Dagenham & Redbridge 0-0 Torquay United
NEW DAGGERS boss, Daryl McMahon has a tough job on his hands, as his new charges picked up only their third festive point, in four games, on Saturday.
Daggers dominated from the kick-off and Luque should have made better contact with an 11th-minute point-blank header but allowed Connor Lemonheigh to make a comfortable clearance.
But, the Gulls – similarly struggling with injuries – were nonetheless a threat on the break. Having earlier seen hitman Jamie Reid miss the target from a good position, co-striker Saikou Janneh beat Elliott Justham – on 38 minutes – only to see his effort agonizingly rebound off a post to safety.
Janneh’s near-miss finally sprung the Daggers into life and a minute later Chike Kandi brought a fine save out of the underworked Lucas Covolan.
Shortly before the interval a rare Torquay defensive error saw Lyle Cameron all too easily allow Kandi a clear bye-line run and shot, but Covolan made a fine, low stop.
Kandi went close, again, soon after the turnaround, but the woodwork – this time the crossbar – denied the unlucky Janneh, on 52 minutes, with Justham relieved to see the ball bounce to safety.
Both sides continued to create only half chances, with Reid slicing over, on the bye-line, before Daggers’ skipper, Kenny Clark denied by a brave Asa Hall block.
Dagenham then started to exploit a tiring Torquay defence and Luque’s fine 67th minute put the ball on a plate for Alex McQueen, only fit for Cameron to clear off the goal line.
Joe Quigley then thought he had broken the stalemate, on 69 minutes, but Covolan produced the save of the afternoon, tipping his swivelled half volley to safety.
Janneh then wasted another chance, as the Gulls broke from the ensuing Dagenham corner, but ran out space, allowing Justham to gather.
As the pendulum swung Daggers’ way, on 73 minutes Luque broke and shot, only for Covolan to make another top-drawer save.
Having done everything but score, it just seemed it wasn’t going to be the Gulls’ afternoon when Jake Andrews’s whipped-in, 78th-minute free-kick completely fooled Justham but again hit a post.
Despite lacking goals, this contest was never dull and Ruari Keating – nephew of artist, Ronan – was denied a late penalty claim from Luke Croll’s challenge, as the visitors enjoyed a late spell of pressure.
In a late Dagenham cameo, Croll shot high and wide as the hosts are now nine league games winless.
Dagenham & Redbridge: Elliott Justham, Will Wright, Kenny Clark (Capt), Luke Croll, Liam Gordon, Alex McQueen (Reece Grant 75′), Manny Onarise, Matt Robinson, Joan Luque, Chike Kandi, Joe Quigley (Sam Deering 82′). Subs not used: Josh Strizovic, Bagasan Graham, Andrew Eleftheriou.
Torquay United: Lucas Covolan, Joe Lewis, Robbie Cundy, Asa Hall, Kyle Cameron, Ruariri Keating, Jake Andrews, Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, Ben Whitfield, Saikou Janneh, Jamie Reid. Subs not used: Shaun MacDonald, Olaf Koszela, Kalvin Kalala, Lloyd James, Aaron Nemane.
Referee: Ryan Atkins
Assistants: Matthew Morrison and Ashley List
Fourth Official: Valentine Ankewe
Attendance: 1,542 (275 from Torquay).