The Daggers suffered late heartache at Griffin Park on Saturday as a late Gary Alexander header made it an unhappy New Year for John Still's relegation battlers.
Having not played since the impressive win at Carlisle three weeks ago the Daggers returned to action with this short trip across London to face in-form Brentford, but they were forced into two changes. Scott Doe was recalled at the back in place of flu victim Mark Arber while Billy Bingham was the surprise choice to replace the injured Kayleden Brown in midfield for his full debut for the club. Meanwhile Solomon Taiwo was given last minute clearance from the Welsh FA after his loan move from Cardiff City was extended to the end of the season, so he kept his place in the side.
After a confident start from the visitors, during which an angled volley from Danny Green was kept out by Bees keeper Richard Lee, it was the hosts who grabbed an early lead. There were just ten minutes on the clock when Alexander combined well with Sam Wood to send Charlie MacDonald clear and, thanks to an unfortunate slip from Bingham, the former Southend man found himself with time and space in the Daggers area to square the ball for Robbie Simpson to tap home.
But the Bees were forced to reorganise four minutes later when Wood was badly injured after colliding with the advertising hoardings, following a clash with Taiwo which resulted in the injured Brentford player receiving a yellow card, and he left the field on a stretcher to be replaced by Myles Weston.
The Daggers fought hard to get back in the match and they were close to grabbing a 19th minute equaliser when Medy Elito whipped in a cross from the left, but Bas Savage could only direct his header over the crossbar from close range.
That was a rare opportunity for the visitors at this stage as Daggers keeper Tony Roberts did well to deny Alexander three minutes later before the veteran stopper then kept out a MacDonald header following a dangerous Craig Woodman free kick.
With the Bees looking increasingly likely to double their advantage Still's men broke out to draw level against the run of play eleven minutes before the break. Taiwo swept the ball out to Green on the right and when he volleyed it back across the face of the goal Romain Vincelot arrived to turn it home from close range, his 6th goal of the season.
Their was very little to choose between the sides in the second half and they both had chances to win it. Will Antwi came close for the visitors with an acrobatic effort ten minutes after the resumption, while at the other end Femi Ilesanmi did well to divert the ball away with Simpson waiting to pounce.
But it was the Daggers who fashioned the best opening midway through the second half. Savage knocked the ball into the path of Elito but with only Lee to beat the West Bromwich Albion loanee flashed a half volley wide of the target.
Bingham was having more and more influence in midfield the longer the game went on and he was only denied a debut goal by the right hand of Lee twenty minutes from time, while the Bees keeper then denied Vincelot after good approach work from Green.
But Brentford responded as Taiwo was forced to clear an Alexander effort off the line while Toumani Diagouraga then fizzed a shot narrowly over Roberts' crossbar.
With time running out and a draw now seemingly inevitable, home manager Andy Scott threw on Nicky Forster and the veteran striker made an immediate impact. Winning the ball on the left hand edge of the Daggers area with his first touch, he whipped in beautiful a cross that found the head of Alexander to nod past Roberts from close range.
With less then three minutes left for the Daggers to save themselves they threw everything forward and almost salvaged a vital point deep into stoppage time. Elito laid the ball smartly into the path of the overlapping Ilesanmi but he could only drill the ball into the side netting and Brentford had held on for all three points.
Assistant manager Terry Harris was a little downbeat afterwards saying, "It's disappointing at the moment because we got back in it with a fantastic equaliser and in the second half we had our chances. We got caught with a sucker-punch where we should have cleared our lines and our indiscipline has cost us dearly. But we have to be positive and try and turn this around on Monday."
With promotion hopefuls Southampton the visitors, that will be no easy task.
Attendance; 5,405 (418 away)