but curled his effort inches wide of the upright.
And with two minutes left in the half, Oliver Hawkins so nearly opened his account for the season, but was denied by a stunning save from Chester stopper Liam Roberts.
No goal was forthcoming as Daggers headed into the break two goals behind having been slow to get going in Cheshire.
In need of a quick start, the visitors won a free kick early in the second half for a foul on Guttridge, but it came to nothing.
Durrell, meanwhile, was chasing a brace, forcing Justham into a smart save in the 55th minute.
The visitors failed to heed the warning sides and conceded a third just four minutes later which ended the match as a contest.
A John Hunt corner from the left was delicately whipped in and nodded home by Alabi to make a tough night worse for Daggers.
By now, it was a case of damage limitation for the visitors as Alabi and Jordan Chappell went close to adding a fourth.
Benson came on with 13 minutes left for his first appearance in a Daggers shirt since August 28 2010, which may have lifted the away support’s mood a little.
Even that change, though, could not bring about a change in fortunes for the visitors in front of goal.
If Daggers ever needed a wake-up call as to how difficult the National League will be, this was surely it.
And there is no doubt Still will ensure the team fare far better when they hit the road again on Saturday, this time to Guiseley.
Chester: Roberts; Vassell, Hudson, Astle, Horwood (Mahon 74); Durrrell (Chapell 71), George, Shaw, Hunt; Alabi (Waters 82), Richards
Subs: Worsnop, Akintunde
Daggers: Justham; Williams, Doe, Robson, Widdowson; Boucaud (Staunton 68), Robinson; Maguire-Drew, Guttridge (Assombalonga 68), Okenabirhie; Hawkins (Benson 77)
Subs: Cousins, Raymond
Referee: Tom Nield