Improved performance at Crawley can’t prevent Daggers’ ninth defeat in 10

League Two: Crawley Town 3 Dagenham & Redbridge 1

Dagenham & Redbridge slipped to their ninth defeat in 10 league games, despite a brave performance against League Two table-toppers Crawley Town.

The visitors took a surprise lead on nine minutes with a brilliantly struck free-kick from Oliver Lee.

After defender Kyle McFadzean had tripped Gavin Tomlin 30 yards from goal, Lee blasted a his effort straight down the throat of keeper Scott Shearer, who despite getting a strong hand to the ball, failed to push it out.

It was all going so well for the much-improved Daggers, but the turning point in the match arrived on 18 minutes.

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Scott Doe was shown a straight red card for a foul on John Akinde inside the box and Matt Tubbs made no mistake from the penalty spot to level the score.

Crawley, looking to make their numerical advantage count, forced a fine double save from top-scorer Tubbs and then Andy Drury.

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But Daggers had a great chance of their own when Peter Gain picked out Jon Nurse with a fantastic long pass, but the Barbados international was denied from 20 yards by the finger-tips of Shearer.

On the stroke of half time Daggers were dealt a cruel blow. Having resisted pressure from the home side so well, Josh Simpson’s over-hit cross was kept in by Akinde at full stretch, who played in Sergio Torres to fire his side ahead before the interval.

The visitors had keeper Lewington to thank for keeping them in the game with a string of outstanding saves early in the second half to deny McFadzen, Scott Neilson and Dannie Bulman.

But Lewington was finally beaten on 85 minutes when substitute Jon-Paul Pittman headed in from close range, despite vociferous appeals from the Daggers defenders that the forward was offside.

The defeat was Daggers ninth in their last 10 games, but the overwhelming positives of a spirited and much-improved performance with 10-men bodes well for a revival sooner rather than later.

Crawley: Shearer, Simpson, McFadzean, Davis (Mills 52), Howell, Neilson, Torres (Akpan 90), Bulman, Drury, Tubbs, Akinde (Pittman 75). Subs: Kuipers, Doughty.

Dag & Red: Lewington, Ogogo, Doe, Arber, McCrory, Hewitt, Lee, Maher (Bingham 87), Gain (Scannell 87), Nurse, Tomlin (Walsh 18). Subs: Shea, Rose.

Attendance: 2,862 (including 295 away supporters).

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