The Daggers were made to pay for not taking a couple of guilt-edge changes during the first half, as clinical strikes in the second from Jason Prior and Harry Ottaway wrapped up the win for Wanderers on an afternoon where Marc White’s side continued to show their resolute qualities by keeping a second clean sheet in three games, further boosting survival hopes by moving eight points clear of the relegation zone as six games now remain this season.
There was one change to the side which started in the 1-0 win against Southend United on Tuesday night, Ed Harris coming into the back three in place of Tony Craig who picked up a knock during training in the week. On the day of his 300th appearance for Wanderers, James McShane took the captain’s armband in Craig’s absence and with Barry Fuller named on the bench.
Inside the opening seconds the home side surged forward from the kick off and thrashed an effort over the bar, an early signal of intent as Ben Strevens side adapted better to the very windy conditions to make the stronger start to the game, getting the ball to stick better in midfield and across the attacking areas. Myles Weston got in a couple of times down the attacking right, Cook and Harris doing well to shun a couple of efforts before Weston’s free kick was only half-cleared by the Wanderers defence, the ball sitting up nicely for Inih Effiong just outside the six yard box, but the striker smashed his shot over the bar.
Wanderers began winning their battles and took a command of possession midway through the half; Josh Taylor’s deflected volley setting up a corner which Gallagher would head well wide of target, Bowerman then getting success down the left a couple of times including winning a corner which was worked short for Francomb who dragged the effort past the post.
It was the hosts again though would go closer to opening the scoring as the opening forty-five progressed, Cook with a good sliding challenge to deny Mo Sagaf after Weston’s through ball sent the midfielder in on goal at the near post, Weston himself then squandering the best chance of match just a few minutes later, Sydney Ibie’s low ball getting through the bodies to find the former Notts County and Brentford man at the back post in space, but he could only side-foot his effort over the bar.
Half-Time: Dagenham & Redbridge 0 Dorking Wanderers 0
A scrappy beginning to the second half was punctuated by a couple of early stoppages, including Prior going down off the ball and receiving treatment, the striker deemed okay to continue, but winger Sydney Ibie, who appeared to pull his hamstring as he went down on the outskirts of the field, was unable to carry on, and replaced by Mauro Vilhete.
Past the hour mark Wanderers brought keeper Josh Strizovic into action for the first time in the contest; McShane’s deflected strike from outside the box forcing the stopper to tip the ball over the bar before then having to claw away Francomb’s subsequent corner at it dropped dangerously towards the far post.
Serving as a warning, from the follow up set piece Wanderers managed to open the scoring. The Daggers were unable to clear their lines from Josh Taylor’s long throw in, Gallagher able to pass the ball into the feet of Prior towards the rear side of the penalty area, and the striker directed a low first time shot calmly around Strizovic and into the bottom left corner of goal.
The momentum very much with Marc White’s men, Moore and Josh Taylor’s pressing was getting Wanderers up the field as general play continued to be disjointed from both sides. Prior’s knockdown for Harris teed up Josh Taylor to take on a strike, the midfielder’s effort bouncing wide, Lincoln then called into action with Dagenham’s first effort on target a few minutes later as skipper Matt Robinson’s shot through a crowd of bodies was kept out instinctively with an outstretched leg, the keeper then catching Effiong’s header at the back post.
Ottaway had come on for McShane as we entered the final quarter of the game, and within ten minutes, the substitute effectively put the game to bed by doubling Wanderers advantage for the afternoon. Another cross into the box couldn’t be fully cleared as The Daggers looked to come away with the ball, Bowerman making a timely interception and finding Ottaway, who like Prior angled a low effort away from Strizovic to find the bottom corner of the net.
An exercise in seeing the game out thereafter, both sides made final changes as the game petered out, Francomb and sub Fuller getting threatening deliveries away through six minutes of added on time as Wanderers held out to take maximum points for only the third time on the road this campaign.
The run of three straight wins is a first for Marc White’s side this term, and the manager will be hoping his side can continue to pick up points and pull further away from the drop zone across the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, where Wanderers host Woking FC on Good Friday before travelling to Yeovil Town next Monday afternoon.
Dagenham & Redbridge (4-2-3-1): 13 Josh Strizovic, 2 Josh Hare, 5 Manny Onariase, 16 Harry Phipps, 19 Sam Ling; 12 Matt Robinson (c), 21 David Longe-King (10 Angelo Balanta 69′); 11 Myles Weston, 8 Mo Sagaf (14 George Saunders 80′), 39 Sydney Ibie (20 Mauro Vilhete 58′); 7 Inih Effiong
Unused Subs: 6 Omar Mussa, 36 Jay Bird
Yellwo Card: Longe-King 3′, Ling 74′
Dorking Wanderers (3-5-1): 1 Dan Lincoln, 37 George Francomb, 5 Ed Harris (25 Aaron Kuhl 81′), 33 Joe Cook; 7 Jimmy Muitt (22 Barry Fuller 88′), 20 Dan Gallagher, 17 Josh Taylor, 18 Luke Moore, 30 Seb Bowerman; 11 James McShane (c) (24 Harry Ottaway 72′), 19 Jason Prior
Unused Subs: 3 Bobby-Joe Taylor, 9 Ryan Seager
Goals: Prior 66′, Ottaway 79′
Yellow Card: Harris 8′
Referee: Steven Copeland
Attendance: 2224 (193 Wanderers Supporters)
Man Of The Match: Sydney Ibie (Official Home Selection)