Daggers blunted on opening day
Cheltenham Town 2 Dagenham & Redbridge 0
Dagenham & Redbridge slipped to a narrow defeat on the opening day of the 2012/13 League Two season.
Goals either side of half-time from Shaun Harrad and Jermaine McGlashan were enough to give the home side all three points in an otherwise even contest.
One change from the side that were eliminated from the Capital One Cup against Coventry in midweek saw Dwight Gayle come in for his highly-anticipated Football League debut, with fellow striker Josh Scott dropping to the bench.
The visitors created the first opportunity of the game on six minutes when Gavin Hoyte’s excellent cross found Luke Howell unmarked inside the box, but the midfielder glanced wide.
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Cheltenham immediately responded though when McGlashan found space on the edge of the Daggers box but shot narrowly wide across goal.
Chris Zebroski almost poked the Robins in front after quarter of an hour, but his low effort snuck wide.
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Daggers enjoyed a period of dominance midway through the opening period, creating three decent opportunities to put the natives on edge.
First, Medy Elito’s low, curling effort was saved by keeper Scott Brown at full stretch.
Gayle had a close-range effort blocked by Russell Penn and skipper Abu Ogogo saw a shot deflected wide off defender Harry Hooman, with Brown beaten.
Shortly before half-time Gayle, who showed great energy throughout, burst into the box and had a fierce shot beaten away by Brown at head height.
But Daggers were made to pay for their wastefulness as Cheltenham finally turned the screw in the closing minutes of the first half.
Sam Deering saw a shot bounce back off the post, however, on the stroke of half-time the Robins did open the scoring when Deering spun away from Femi Ilesanmi on the right-side and his low cross picked out summer signing Harrad to finish neatly at the near post.
Four minutes after the interval Daggers conceded again.
McGlashan picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and arrowed an unstoppable effort beyond Chris Lewington.
Brian Woodall nodded over Elito’s corner as Daggers searched for a lifeline and Gayle saw an acrobatic effort fail to trouble Brown.
Midway through the second period Gayle tumbled over inside the box under pressure from defender Steve Elliott, but referee Jeremy Simpson chose to book the attacker for diving rather than award a penalty, leaving manager John Still perplexed.
Michael Spillane volleyed wide from inside the box as Cheltenham looked to take the sting out of the match and substitute Sam Williams had a low drive from inside the box well held by Brown.
Cheltenham: Brown, Jombati, Hooman, Elliott, Jones, Deering (Goulding 73), Parck, Penn, Zebrowski (Graham 82), McGlashan, Harrad (Duffy 86). Subs not used: Roberts, Andrew, Lowe, Hanks.
Daggers: Lewington, Hoyte, Spillane, Doe, Ilesanmi, Bingham, Ogogo, Howell (Danny Green 86), Elito, Woodall (Williams 69), Gayle. Subs not used: Seabright, Wilkinson, Scott, Reed, Dennis.
Attendance: 2,655 (including 164 away).