Daggers not at the races as they slip to defeat at Cheltenham
League Two: Cheltenham Town 2 Dagenham & Redbridge 1
Jon Nurse’s strike in first-half stoppage time proved not enough to earn the Daggers a point as they slipped to their third successive defeat on the road.
Nurse’s close-range effort wiped out Alan Bennett’s opener for Cheltenham just six minutes earlier, but Jimmy Spencer sealed the win for the hosts just four minutes after the break.
And the defeat sees the Daggers slump to 20th in the table following a run of just one win in eight League Two games.
Troy Hewitt, on-loan from QPR, made his first start for John Still’s side, while Abu Ogogo returned at right-back after missing two games with a wrist injury.
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And the visitors could have taken an early lead when Gavin Tomlin crossed from the left only for Nurse’s header to fly over.
The Daggers were grateful to see an offside flag after Spencer’s close-range effort had seemingly put the Robins ahead.
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Luck was not on their side, however, when Tomlin’s powerful 16th-minute strike struck the woodwork.
Daggers keeper Chris Lewington produced stops from Spencer and Luke Summerfield as the home side looked dangerous on the break.
But he could do nothing to stop Cheltenham from taking the lead just five minutes before half time.
Mark Arber was penalised for a challenge on Marlon Pack and Luke Garbutt’s resulting free-kick was nodded home by Bennett as the Robins skipper notched his first goal for the club.
With the hosts in the ascendency, Spencer and Summerfield both just failed to connect with Garbutt’s cross as they looked to double the advantage.
But in the second minute of first-half stoppage time, the Daggers responded when Damian Scannell beat two men down the left and his ball found Nurse, who turned the ball home at the second attempt.
Sadly, the visitors could not take advantage of the boost provided by Nurse’s timely effort and they fell behind again shortly after the restart.
Spencer’s one-two with Pack saw him burst into the box and he was able to beat Lewington from 12 yards.
Dagenham had little response and had their keeper to thank for preventing the home side from extending their lead in the second period when pushing Garbutt’s effort onto a post and producing a fine fingertip save to deny Spencer.
Brian Woodall and Billy Bingham replaced Hewitt and the booked Peter Gain respectively, but Dagenham’s late efforts – which saw a Tomlin effort saved and a Woodall strike go wide – came to nothing.
And the result left boss Still knowing an improvement is needed if his men want to push their way up the table.
Daggers: Lewington, Arber, Doe, Gain (Bingham 79), Scannell, McCrory, Ogogo, Lee, Nurse, Tomlin, Hewitt (Woodall 65). Subs not used: Walsh, Shea, Rose.
Attendance: 2,814 (including 135 away supporters).