Aaron Davies’ injury time goal denied the Daggers a deserved share of the points, in front of aFriday night crowd at the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Stadium.
Things started brightly for Wayne Burnett’s side. After some scrappy opening exchanges Dagenham & Redbridge had their first chance of the game on eight minutes. Ashley Chambers
had a shot from the right hand side of the box that was easily saved by the Exeter City goalkeeper.
Almost immediately after the Daggers took the lead. Following a neat passing move, Jamie Cureton
picked up the ball in the penalty area and turned past his marker with ease. He fired a shot to the left of the keeper, to record his fifth goal of the season.
Dagenham settled into the game after breaking the deadlock, and began to take complete control of proceedings. Exeter offered little besides long balls that were easily dealt with by the Daggers back line. In contrast, the home side passed the ball quickly and efficiently, and could have doubled their lead after twenty minutes. Cureton was again involved, as he seized on an error by Danny Butterfield and found himself in space to shoot. The veteran marksman curled a looping shot just wide of the right post.
The home side continued to dominate, with two more chances in quick succession. A good ball over the top of the Exeter defence was rolled under the goalkeeper by Cureton, only for the assistant referee to raise a late but justified offside flag. The impressive Ashley Chambers
then fired a shot wide, after a mazy dribble into the opposition area.
On the stroke of half time both sides had chances to score. A deflected shot from Cureton threatened to beat Christy Pym in the Exeter goal, only for the keeper to pull off a superb reflex save to deny the striker. The Grecians responded with an Alex Nicholls effort that clipped the outside of Mark Cousins
’ post. Liam Bercombe blasted a shot into a packed box from the resulting corner, just as the half time whistle came to the Daggers rescue.
It was an improved Exeter City performance after the break. Dagenham struggled to match the tempo and incision of their first half performance, as Exeter gained territory and controlled possession.
Despite few clear-cut chances, the away side were rewarded for their pressure with a penalty on eighty-one minutes. The dangerous Alex Nicholls fell in the box, after an apparent push from Matt Partridge
. Jimmy Keohane sent Cousins the wrong way from the resulting spot kick, cooling stroking the ball into the bottom left of the goal.
The game became stretched in the closing stages, as both teams sought to find a winner. The equalising goal seemed to spark the Daggers back into life, and Chris Doidge had a chance to score with an audacious chip that floated just over the bar. The Grecians responded by putting David Wheeler clean through on goal, only for Cousins to come quickly off his line and seize the ball from the onrushing player.
Unfortunately for the Daggers it was Exeter City who would take all three points back to St James’ Park. In the ninety-fourth minute Aaron Davies rose above the Dagenham defence to power a header into the top right corner of the goal. With no time remaining for an equaliser, the travelling Exeter support celebrated a somewhat fortuitous three points on the road.
The defeat was a cruel blow for Wayne Burnett’s side. They had dominated the first half of the match, and restricted Exeter City’s chances to long range efforts for most of the game. However he will surely take some solace from the outstanding performances of Jamie Cureton
and Ashley Chambers
. The Daggers manager may approach the Leyton Orient game on Tuesday with cautious optimism despite tonight’s result.
Dagenham & Redbridge:
Cousins, Batt, Saah, Partridge, Connors, Hemmings (Porter 73’), Ogogo, Labadie, Boucaud (Doidge 82’), Chambers, Cureton.
O'Brien, Doe, Green, Goldberg, Yusuff
2138 (402 away supporters)