Dagenham & Redbridge 3 Wrexham 0: Oliver Hawkins hat-trick fires Daggers past Robins
PUBLISHED: 14:10 27 August 2016
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National League: Dagenham & Redbridge 3 (Hawkins 10, 23, 45) Wrexham 0
A first-half hat-trick from Oliver Hawkins helped Dagenham & Redbridge maintain their 100 per cent home record this season with a win over Wrexham.
Daggers dominated play in the first half, with the striker’s goals just reward for a good opening 45 minutes.
Robins offered more after the interval, but the Essex club were still more than comfortable as they recorded a fourth clean sheet of the campaign.
Daggers were forced into one change for the visit of the Robins, with Curtley Williams injured and replaced by Josh Staunton, who made his first start.
There was better news in attack, though, with Hawkins recovering from a back injury that kept him out of the Woking trip to take over from Paul Benson.
The evergreen attacker dropped to the bench, where he was joined by Corey Whitely who was looking to make his home debut.
The opening exchanges were fairly even, though the hosts had a chance to take the lead in the ninth minute.
Staunton delivered a delightful ball deep into the area which found Hawkins at the back post, with the striker nodding the ball back across goal.
The knock-down found Fejiri Okenabirhie on the penalty spot, but he could only slice his effort wide.
However, less than a minute, Daggers were able to hit the front when Hawkins netted his second goal of the season.
Craig Robson had initially won the ball brilliantly in the centre-circle, with Matt Robinson then dinking a pass into the path of Luke Guttridge.
The playmaker shot from just inside the area, but his effort was scuffed, though fell kindly for Hawkins at the back post to tap home.
It was a goal that lifted the crowd at Victoria Road and the Essex club too, with Daggers close to a second in the 21st minute.
A lovely, flowing counter-attack involving Hawkins, Guttridge and Maguire-Drew saw the latter forced a good save from Robins stopper Shwan Jalal from 20 yards.
Jalal pushed the ball behind for a corner, which was cleared, allowing for another set-piece to be delivered.
Maguire-Drew sent the ball in to the middle of the area, and Hawkins was more than happy to nod in his second of the match in the 23rd minute.
The on-loan Brighton & Hove Albion winger went close to supplying the ball for a third Daggers goal seven minutes later, crossing from the right.
However, only Guttridge was in the area and though it was a valiant effort with a diving header, the former Luton Town man was unable to connect with the cross.
Guttridge was, though, involved in a third on the stroke of half-time for the hosts after being tripped in the box having latched onto a knock-down from Hawkins.
That allowed the ex-Hemel Hempstead Town man to complete a first-half hat-trick from the spot, and he duly took the chance to give Daggers a three-goal lead.
If Daggers thought they could ease to victory in the second half, they were given a warning inside the first minute of the second half.
A Luke Rooney free-kick was flicked towards goal by substitute Shaun Harrad which needed a smart save from Elliot Justham in the Daggers goal.
Rooney himself went close three minutes later, narrowly putting a half-volley over the bar from just inside the area after a cross from Paul Rutherford on the right.
It seemed to spark Daggers into life, with Joe Widdowson, Matt Robinson and Hawkins all going close with a flurry of efforts in the 50th minute.
Again, though, the Victoria Road side dropped deep, inviting pressure Wrexham, allowing Hamza Bencherif to fire narrowly over from 30 yards.
Mercifully, the pace seemed to slow after that, allowing John Still’s men to regain their composure
And they nearly added a fourth in the 63rd minute through Maguire-Drew, who controlled to ball well in the area on a tight angle.
However, the teenager brilliantly found space before firing a powerful effort at Jalal, who pushed the ball behind for a corner that came to nothing.
Whitely had been brought on for his home debut, replacing the injured Guttridge, and nearly crowned it with a goal in the 68th minute.
The Daggers attacker latched onto a knock-down from Hawkins and showed good footwork to fashion space in the box, but his effort was well saved by Jalal.
Whitely went close again six minutes later, curling the ball towards the far corner from the edge of the area, but Jalal was again equal to it.
Daggers had further chances to add to their lead, but Jalal continued to impress in goal for the Robins despite having shipped three goals.
But Still will be hoping his side’s first-half showing allowed them to conserve some energy, with a trip to Sutton United to come on Monday afternoon.
Daggers: Justham; Staunton, Doe, Robson, Widdowson; Boucaud, Robinson; Maguire-Drew (Raymond 89), Guttridge (Whitely 58), Okenabirhie; Hawkins
Subs: Cousins, Benson, Donnellan
Wrexham: Jalal, Bencherif, Riley (Powell 66), Tilt, Rooney, Newton, Edwards, Carrington, Rutherford, McDonagh (Harvey 46), Reid (Harrad 46)
Subs: Barry, Evans
Attendance: 1,256 (including 166 Wrexham fans)
Referee: Con Hatzidakis