Dagenham & Redbridge 1-2 AFC Fylde
DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE suffered a potentially damaging Vanarama National League defeat as an Alex Whitmore header in the fourth minute of stoppage time handed fellow strugglers, AFC Fylde, all three points at the Chigwell Construction Stadium.
The damp conditions far from wet the appetite for a tense relegation battle in the suburbs. Nevertheless, a hardy crowd of just over four-figures were offered an honest, although understandably, scruffy contest.
The home side started marginally the brighter. Ben House’s early header was rebuffed, while Angelo Balanta fired into the side netting after House had charged down an attempted clearance from Coasters stopper, Josh Lillis. Meanwhile, Tom Walker was wayward as the visitors offered a threat of their own.
A speculative effort from Mark Yeates did very little to trouble Elliot Justham, while Myles Weston tested Lillis as genuine chances continued to come at a premium. Soon after, Justham was forced to dirty his gloves when Dan Bradley fired goalwards, then Weston was again thwarted by Lillis as the contest began to warm up.
Mitch Brundle was close to following up Saturday’s winner at Aldershot – the midfielder whistling just over following a cleverly worked free-kick with Sam Deering shortly before the interval.
But initially having offered little it was Fylde who snatched the lead immediately after the restart. Walker arrived at the far post to finish, this after Jordan Williams had fashioned an opening from the right.
Faced with a conundrum, Daggers almost responded immediately. Lillis saved from Weston – Alex Whitmore then putting his body on the line to clear any further danger. Meanwhile, Justham blocked from Bradley as the Coasters looked to double their priceless advantage.
The home side introduced Chike Kandi and Alex Reid in a bid to pep up their floundering front line. Brundle was unable to supply a telling touch as Daryl McMahon’s men continued to toil fruitlessly.
Balanta’s effort was comfortably rebuffed by Lillis but with ten minutes remaining, Dagenham restored parity. Brundle arrived to supply the simplest of finishes from close range – Liam Gordon the architect, much to the relief of the home crowd.
But deep into stoppage-time Flyde were to claim all three points. Whitmore nodded home from close range, sparking wild scenes of celebration amongst the visiting players and their hardy band of fourteen travelling fans.
Despite the defeat, Dagenham remains three points and three places above the dropzone.
Dagenham & Redbridge return to Vanarama National League action on Saturday, March 14 when they take on Woking at the Kingfield Stadium (3pm).
Dagenham & Redbridge: Elliot Justham, Liam Gordon, Manny Onariase, Luk Croll, Kenny Clark (Capt), Mitch Brundle, Angelo Balanta, Matt Robinson (Alex Reid 76’), Sam Deering, Ben House (Chike Kandi 64’), Myles Weston (Will Wright 85’) Subs not used: Michael Johnson (GK), Andrew Eleftheriou
Booked: Sam Deering (foul), Liam Gordon (foul)
Goals: Mitch Brundle 80’
AFC Fylde: Josh Lillis, Neill Byrne (Capt), Alex Whitmore, Ryan Croasdale, Danny Philliskirk, Jordan Williams, Luke Burke, Dan Bradley (Jamie Proctor 70’), Mark Yeates (Kurt Willoughby 89’), Tom Walker (Lewis Thompson 80’), Tyler French Subs not used: Sam Hornby (GK), Lewis Montrose
Booked: Dan Bradley (foul)
Goals: Tom Walker 48’, Alex Whitmore 90+4’
Referee: Adrian Church
Assistants: Shelby Elson and Christopher Myatt
Fourth Official: Jordan Crossley
Attendance: 1,064 (14 from AFC Fylde)
Reaction to follow….