Dagenham & Redbridge 2 Leyton Orient 0
WHILE Dagenham & Redbridge would no doubt have preferred to have more points on the board before Saturday, there cannot have been many sweeter ways to secure a first victory in League One.
In front of a bumper crowd of 4,195, including a sold-out allocation of visiting supporters, French midfielder Romain Vincelot’s brace proved the difference in this battle between teams from rival London boroughs.
With the early noise coming from the away end, it took just eight minutes for the former Gueugnon player to silence them by breaking the deadlock.
Winger Danny Green, who boasted too much skill for his marker Elliot Omozusi all afternoon, did not waste the time and space he was allowed to cross, finding Vincelot with a perfect delivery, which he grateful headed past Jamie Jones.
Daggers continued to look the more effective team after going ahead, with their direct play marginalising Orient’s deep-lying playmaker in Matthew Spring, while fit-again Gavin Tomlin led the line well with pace and technique.
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Despite their superiority, only a superb saving challenge from Abu Ogogo, who injured his groin in the process, denied skipper Stephen Dawson from levelling the scores, before Alex Revell aimed a free header straight at Tony Roberts.
Vincelot settled any lingering nerves five minutes after the restart with another header, as the side found themselves two goals to the good at home for the second time in a week.
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However, while they allowed Tranmere Rovers to find a way back into the game last Saturday, John Still’s men showed how much they learned from the experience and grew stronger.
The young side never strayed from their strategy, while the returning Darren Currie’s composure helped them retain possession and calm any possible nerves.
The result of which was that the expected Orient fightback never materialised, although the afternoon may have taken a different turn had the referee noticed that it was Scott Doe’s hand, rather than body, which blocked an Adam Chambers shot in the area.
Revell was again wasteful with a free header at the near post, but the visitors were unable to establish control and it was Daggers who looked more like scoring in the final quarter of an hour.
Vincelot nearly notched a hat-trick of headed goals before Josh Scott, a willing runner all season up front, showed he has the skill to complement his athleticism, with a 20-yard shot which cannoned off the bar and away to safety.
“We didn’t look anything like we’re capable of being and showing, from that point of view it’s really disappointing,” said Orient boss Russell Slade. “Particularly in a local derby game and we were not the best team. Fair play to Dagenham, they deserved the result.”
That will be music to Still’s ears.
Daggers: Roberts, McCrory, Doe, Arber, Green, Scott, Tomlin (Nurse, 82 mins), Currie (Lewis, 78 mins), Ogogo (Antwi h/t), Vincelot, Gain. Subs not used: Lewington, Montgomery, Bingham, Gwillim.