Maher sees red as Daggers defy odds to beat Oxford

League Two: Oxford United 2 Dagenham & Redbridge 3

Ten-men Daggers held on as they got over their FA Cup exit with a welcome three points at Oxford with a 3-2 win

It was a bright start from John Still’s side, who made one enforced change as Kevin Maher came in for the suspended Michael Spillane.

Medy Elito forced Ryan Clarke into an early save for the hosts, but Oxford still had their fair share of chances.

They mainly came via James Constable as he twice saw efforts blocked by the onrushing Daggers keeper Chris Lewington.

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Up the other end, Still’s side almost took the lead after 31 minutes when Elito chipped the ball to Gayle after drawing out Clarke, but the header from the diminutive forward was cleared off the line.

However, the Daggers only had to wait another five minutes to go in front when a Matt Saunders corner from the right was headed home by Sam Williams from close range.

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That gave them a deserved lead at the break and after another positive start to the second period saw them extend it after 54 minutes.

Gayle’s shot could only be parried by Clarke and Howell was on hand to tap home from close range for his fourth goal of the season.

Howell had been denied a minute earlier by a fine point blank save from Clarke, though Oxford pulled themselves back into the tie.

An excellent run by Sean Rigg down the left saw the former Bristol Rovers man lay on Tom Craddock who shot left footed on the volley past Lewington.

However, this end-to-end second period saw the Daggers restore their two-goal cushion when another corner in from Saunders wasn’t dealt with by the home defence and Luke Wilkinson rose highest to head home.

Elito saw a shot fall wide of the target as the visitors continued in the ascendancy, but once again Chris Wilder’s side got themselves back into the game when Craddock doubled his tally for the evening after Ilesanmi’s poor back pass played in the former Luton striker.

Oxford’s hopes increased when Maher was sent off with 21 minutes remaining for his second bookable offence, having already received a yellow in the first half for a shirt pull.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, the Daggers looked solid and kept the hosts at bay.

But there were the inevitable chances for an equaliser and Lewington produced a fine save to ensure all three points went the way of the visitors when he superbly denied Adam Chapman with a stop low down to his left.

And with the result they moved up to 15th in the League Two table.

Daggers: Lewington, Ogogo, Ilesanmi, Doe, Wilkinson, Saunders, Howell, Maher, Elito, Williams (Woodall 90+3), Gayle.

Substitutes not used: Green, Reed, Hoyte, Currie, Seabright, Bingham.

Attendance: 5,074 (77 away fans)

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