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League Two: Dagenham & Redbridge 0 Torquay United 1

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It was a frustrating day at the office for Daggers as a resilient Torquay United took all three points at Victoria Road.

Aaron Downes, a man sent off here last season after just three minutes, headed home Jak McCourt’s corner five minutes into the second half and despite all the Daggers threw at the visitors, the Gulls cleared, blocked and deflected everything away from danger for a disappointing start to festive run of fixtures.

Daggers boss Wayne Burnett made two changes to the side which lost 2-1 at Oxford United last weekend, with Scott Doe returning from his one-match suspension, while Medy Elito also recovered from a dead leg to start, with Luke Wilkinson and Josh Scott missing out.

The early signs were promising from the hosts, with Zavon Hines testing Gulls goalkeeper Michael Poke with a third minute shot which he managed to push behind for a corner.

Lowly Torquay weren’t without chances though, as Billy Bodin saw a shot deflected behind for a corner by Femi Ilesanmi, and Jordan Chappell found the side netting after being allowed too much room on the left hand side of the Daggers box.

Equally the hosts were playing some lovely stuff though, and a fine move involving Luke Howell, Medy Elito and top goalscorer Rhys Murphy was just picked up by an onrushing Poke.

Poke was in top form for Alan Knill’s side as a Lewington punt forward caused indecision amongst the visiting defence and Elito almost profited, only for Poke to save.

But for much of the dominance Daggers could have been behind with Lewington thankful a Gavin Hoyte deflected corner struck the post before being cleared away from danger.

Hines’ trickery was causing the Gulls defence plenty of problems and after jinking his way one way and then the other, forced Poke into another fine save.

Both goalkeepers were on top form and this time it was Lewington who had to be at his best to deny Marquis who flicked an effort goalwards after Ogogo had deflected a cross into his path.

The score may have still been goalless but the action continued to come at both ends, with Downes’ fine block denying D’Ath a certain goal following Murphy’s left wing cross.

But it was a sluggish start to the second half for the Daggers. Lewington had a rush of blood to the head but Bodin beat him to the ball and only a Saah clearance behind prevented Torquay from taking the lead.

However, from the resulting corner Downes rose highest to head McCourt’s delivery past Lewington.

Daggers should have equalised just minutes later when D’Ath was played in but the Reading loanee drilled a shot wide of the target with the goal at his mercy.

Substitute Chris Dickson had a chance to make an instant impact, but tamely shot straight at Poke after finding space in the box.

Chances continued to come thick and fast for the Daggers as Murphy struck the post from an Elito cross, the ball then fell to Ogogo but his shot was blocked.

That then ricocheted to Hines, but the hosts were denied for a third time as his effort was deflected behind.

Frustratingly for Daggers they ran out of ideas as the half wore on as they desperately went in search of an equaliser.

Deep into stoppage time they had one last chance as a hopeful ball forward from Hoyte found Ogogo at the back post but he headed wide, and with that Torquay picked up their second successive win and move off the bottom of League Two.

Dagenham & Redbridge: Lewington, Ilesanmi, Doe, Saah, Hoyte, Elito (Edgar 82), Ogogo, Howell, D’Ath (Dickson 59), Murphy, Hines.

Unused substitutes: Seabright, Wilkinson, Scott, Shields, Connors.

Torquay United: Poke, Tonge, Downes, Mansell, Bodin, Chappell (Craig 76), Marquis, McCourt, Cruise, O’Connor, Mozika.

Torquay United subs: Rice, Pearce, Hawley, Cameron, Benyon, Sullivan.

Attendance: 1,675 (176 Torquay fans)

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