A monumental effort from Dagenham & Redbridge went unrewarded as they bowed out of the League Cup at the first-round stage once again after a dramatic night of action saw Championship side Brentford come out on top on penalties.
The game will undoubtedly live long in the memory as the two sides shared 12 goals to equal the League Cup record, but the Bees just held their nerve in the shoot-out to deny Daggers a first win in the competition.
Brentford overcame Wayne Burnett’s side at the same stage last season in an action-packed 3-2 encounter, but you will have to go some way to match the excitement and drama that unfolded last night at Victoria Road.
Daggers made three changes from Saturday’s side which lost 3-0 to Morecambe with Matt Partridge
, Joss Labadie
and George Porter
coming in for Jack Connors, Luke Howell
and Jamie Cureton
But the hosts didn’t get off to the best start as they found themselves 2-0 inside nine minutes.
A short corner routine worked its way to Montell Moore and his dinked ball in was met by Stuart Dallas at the back post to tap home after just four minutes.
The Daggers didn’t heed the early warning either and from another short corner, the hosts were staring down the barrel.
Moore again delivered for Dallas, but his shot took a wicked deflection on its way past Liam O’Brien.
The hosts hadn’t settled, however, they slowly worked their way into the game and they pulled one back on 17 minutes.
Two summer signings combined as Ashley Hemmings
’ fine left-wing cross found George Porter
at the back post and he fired home past Bees goalkeeper Richard Lee.
The weather took a turn for the worse at Victoria Road as thunder, lightning and torrential rain settled in and thoughts immediately cast back to the Scunthorpe United home game of last season.
But initially the hosts couldn’t match that comeback as some more poor communication between Scott Doe
and Liam O’Brien saw Nick Proschwitz gratefully slot home into an empty net.
Conditions were difficult once again and the visitors must have thought they were almost in the draw for the second round already.
had other ideas though as he benefitted from ricochet off a Brentford player to burst clear of the Bees defence.
The former York City man held his composure well, coolly slotting over an onrushing Lee in first half stoppage time to give the hosts a fighting chance.
The weather eased for the second half, but much like the Scunthorpe game, the Daggers were in with a chance of levelling the tie at 3-3.
And they did just that when Andre Boucaud
let fly from 25 yards. It looked like being a regulation save for Lee, but somehow he fumbled the effort into his own net – the Daggers were level.
The drama continued to come as former Dagger Harlee Dean had a header cleared off the line as the game appeared to be heading towards extra time.
But four minutes from time Mark Warbuton’s side looked to have sealed the tie when substitutes Alan Judge and Andre Gray combined to good effect as the latter slotted home from close range following Judge’s ball in.
The Daggers never gave up and there may have been a bit of fortune with their second equaliser of the night, but they didn’t really care.
Hemmings was out wide on the left and whether it was a cross or a shot remains to be seen, but his effort looped over Lee into the net and forced extra time. There was plenty more drama to come.
Brentford retook the lead through Moore in the first half of extra time as the Daggers tried in vain to clear the ball and the debutant shot through into the corner of the net through a crowded penalty box.
was introduced off the bench to a chorus of boos from the away end earlier in the game, but he certainly sent them a message as the action continued to come.
His finish was coolness personified as he slotted past Lee after finding himself through on goal, and both he and skipper Abu Ogogo
went close to adding to the 10 goals we’d already witnessed.
That was it for the first 15 minutes of extra time, but the drama-drenched tie swung in Daggers’ favour for the first time on the night, and possibly at the most important time.
And it was that man Hemmings who doubled his tally with a shot across goal which beat the outstretched dive of Lee.
However just as the hosts looked on course to pick up their maiden League Cup win, Dean came back to haunt his former employers with a thunderous header from a free-kick. Penalties would decide the outcome
And perhaps it was the experience of Brentford that spared their blushes of an opening round defeat to a League Two side.
and Ashley Chambers
both saw their efforts saved by Lee, while the Bees were exemplary from the spot as they converted all four of their spot kicks.
Visiting skipper Kevin O’Connor wrapped up the tie as O’Brien guessed right, but couldn’t keep it out and Daggers lost out in cruel fashion.
There was no denying the game was value for money for all in attendance, and while the defending of both sides left a lot to be desired at times, it more than made up for it in drama.
Dagenham & Redbridge: O’Brien, Batt (Connors 59), Doe, Saah, Partridge, Ogogo, Boucaud (Howell 75), Labadie, Porter, Chambers (Cureton 85), Hemmings.
Unused substitutes: Cousins, Goldberg, Shields, Gayle.
Brentford: Lee, O’Connor, Craig, Dean, Yennaris (Bidwell 21), Tebar (Judge 65), Diagouraga, Moore, Dallas, Smith, Proschwitz (Gray 65).
Unused substitutes: Bonham, Reeves, Adams, O’Shaughnessy.
Attendance: 1,576 (476 Brentford fans)