Lucky Daggers Make It Four In A Row

Second half substitute Jordan Maguire-Drew scored the winning goal in the dying embers of the match, when it looked all over for Dagenham & Redbridge. Youcef Dahmani reports.

Early on this match, it appeared all was going well for the Daggers. They were awarded a penalty in the opening five minutes of the game. However the club’s leading goal scorer, Oliver Hawkins, was unable to put it into the back of the net.

It was a sign of things to come, as the home side rode their luck against an impressive Chester side. The Daggers did manage to score through Jake Sheppard on the stroke of half time, but the visitors turned the game around after scoring two quick goals in the second half. Yet it was the Daggers who came out victorious, scoring two goals in the dying moments of the game.

Brilliant

The Daggers went into the match unbeaten in three, after pulling off a brilliant victory away at promotion candidates Tranmere Rovers. As a result, Daggers manager John Still opted to go with an unchanged line up.

Captain Scott Doe was again left on the bench, which meant that Shaun Donnellan and Craig Robson held the centre-back partnership.

The east London outfit were awarded a penalty in the fifth minute. Winger Fejiri Okenabirhie dribbled his way into the box and was then fouled by Blaine Hudson.

It was Hawkins, the league’s third top scorer, who stepped up to take the penalty, but Chester’s goal stopper Liam Roberts guessed the right way.

Fifteen minutes into the game saw a good chance for the away team to take the lead, but James Alabi’s attempted lob was easily caught by Elliot Justham.

It was the hosts who eventually took the lead in injury time of the first half, as home debutant Sheppard shot low with a powerful shot from a clearance, with the ball ending up in the bottom right-hand corner of the goal.

Momentum

The Daggers very nearly made it two before the break, after a Frankie Raymond free kick from 20 yards out came very close to beating Roberts at the far post.

Five minutes into the second half saw the team from Cheshire equalise. Hawkins mistakenly decided not to head the ball away, allowing Evan Horwood to get on the end of the ball. He then pinpointed Luke George who fired into the back of the net.

The momentum was now clearly with Chester and they took the lead nine minutes later. Theo Vassell’s brilliant run down the wing was followed by a lay off by Elliott Durrell to Tom Shaw, who curled it into the top corner.

Still reacted quickly by bringing on two substitutions. Luke Howell and Jordan Maguire-Drew replaced Raymond and Luke Guttridge.

Brighton and Hove loanee, Maguire-Drew almost made an immediate impact, but his attempt was cleared off the line in the 65th minute.

Chester could have made it three, with just under 20 minutes left of the game, when Durrell’s powerful free-kick from 25 yards out was well saved by Daggers’ goal stopper Justham.

Luck struck

However, luck stuck for the east London club as a second penalty was awarded with just five minutes left of the match.

Johnny Hunt was handed a straight red card for handling Shaun Donnellan’s header on the line. Roberts nearly made it two penalty saves on the day after getting a hand to Whitely’s spot kick, but the ball ended up in the back of the net.

With six minutes of injury time awarded, the Daggers pushed for a late winner, despite shouts from the crowd to hold on for the draw.

It was Daggers’ veteran Paul Benson who came very close as his header hit the bar. But good fortune struck again as the rebound fell for the substitute Maguire-Drew, who shot the ball first time from close range to earn the three points for the Daggers.

The Daggers will now search for a fifth straight win away at Southport on Saturday 11 February.

 

Daggers XI: Justham; Sheppard, Robson, Donnellan, Widdowson; Boucaud, Raymond (Howell 62); Whitely, Guttridge (Maguire-Drew 62), Okenabirhie (Benson 76); Hawkins.

Unused Subs: Cousins, Doe.

Chester XI: Roberts; Vassell, Hudson, Astles, Horwood (Hughes 75); Hunt, Shaw, George, Joyce; Durrell (O’Brien 90+6); Alabi.

Unused Subs: Lynch, Mahon, Waters

Attendance: 1,250 (161 away fans)