Dagenham make it back-to-back wins against Solihull Moors

The win keeps Pools top of the National League and extends their unbeaten run to 15.

Dagenham & Redbridge midfielder Matt Robinson celebrates finding the back of the net against Solihull Moors - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Dagenham & Redbridge secured back-to-back victories at Victoria Road in a five-goal thriller against Solihull Moors.

The action-packed affair saw the hosts come from behind early on and go on to win the game thanks to goals from George Saunders, Angelo Balanta and Matt Robinson, despite a late Rooney goal – McMahon’s men showing great character and quality throughout. 

George Saunders scored his first goal for Dagenham & Redbridge against Solihull Moors

George Saunders scored his first goal for Dagenham & Redbridge against Solihull Moors - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

It was a chance to back up a superb victory on Tuesday night, with another, on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Victoria Road – an earlier kick-off due to the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral at 3pm. It was an unchanged XI, a rarity for the Daggers, but testament to their display – to a man – on Tuesday.

However, standing in their way today was an in-form Solihull Moors side who had won four of their last five going into this one. Yates’ side got the game underway, after a minutes’ silence was observed, and it was them who started the brighter of the two sides.

The Daggers were left dealing with balls into the box from all angles, as the Moors applied some early pressure; the final effort was no problem though – high and wide.


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After a rocky start, the hosts settled into the game, a first opportunity at 8 minutes as Saunders found Balanta in the box – the latter unable to fins the killer pass to McCallum though on that occasion.

A missed chance at one end, Mauro Vilhete granted the away side one up the other – a golden opportunity to open the scoring.

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Jordan Cranston made no mistake in taking it as he put his side ahead from just outside the box – fortuitous, but nonetheless a goal that gave his team the lead. The ball taking a deflection or two, help from the woodwork, but it hit the back of the net – that’s all that counts.

In terms of a reaction from the home side, there certainly was a greater attacking intent, but that’s as far as it went as the twenty-minute mark approached – little to shout about for McMahon’s team.

This intent progressed into pressure on the Moors defence, but the visitors stood firm and the score remained at 0-1 – Boot in the Solihull goal still yet to be tested.

Addai’s sheer strength and balance on the ball was causing problems down the Daggers left as he ran at them – Clark and Johnson were managing to manage him – but the attacker was proving a handful.

However, there were concerns for the away side’s defence too, Mauro Vilhete found pockets of space and had a shot at goal – though he fired just wide.

But, minutes later, on 26 minutes George Saunders was sure to hit the target from six yards as he turned home Balanta’s cross.

Saunders registering his first goal for the club, a crucial one at that, as he had got his side back on level terms in a tough and competitive encounter.

A tough encounter where Dagenham looked to get the edge as half-time loomed, Will Wright poised over a free-kick on the edge of the ‘D’ – though it was a wasted, low driven attempt.

From a wasted attempt, to an excellent one, as Elliot Justham had to be alert to a powerful strike from range – Sbarra trying his luck – but the Daggers’ number one was equal to it.

An action-packed half wasn’t over just yet, Angelo Balanta’s cross striking the arm of a Moors defender – the ref pointed to the spot.

 The Columbian stepped up and converted the spot-kick, nestling in the bottom corner, the Daggers had managed to turn the game on its head after falling behind early on.

Dagenham & Redbridge forward Angelo Balanta finds the back of the net against Solihull Moors

Dagenham & Redbridge forward Angelo Balanta finds the back of the net against Solihull Moors - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Now, they had to hang on until the break, but they were after a third as oppose to seeing the half out. Sagaf dispossessed his opponent in midfield then finding support in Saunders and McCallum, the latter ending the half with a tame effort.

The referee brought to a halt an action-packed ’45 at Victoria Road, one where the Daggers showed great character in turning the game on its head. They still had work to do in securing the victory in the second half though!

There was one change for the Daggers as Liam Gordon was introduced in place of goal-scorer George Saunders. There was an early chance for the hosts to double their lead just a minute in, but Robinson couldn’t steer his header the right side of the post.

However, it didn’t take long for him to redeem himself with another opportunity; making no mistake on this occasion. The half just four minutes young, Robinson got the ball under control in the box from a corner kick and fired it into the back of the net!

The home side now found themselves 3-1 up as the 60 minute mark approached, a position they had rarely found themselves in – ahead, let alone by this margin at this stage in the game.

There was still time though, for a late resurgence from Yates’ side, with the men in red and blue having to remain focussed to ensure they secured back-to-back league victories.

Elliot Justham was all too aware of that and pulled off an incredible save to keep the score at 3-1, he clawed a header off the line from close range – top drawer!

Kenny Clark was too, prepared to put his body on the line to preserve his side’s lead – a last-ditch sliding challenge denied the Moors a second.

Despite being under the cosh for a few minutes, the Daggers were determined to get back on top and not remain under siege – Mauro Vilhete was driving this advance.

The number 22 worked hand in hand with Angelo Balanta, exchanging passes in and around the box, but neither could get a shot off.

No shot could be got off, but the referee was soon to send Williams off for the trailing side following an altercation after a tackle.

Two goals to the good and a man advantage, the Daggers looked to have the three points sown up on 80 minutes – Solihull left with a mountain to climb.

 They looked to find a way back in it late in the day, perhaps with a bit of luck, but the Dagenham defence were having none of it. Particularly, Elliot Johnson, resembling Clark’s tackle he slid across and claimed the ball to deny Hudlin a shot at goal.

That looked to be the last action of the half, but Rooney was determined to make his mark and he did just that capitalizing on a Dagenham error – finding the back of the net.

But that was to prove nothing but a consolation goal as the Daggers saw out the last minute without issue and it was another great shift from every Dagger at Victoria Road. Securing back-to back wins, a rarity for McMahon’s side, there was cause for optimism that the team can finish the season strong.

Daggers: Justham, Wright, Clark, Jones (’87 Tom Smith), Saunders (’45 Gordon), Johnson, Robinson, Sagaf, Vilhete, Balanta (’90 Wilson), McCallum.

Unused Subs: Reynolds, Khan.

Solihull Moors: Boot, Williams, Cranston, Storer, Sbarra (’75 Hancox), Maycock (’62 Rooney), Piggott, Ball, Usher-Shipway, Hudlin, Addai (’75 Archer).

Unused Subs: Coxe, Donawa.

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