An impressive performance from League two table toppers Southend United was enough to send the Daggers out of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy at the 2nd round stage. Manager John Still took the opportunity to test out a new look 5-3-2 formation as well as getting certain players some much needed match fitness, this could well explain the rather disjointed performance from the home side at stages.
Kevin Maher came in for his debut in a 3 man midfield alongside Billy Bingham and Gavin Tomlin, at the back Phil Walsh stepped in making it a 3 man central defence allowing Damien McCrory and Richard Rose to provide the width on both sides. Changes were needed up front also following the injury to Sam Williams, and in came Brian Woodall who was partnered by loan signing Troy Hewitt.
The game kicked off with the Shrimpers on top right from the start, Michael Timlin threatened inside the first minute flashing a shot wide from 20 yards out. Southend in fairness dominated the opening fifteen minutes, Anthony Grant also fired wide from long range as the Daggers new look defence held up well to the pressure early on.
Despite being on the back foot the Daggers created the first real good chance of the match, in the 23rd minute Brian Woodall rose highest from a corner and only a goal line clearance from Sean Clohessy denied the frontman his first competitive goal for the club. Just as the Daggers were looking good they went behind to the simplest of goals, a long throw from Ryan Leonard found the Daggers defence unaware and Ryan Hall latched onto it to score against his former employers.
The remaining minutes of the first half were played out without any meaningful goalmouth action, but an slight injury to Scott Doe forced John Still to make a change at the break with Femi coming on in his place. This didn't prompt a change of formation though and it didn't immediately prompt a change of fortunes either.
A fine save from Chris Lewington looked like falling at the feet of Leonard for a tap in before an intervention from McCrory; it was a definite foul and gave the Shrimpers ample chance to double their lead from the spot. Hall stepped up looking for his second of the match but was denied as Lewington dived low to his right to push it away.
This seemed to be the boost Still's side needed and they got back level soon after. Southend contested the decision to award a free kick on the edge of the area but once McCrory's free kick took a wicked deflection off of the wall and went past Morris it was all square. It was probably a match Southend deserved to be winning and they brought experienced striker Neil Harris on to try and get the lead back.
Harris must have thought he'd done just that as he rose to meet Clohessy's cross with a fine header but Lewington pulled off a truly fantastic save to keep the scores level. Lewington could do nothing to stop Hall again though in the 74th minute. He looked to have been tackled on the edge of the box but he won it back and drilled low past Lewington with a fine finish.
The Daggers brought on Dominic Green and Jake Reed as they pushed for a goal which would bring about another penalty shootout but it was not to be. Brian Woodall headed straight at Morris in the only opening created. With the final kick the game got the goal that in truth reflected the match, Harris latching on to a through ball and although Lewington once again denied the ex Millwall man, he scored from the rebound.