Daggers suffer defeat to Halifax Town on opening day

PUBLISHED: 17:51 03 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:51 03 October 2020

Dagenham manager Daryl McMahon during Hornchurch vs Dagenham & Redbridge, Friendly Match Football at Hornchurch Stadium on 5th September 2020

Dagenham manager Daryl McMahon during Hornchurch vs Dagenham & Redbridge, Friendly Match Football at Hornchurch Stadium on 5th September 2020

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National League: Halifax Town 2 Dagenham & Redbridge 0

Dagenham & Redbridger suffered a 2-0 defeat to Halifax Town on the opening day of the new much delayed National League season.

The game got underway, the first for either side in competitive football for the best part of seven months, both teams were battling it out early on in the Yorkshire drizzle at the Shay.

The home side hit the post, as a curling effort from Jeff King almost opened the scoring ; it was a very slow start from the Daggers as Halifax were getting in behind the back line. They were very lucky not to be behind were Dagenham early on with the hosts hitting the woodwork.

A very slow start, like the streaming service, which experienced some teething problems - not starting until 10 minutes into the encounter.

Fouls were being conceded left, right and centre by McMahon’s men who just couldn’t settle down early on. Every attempt they made to get it forward in a bid to relieve pressure and get on the front foot saw a man in blue intercept and put the pressure back on.

A long ball from Justham did manage to beat the Halifax back line but Darren McQueen was just unable to get a toe on the ball.

With 30 minutes gone, the Daggers started to string some passes together with moves breaking down just inside the final third. The side from East London were growing into the game after a slow start; beginning to sharpen up a little with more energy on display.

The Daggers were looking to utilise Darren McQueen down the right as half-time approached with the number 17 having the pace to get the better of the defence.

He was had a better start than McCallum as the number nine was unable to dominate in the air early on - Nathan Clark did well to keep him quiet. The Shaymen opted for the counter as the half wore on with new signing Nepomuceno the target man - Eleftheriou doing his best to stop the Town’s advance.

On the other side of the visitors’ defence, it was Johnson getting forward, he crossed into the area and the ball almost ended up in the net after a miscue from a Town defender.

The number three was making a great impression in the latter part of the half; getting forward down the wing and putting the ball in the danger area.

It was in a very dangerous area that Kenny Clark has the ball moments later though - in his own box! He ultimately lost possession then so nearly conceded a penalty for handball. The referee didn’t give that, but did point to the spot for a foul from the Daggers skipper on Jeff King.

It was Summerfield then who converted from the spot as he sent Justham the wrong way.

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This, all on the stroke of half time, as the Daggers were perhaps deservedly 1-0 down following a poor showing in the first ‘45. Little in the way of creativity; not winning second balls; conceding chances at the back.

The Dagenham supporters on Twitter were looking for more from their side in the second half as Robinson made way for Luke Croll - McMahon moving to three at the back.

It wasn’t the start to the new campaign we were expecting from the away side, but the strikers seemed isolated up top and unable to impact the game.

The visitors won a free-kick with the second half kicking off - the Halifax goal scorer fouling Eleftheriou - the ball was whipped in but McCallum’s header was plucked out the air by keeper, Sam Johnson.

The Daggers were in search of a quick response as McQueen chased the ball over the top - pressing high - and forced Sam Johnson to clear the ball out of play. It was better from the away side who committed men forward and won themselves a corner after good work from Paul McCallum. The corner though, was whipped in by Johnson and well dealt with by the Blues.

On the counter, Halifax looked to double their lead as new recruit Amotayo; headed narrowly wide. The Daggers looked much sharper in the opening stages of the second half, still though, without the allusive leveller and wary of conceding a second.

With the risk of committing men forward comes being left slightly open at the back and that was the case for Dagenham as King put in a troubling, low cross - it was smothered by Justham.

There was still little in the way of chances for the Daggers and they would soon pay for that wasted possession. Good interplay in the final third, coupled with poor defending, saw Earing fire it into the bottom corner. Never really using the ball well when they had the lions’ share of possession; McMahon’s men faced a huge uphill challenge.

The Daggers were two down and it was so nearly three with momentum swinging hugely in Halifax’s favour. Daryl made more changes with Deering coming on for McQueen and then Clifton on for Brundle - in the hope of salvaging a point.

Though time was against the away side with just 10 minutes left on the clock and the men in white with a two goal deficit to make up.

Deering looked lively, winning the ball back in midfield, but still there were a few misplaced passes in the middle of the park - lacking real quality were the away side.

The number seven then dragged his shot wide after Paul McCallum set it back to him on the edge of the box - Johnson had hardly been threatened all game by Dagenham. Deering did then win a free-kick on the edge of the box but that was put over the bar by McCallum - equally inadequate.

90 minutes approached and it looked as though McCallum may have been fouled in the area; but the referee summed up Dagenham’s afternoon as he gave it the other way.

And, the 3 minutes added time wasn’t enough time for McMahon’s men to avoid opening day defeat at The Shay as the full time whistle blew. Three points then, a must, on Tuesday back at Victoria Road for Dagenham, as they face the threat of being six points adrift of the leaders otherwise.

If they are to win against the Bees, they will need to put in a much-improved performance to the one they put in today - the upcoming opponents won’t be full of confidence either going into the game off the back of a 5-1 defeat to Eastleigh.

Opening day defeat for Daryl McMahon and his side but it’s still very early days for his new squad - 45 games remaining.

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