Dagenham & Redbridge 2 Maidstone United 1: Fejiri Okenabirhie helps Daggers sink Stones
PUBLISHED: 16:58 02 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:58 02 April 2018
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Vanarama National League: Dagenham & Redbridge 2 (Okenabirhie 26, Robson 65) Maidstone United 1 (Wynter 82)
Dagenham & Redbridge kept their hopes of making the National League play-offs alive with a 2-1 win at home to Maidstone United.
The first half was far from a classic, though Daggers led at the break through a Fejiri Okenabirhie goal.
The hosts doubled their lead midway through the second half through Craig Robson, though a late Stones goal meant they had to hang on at the death to triumph.
Daggers boss John Still made just one change to his starting XI following the draw at Gateshead on Friday.
Striker Michael Cheek was recalled to the starting XI in place of the Norwich City-bound Mason Bloomfield, who dropped out of the matchday squad altogether.
Interestingly, Andre Boucaud took the armband from Robson, who had skippered the side following Scott Doe’s departure earlier in the season.
There was an early sigh of relief from Daggers stopper Mark Cousins, who saw a clearance blocked by Delano Sam-Yorke in just the third minute.
Thankfully, the ball looped away from any Maidstone players looking to make the most of the mishap, before home defender Luke Pennell cleared his lines.
Stones went close again 12 minutes later when a cross from Blair Turgott was narrowly nodded wide at the far post by Michael Phillips.
The Kent club were creating more chances early on, with former Daggers loanee Turgott testing Cousins from 20 yards in the 25th minute.
Perhaps against the run of play, it was the hosts who took the lead a minute later with their first meaningful attack.
Boucaud set Ben Nunn away down the right flank, before the defender delivered a low ball into the box.
Though the ball was behind him, Okenabirhie controlled the pass, before turning his marker and firing into the net from 12 yards.
Still’s men could have doubled their lead five minutes later when Dan Sparkes crossed from the left, but Maidstone defender Alex Finney just about cleared his own bar with a clearance.
With eight minutes left from the half, a Daggers corner was only cleared as far as Charlee Adams on the edge of the box, who drilled a vicious effort just wide.
The Victoria Road outfit took their lead into the break, but came under pressure in the minutes after the restart, with both Phillips and Jai Reason going close for the visitors.
After weathering the storm, Daggers grew into the second half and doubled their advantage in the 65th minute.
A corner into the Maidstone box caused confusion in the away defence, with Robson pouncing to rifle into the roof of the net.
From there, Daggers were keen to see the game out, though Alex Wynter volleyed over from a free kick for the visitors 12 minutes later.
However, Stones pulled one back in the 82nd minute when a corner into the Daggers box led to a goalmouth scramble, with Wynter prodding home from close range.
Maidstone were piling on the pressure in search of an equaliser, with Daggers doing all they could to remain in front.
However, the Essex club were able to hold on to take all three points for the Kent club, and Daggers will hope for a similar result at home to Woking on Saturday.
Daggers (4-2-3-1): Cousins; Nunn, Robson, Pennell, Howells; Boucaud, Adams; Kandi (Howell 69), Okenabirhie, Sparkes (Robinson 79); Cheek.
Subs: Moore (GK), N’Gala, Bonds.
Maidstone (4-3-3): Worgan; Twumasi, Wynter, Finney, Anderson; Phillips, Reason (Loza 65), Lewis; Sam-Yorke (Luer 74), Lafayette, Turgott (Osei 86).
Subs: Hare, Prestedge.
Referee: Savvas Yianni.
Attendance: 1,633 (including 433 Maidstone fans).