Southport 1 Dagenham & Redbridge 4: Daggers come from behind to beat Sandgrounders and earn fifth straight win
PUBLISHED: 16:54 11 February 2017
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National League: Southport 1 (Allen 24p) Dagenham & Redbridge 4 (Maguire-Drew 34, Cundy o.g. 37, Okenabirhie 42, Whitely 77p)
Dagenham & Redbridge made it five wins in a row for the first time this season with a comfortable 4-1 success away to Southport in the National League.
Despite going behind to a penalty midway through the first half and not playing all that well, the Essex club held a two-goal cushion at the break after three quick-fire goals.
Strikes from Jordan Maguire-Drew and Fejiri Okenabirhie bookended an own goal from Sangrounders defender Robbie Cundy to complete the first-half turnaround.
The second half was a little lacking in terms of action, though Corey Whitely was able to add a penalty after being fouled in the box by Cundy, who was sent off for the indiscretion.
Daggers made just the one change for the trip to Haig Avenue, with last weekend’s matchwinner Maguire-Drew replacing Luke Guttridge, who dropped out altogether.
Maguire-Drew’s inclusion saw him line up on the right wing, with Whitely moving into the number 10 role, while Craig Robson took the captain’s armband.
On the bench, there was a first appearance in a matchday squad for Jake Howells following his arrival from Eastleigh, while Sam Ling also returned.
Daggers looked second best early on, though neither side could fashion much in the way of a clear-cut chance.
The Essex club were swiftly closed down when in possession by the Sandgrounders, which was to be expected with new boss Andy Preece taking charge for the first time.
The game’s first shot in anger came in the 18th minute and went the way of Southport as Ben McKenna fired in a half-volley from 18 yards, but it went wide of the far post.
Six minutes later, Daggers gifted the Merseyside a penalty when Cundy, who was trying to reach a long free-kick, was pulled back by Joe Widdowson in the box.
Jamie Allen stepped up to take the spot-kick and fired it down the middle, with Elliot Justham diving to his right and unable to prevent Southport from taking the lead.
With 10 minutes left in the half, Daggers were awarded a bizarre free-kick after Southport stopper Mason Springthorpe collected the ball a good five yards outside his area.
From the resulting free-kick, which was left of centre around 20 yards out, Maguire-Drew curled the ball into the top corner via the post to level the scores.
Just three minutes later, the Victoria Road side took the lead, with the goal again coming in slightly fortuitous circumstances.
A long free-kick from just inside the Southport half created some confusion in their defence, with the ball eventually dropping to Okenabirhie on the left edge of the six-yard box.
The former Harrow Borough winger drilled the ball across the area, with Southport defender Cundy diverting it past Springthorpe and into the net.
Goal number three arrived in the 42nd minute with Okenabirhie involved again having been played in by striker Oliver Hawkins.
From a tight angle, the ex-Arsenal trainee rifled home past Springthorpe to extend the Essex club’s lead, but received a booking for celebrating with the travelling fans.
Daggers were able to maintain their lead into half-time, but needed Justham to tip a chipped half-volley from Andrai Jones over the bar five minutes into the second half to maintain their two-goal cushion.
Jones tested Justham again in the 66th minute, this time with a header from a Ryan Higgins long throw, but again the Daggers keeper was well behind the effort.
It was turning into a good battle between the pair, with the Southport forward firing a half-volley on the turn from 20 yards just wide of Justham’s goal two minutes later.
Despite their lead, Daggers were coming under increasing pressure, though Whitely was able to launch a counter attack with 20 minutes remaining.
The ex-Enfield Town attacker passed to Okenabirhie who was just inside the Southport half and sped towards the area at pace.
Once there, though, his effort from 18 yards was tame and comfortably collected by Springthorpe.
With just 13 minutes remaining, Daggers were awarded a penalty of their own when Whitely was held back from reaching an Okenabirhie header on the line by Cundy, who was dismissed.
The former Tottenham Hotspur trainee dusted himself down to take the spot kick, calmly dispatching it past Springthorpe to seal the win.
Just four minutes later, Daggers went close to a fifth when Shaun Donnellan narrowly headed a Maguire-Drew free-kick past the far post.
With the Victoria Road side in a commanding position, there was time to hand Howells a debut, coming on for Maguire-Drew for the final seven minutes.
Daggers were able to see out the remainder of the match with minimal fuss, and will go in search of a sixth straight win at home to Guiseley next Saturday.
Southport (4-4-2): Springthorpe; Higgins, Murray, Cundy, Ashton; McKenna (White 80), Weeks, Nolan, McKeown; Allen, Jones
Subs: Priestley, Grimes, Cofie
Sent off: Cundy 77 (professional foul)
Daggers (4-2-3-1): Justham; Sheppard, Robson, Donnellan, Widdowson; Boucaud, Raymond; Maguire-Drew (Howells 83), Whitely (Benson 85), Okenabirhie; Hawkins
Subs: Cousins, Doe, Benson, Ling
Attendance: 845 (including 76 Daggers fans)
Referee: Andrew Miller