Daggers suffer second league defeat
Dagenham & Redbridge 1 Gillingham 2
Dwight Gayle bagged his first goal for Dagenham & Redbridge, but finished on the losing side as Gillingham proved the most clinical in front of goal to rack up their fourth straight victory of the season.
In a match played throughout in torrential rain manager John Still made one change to the starting line-up that played out an entertaining goalless draw with Plymouth Argyle in midweek, as Brian Woodall dropped to the bench with Sam Williams in for his first start in almost 11 months.
Gillingham applied some good early pressure, but it was Daggers who had the first clear sight at goal on nine minutes.
A searching ball down the right-flank from Gavin Hoyte found Gayle, who played a perfectly-weighted square pass into the path of Billy Bingham, who burst into the box but saw his shot beaten away by Gills keeper Stuart Nelson.
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The Gills responded though when Myles Weston picked the ball up on the right-side, cut in on his left, but his near-post shot hit the side-netting.
And the visitors caused panic again in the Dagenham backline when Weston outpaced the defence, was forced wide by Chris Lewington, crossed to Chris Whelpdale whose shot was blocked on the line by Scott Doe.
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On 26 minutes Daggers almost profited from the slippery conditions when Billy Bingham’s free-kick squirmed away from Nelson, but Abu Ogogo couldn’t convert the loose ball.
Just as the monsoon-like rain got even harder the Gills gave their supporters something to sing about when Matt Fish’s cross from the right was brilliantly headed in by Deon Burton for the opening goal on the half hour..
But Gillingham’s lead lasted just four minutes as Dwight Gayle netted his first goal for the club from the penalty spot.
Daggers, who were last awarded a penalty in the home win over Swindon more than a year ago, saw referee Rob Lewis point to the spot after Gayle was tripped inside the box by Nelson.
The 21-year-old picked the ball up and blasted his spot-kick into the back of the net with Nelson diving the wrong way.
The home side ended the opening period on top and only a goal-line clearance from Whelpdale denied Daggers the lead as he blocked Luke Howell’s snapshot following Bingham’s in-swinging corner.
Five minutes after the restart and, with the rain still teeming down, Gillingham striker Myles Weston blazed wide from six yards, after good work from Charlie Lee.
And minutes later he fired over the top with the goal gaping after Charlie Allen had prodded the ball past Chris Lewington.
But on 62 minutes it appeared Weston finally found his finishing boots as he completed a swift break with a neat finish through the legs of Lewington to put Gillingham back in front.
Femi Ilesanmi tried to become the unlikely goalscoring hero for Daggers, but saw a shot sail over the top after a purposeful run down the left.
Gayle went close as the clock ticked down. The striker held off defender Andrew Frampton to get on the end of Bingham’s long ball forwards, but struck over.
The sides continued to trade blows in the final 10 minutes. Gillingham substitute Danny Kedwell had a fierce effort beaten away by Lewington.
While at the other end Ilesanmi and Ogogo both tested Nelson.
In added-on time Elito’s corner squirmed its way through to Ogogo, but the Daggers’ skipper’s header was gratefully gathered by Nelson.
Daggers: Lewington, Hoyte, Spillane, Doe, Ilesanmi, Bingham, Howell (Danny Green 68), Ogogo, Elito, Williams, Gayle (Scott 82). Subs: Seabright, Wilkinson, Dominic Green, Reed, Woodall.
Gillingham: Nelson, Fish, Davies, Frampton, Martin, Montrose, Whelpdale (Payne 61), Lee, Allen (Strevens 71), Burton (Kedwell 61), Weston. Subs: Forecast, Essam, Jackman, Dack.
Attendance: 2,251 (including 988 away supporters).