Gayle blows away Gresley
Gresley 1 Dagenham & Redbridge 4
Brian Woodall made a goalscoring return at former club Gresley on Saturday, but strike partner Dwight Gayle stole the show with a brace to launch Daggers pre-season campaign with a win.
Manager John Still picked a strong starting XI, who blew away their opponents with a four-goal blitz in a dominant 15 minute spell before half time.
Daggers made the strongest start as Gavin Hoyte chipped, Billy Bingham stung the palms of Gresley goalkeeper Tom Gutteridge and Luke Howell saw a speculative shot come back off the post.
On 25 minutes the home side’s resolve was broken though, as Hoyte burst down the left-flank and crossed for Howell to head in the opener.
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Two minutes later and the 356-strong crowd got what they came for as Brian Woodall doubled Daggers advantage with a fine curling effort, to bring the Moat Ground to its feet in appreciation.
Gayle soon made it three when he nipped ahead of a defender to finish off Howell’s low cross with a poachers finish.
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And the highly-rated front man soon got his second and Daggers fourth of the afternoon, after rounding the goalkeeper and finishing calmly into an empty net.
The only blot on an exceptional display saw Gayle miss a spot-kick on the stroke of half time, blowing his chance to claim a first-half hat-trick.
The 22-year-old was brought down by Gutteridge inside the penalty area, but, after dusting himself down, shot wide from 12 yards.
With the outcome sewn up Daggers made seven changes at half-time. Woodall was then replaced a minute into the second period to a standing ovation, with Sam Williams his replacement as he stepped up his rehabilitation from a long-term knee injury.
The number of changes spoilt Daggers rhythm with a late effort from Williams their only sniff at goal.
The home side pulled a goal back with 70 minutes on the clock when Richard Hanslow nipped past substitute keeper Dave Hogan for a consolation.
Daggers: Lewington (Hogan 46), Hoyte (Byrne 46), Doe (Antwi 46), Spillane, Ilesanmi (Maher 46), Bingham (Dominic Green 46), Howell (Davie 58), Ogogo, Scott (Elito 46), Gayle (Reed 46), Woodall (Williams 47)