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Colin Munford at Plainmoor
Friday, April 18, 2014
League Two: Torquay United 0 Dagenham & Redbridge 1
Wayne Burnett made four changes from the side which lost at home to Portsmouth 4-1 with birthday boy Femi Ilesanmi, former Torquay loanee Ade Azeez, Billy Bingham and Ian Gayle, making his first Football League start, in for Jack Connors, Chris Dickson, Sean Shields and Luke Wilkinson respectively.
The hosts needed three points to keep alive their faint hopes of league survival and started on the front foot.
A poor back pass from Gayle, which seems to have been a habit of late, allowed Tottenham Hotspur loanee Shaquille Coulthirst to nip in and former Gull Brian Saah brought the striker down as the last man.
Torquay were baying for the red card, but referee Dean Whitestone just cautioned the centre back.
And from the free-kick Chris Hargreaves’ side should have been up front when Courtney Cameron’s delivery found Krystian Pearce only for Chris Lewington to save with his legs.
The rebound fell to Pearce again, but fortunately for the Daggers it fell into Lewington’s hands.
Daggers had little joy going forward and home skipper Lee Mansell curled a 25-yard free-kick into the side netting with Lewington at full stretch.
Though they’d spent much of the game on the back foot, they were the first to have the ball in the back of net when Elito’s inswinging free-kick from wide on the left was flicked in by Pearce past his own goalkeeper Martin Rice, but Luke Howell was adjudged to have fouled the defender in the build up.
Daggers were their own worst enemy at times in the opening period though and having failed to clear their lines on several occasions, Ben Harding’s lofted ball in found the lively Coulthirst.
But unmarked, he fired his header straight at Lewington as the visitors got away with it once again as the opening period ended goalless.
The second half was better from the visitors and they created their first chance from open play when Elito played in Norris and the Brentford loanee turned nicely but fired over the bar.
The Cameron-Pearce combination from the first half free-kick almost worked once again as the delivery in again found Pearce, but he directed his header wide.
But the visitors took the lead when a clever flick on from Azeez found Elito’s run and he was tripped by Dale Tonge.
Referee Whitestone pointed to the spot and Elito slotted the penalty past Rice to give Burnett’s side the advantage.
The hosts still created chances though, and Baily Cargill headed straight at Lewington from an inswinging corner and Danny Stevens fired well over the bar after confusion amongst the Daggers backline.
However, the visitors should really have doubled their lead 12 minutes from time when Billy Bingham’s corner found Howell unmarked at the back post but he shot wide.
Lewington was called into action to deny Elliot Benyon from an acute angle, but again he didn’t have to move too much to make the save.
Late substitute Chris Dickson had two chances in stoppage time to seal the win, but fluffed one effort wide and Rice did well to stay tall and keep the second effort out.
But the visitors picked up all three points and effectively condemned the hosts to Conference football next season.
Torquay United: Rice, Tonge (Yeoman 71), Pearce, O’Connor, Cargill, Bodin (Stevens 40), Mansell, Harding, Cameron (Chappell 71), Benyon, Coulthirst.
Unused substitutes: Poke, Downes, Lathrope, Craig.
Dagenham & Redbridge: Lewington, Hoyte, Saah, Gayle, Ilesanmi, Howell, Ogogo, Bingham, Elito (D’Ath 85), Norris (Dickson 89), Azeez (Turgott 68)
Unused substitutes: Seabright, Wilkinson, Connors, Saunders.
Attendance: 2,425 (113 Daggers fans)