Dagenham & Redbridge defeat Wrexham, but miss play-offs

Paul McCallum of Dagenham & Redbridge

Paul McCallum of Dagenham & Redbridge - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Dagenham & Redbridge ended Wrexham's 20-match unbeaten run in all competitions with a superb display on the last day of the National League season.

But it was not enough to clinch a play-off place as Chesterfield drew 0-0 with Woking to pip Daryl McMahon's men to seventh place by a point.

Executive chairman Peter B. Freund had released a statement saying he couldn't be prouder of the season and what had been accomplished in posting their highest points total since 2017 and believing they could maintain momentum moving forwards, with the majority of the players returning next season under McMahon.

And the hosts enjoyed an early spell of possession, as Will Wright lay on the turf just outside the Wrexham box, before Paul Mullin saw a low shot on the turn smothered by Elliot Justham on five minutes.
Ben Tozer was getting plenty of opportunity to launch long throw-ins into the box from the right touchline for the visitors, but Daggers defended them well, with Paul McCallum using his height to good effect at the near post.

And after a spell of Wrexham possession, Daggers broke on the quarter-hour mark as Wright picked out Brandon Comley, who advanced towards the edge of the box and saw a well-struck drive pushed around the post by Christian Dibble.

Mullin made a run into the Daggers box and laid the ball back for Callum McFadzean to cross to the far post, where Ollie Palmer's header went behind off Elliott Johnson.

And Junior Morias then tried his luck from the inside-left channel, some 25 yards out, and saw Dibble pat the ball down comfortably.

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Mullin seized on a loose Daggers pass in midfield and drove towards the box before dragging a 20-yard shot past the far post midway through the half.

But Matt Robinson then produced a great run into the Wrexham box on the left and slid the ball across the face of goal without a teammate being able to profit.

And Myles Weston then cut in from the right and fired a left-footed shot narrowly over the crossbar from the corner of the box, before Robinson's low left-footer from a central position was smothered by Dibble.

Comley sent Morias racing into space on the left on the half-hour mark, but his tight-angled effort was blocked by Tozer, as McCallum hoped for a cutback in the middle of the box, and Reece Hall-Johnson lifted a shot high over the crossbar when Palmer chested down Tozer's pass at the other end.

McCallum headed just wide at the far post from Weston's right-wing corner on 34 minutes, as Daggers continued to look more threatening.

But McFadzean fizzed a 25-yard drive narrowly over for Wrexham, when McCallum headed Luke Young's corner clear on 38 minutes.

And McCallum's downward header in the other box, when picked out by Wright's superb centre, could not find Morias, who had a speculative effort deflected behind moments later.

McCallum headed into the net from Weston's deep cross two minutes before the break, only for referee Adam Herczeg to award a free-kick for a challenge on Dibble.

And the Wrexham keeper then kicked out a low drive from McCallum, when found by Mauro Vilhete's pass, as Daggers continued to press in the closing moments of the half.

Dibble's best save came in stoppage time, though, as Morias and McCallum combined and Robinsons swept a left-footed shot goalwards, only to see the keeper push it behind for another corner.

And Justham made his first save of note five minutes after the restart to push Palmer's first-time shot, from Mullin's lay-off, over his crossbar in front of the noisy Wrexham fans in the stand behind the home goal.

But Daggers got their noses in front on 55 minutes when McCallum and Robinson combined just outside the box, with the ball threaded into the feet of Morias, who thumped it past Dibble to the delight of the home fans in a 3,470-strong crowd.

And it was nearly 2-0 soon after as McCallum headed the ball forward for Comley to attack and he teed up Weston, who curled just past the far post.

Robinson was booked for a sliding tackle on halfway, when he appeared to have won the ball cleanly, and Wrexham boss Phil Parkinson made the first change just past the hour, replacing Tyler French with Daniel Jarvis.

James Jones made way for Liam McAlinden in Parkinson's second change, after Wright had seen a free-kick - awarded for Tozer's bookable foul on Weston on the edge of the box - pushed wide by Dibble.

But Daggers countered impressively again as Comley sprung Morias, before Robinson teed up McCallum to fire into the side netting on 78 minutes.

And McMahon's men doubled their lead with nine minutes left when a corner was played short to Weston, who curled a cross onto the head of McCallum at the far post to steer back across Dibble and into the top corner.

Wright's goalline block denied Wrexham an immediate reply, with Jordan Ponticelli glancing a header beyond the far post on 85 minutes.

But Daggers could've had a third when Vilhete won the ball in midfield and Robinson sent Morias to the byline on the left, with his cross finding McCallum, who shot just over the crossbar from 12 yards.

It was 3-0 as normal time drew to a close, though, as substitute Josh Walker found space on the right and crossed into the box, where McCallum teed up Robinson to drive past Dibble for a deserved goal.

But it was not enough as Chesterfield earned the point needed to clinch a play-off spot.

Dagenham & Redbridge: Justham, Wright, Onariase, Johnson, Weston, Comley, Rance, Robinson, Vilhete, McCallum (Balanta 90), Morias (Walker 87).
Unused subs: Sagaf, Ling, Hare.

Wrexham: Dibble, Hall-Johnson, French (Jarvis 63), Tozer, Cleworth, McFadzean (Ponticelli 81), Jones (McAlinden 73), Davies, Young, Mullin, Palmer.
Unused subs: Camp, O'Connor.

Attendance: 3,470 (including 1,464 Wrexham fans).