Daggers crash to defeat away to Woking

PUBLISHED: 22:34 13 October 2020 | UPDATED: 22:35 13 October 2020

Kai Brown of Dagenham and Redbridge during Dagenham & Redbridge vs Wealdstone, Vanarama National League Football at the Chigwell Construction Stadium on 10th October 2020

Kai Brown of Dagenham and Redbridge during Dagenham & Redbridge vs Wealdstone, Vanarama National League Football at the Chigwell Construction Stadium on 10th October 2020

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National League: Woking 2 Dagenham & Redbridge 0

Charlee Adams of Dagenham and Redbridge during Dagenham & Redbridge vs Wealdstone, Vanarama National League Football at the Chigwell Construction Stadium on 10th October 2020Charlee Adams of Dagenham and Redbridge during Dagenham & Redbridge vs Wealdstone, Vanarama National League Football at the Chigwell Construction Stadium on 10th October 2020

Dagenham & Redbridge crashed to a third defeat in their opening four National League fixtures with a 2-0 loss away to Woking.

Boss Daryl McMahon made just two changes from the starting line-up that sealed a narrow 1-0 victory over Wealdstone on the weekend with Callum Reynolds and Myles Weston both missing out through injury and being replaced by Luke Croll and Sam Deering.

A fixture steeped in history, with the Surrey side having had many notable clashes with the Daggers, but this clash Daryl McMahon’s men would no doubt wish to erase from the history books.

Dagenham went into the match buoyed following their first victory of the season in front of the BT Sport cameras but any hopes of gaining momentum - dashed - by a mix of bad fortune coupled with a lack of concentration as well as quality up front.

It was a less than ideal start for the visitors, losing star man Paul McCallum through injury just three minutes in, the number 9 being replaced by Adrian Clifton.

And, that bad luck transpired into a slow start from the away side with the Cards having the lions’ share of possession - winning corners left, right and centre. The Daggers’ opening 10 minutes reminiscent of their first game of the season at Halifax; lumping it forward without any coherent playing style.

With little worthy of note, other than Woking corners in the first 19 minutes, the Daggers conceded a free-kick near the touch line about 25 yards out.

The first silly foul of the game, and the foul proved costly as Jack Cook headed in from a free-kick to give the hosts the lead. It just seemed to float into the far corner with ease; the Daggers therefore having to mount a quick response. Their first real chances came in quick succession; doing what they needed to do the visitors - attack.

Deering was the first to test keeper, Ross, forcing him into a save with a solid strike on target. Then substitute Clifton, who was dominant in the air, headed narrowly wide after a great ball into the box.

The Daggers showing their first glimpses of flare after growing into the game a little - 25 minutes in. But just as that creative flare was brought about; McMahon may as well have set an actual one off in a plea for help on the sideline!

As things just went from bad to worse, with Adrian Clifton hobbling off injured (aided by physio John Gowens) - the substitute being substituted. McQueen came on in his place and if he thought he had his work cut out, it was about to be made more difficult.

Little else could go wrong you’d think, but a Justham howler would see the home side’s lead double. Such a rare mistake from Justham: it just didn’t seem to be Dagenham’s night, as Malachi Napa’s 20 yard effort somehow found its way in.

Elliot Justham, dumbfounded - like every Dagenham fan who bared to witness the opening 30 minutes - picked the ball out of the net for the second time in half an hour.

With just under 15 minutes to go until the break, it was a somewhat of an uphill battle but not an impossible one - a two goal lead never a safe one.

Both sides with the knowledge that the next goal was crucial, the team in the ascendency looked to slow the game down at every opportunity. The main driver, skipper Josh Casey, looking to go to ground wherever possible and frustrate the opposition.

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The Daggers were unable to rediscover the 5 minute burst of momentum they had prior to the injury of substitute Clifton - going in at half-time with a two goal deficit to make up. A huge slice of bad luck; lapses in concentration at the back and overall lack of urgency saw Dagenham & Redbridge struggling at the interval.

The away side started on top in the second 45 though with Captain Kenny Clark showing his approval, exclaiming, “That’s more like it!” However, Dowsen’s men were adamant they weren’t going to throw away their lead with the hosts compact and well-organised in defence. They were equally relentless in attack the home side, as Spasov ran at the Daggers back line forcing Clark to concede a corner.

From which, McMahon’s men looked to counter with rapid McQueen leading the charge - he was brought down cynically leading to a yellow card.

The resulting free-kick just within the Woking half did however come to nothing, an early breakthrough was needed for Dagenham with 10 minutes played in the second half.

Elliot Johnson, looking to half the deficit made hay down the left but his cross wasn’t met by a teammate with enough power to threaten Ross in goal.

With the latter’s opposite number looking to redeem himself, he pulled off a save more representative of his capabilities, parrying a powerful effort from the edge of the box.

The Cards so nearly made it 3 on 65 minutes with successive chances; firstly from a free-kick conceded by Eleftheriou - for which he was booked. Then, the best of the chances, came from Cooper who was denied only by a last ditch block from a man in Dagenham yellow.

Instead of admitting defeat at 67 minutes, manager Daryl McMahon looked to salvage something from the game as new recruit Jaden Brissett came on for Kai Brown.

The latter had seen his effort rise over the bar just prior to making way for the former to make his debut. It was a fiery encounter between the two rival clubs with Angelo Balanta being the fourth Dagger to enter the ref’s book. The Colombian simply unable to get involved and on the ball enough for his liking - airing his frustration.

Time running out, and another half-chance was to go begging for the away side as Darren McQueen fired just wide.

It was good work from 19-year-old Jaden Brissett though to find McQueen but there was no goal to show for it. Cries for handball as the trailing side looked to mount a late surge; getting the ball into the opposition box.

However, those protests were waved away by the referee whose stopwatch didn’t make for great reading for the away side - was it too little too late.

The answer was yes, the Daggers offering no threat up top; as full time loomed another tame effort in the form of an Eleftheriou effort rolled into the hands of Ross. Four minutes additional time was of no help for Dagenham who fell to their third defeat in four games - a rather unimpressive start to say the least.

A lot to comment on from another painful loss for McMahon’s men on the pitch and many supporters writing it off as yet another night to forget.

Although, how easy it’ll be to just forget remains to be seen, with the extent of Clifton, and most notably Paul McCallum’s, injuries unknown there may be lasting scars from another battle lost at the Laithwaite.

Dagenham & Redbridge: Justham, Eleftheriou, Clark, Croll, Johnson, Brundle, Adams, Deering, Brown, Balanta, McCallum.

Unused subs: Strizovic, Wright, Brisett, McQueen, Clifton.

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