Match report: Dagenham & Redbridge 3-2 Grimsby Town

Ten-man Grimsby Town were handed an away defeat as Dagenham and Redbridge took all three points at Victoria Road.

The Mariners fell behind to a header from Dean Rance but were back in the contest when John McAtee equalised just before half-time.

But after Town started the second half positively, the damage was done in an 11-minute spell where Ibrahim Akanbi restored the Daggers’ advantage, then Angelo Balanta made it 3-1 before McAtee was shown a straight red card after a late challenge.

Substitute Sam Bell reduced the deficit to one goal as Town hauled themselves back into the game again but they were unable to find the third goal which would have earned an unlikely draw and instead, left east London empty-handed.

Five changes were made to the Grimsby starting XI that began the loss at Solihull in their previous league game.

Those alterations included a change in goal as Max Crocombe replaced James McKeown, while new signing Jordan Maguire-Drew was handed his debut and McAtee made a return to the starting line-up, as David Longe-King and Ryley Towler also came back in.

Crocombe lined up behind a back four of Michee Efete, Longe-King, Luke Waterfall and Towler. Ben Fox, Alex Hunt and Harry Clifton were the midfielders, with Maguire-Drew and McAtee supporting Ryan Taylor in attack.

Shaun Pearson, Adam Crookes, Erico Sousa and Sam Bell were the others to miss out from the start, although Pearson and Bell were both named on the bench alongside Seb Revan, Will Bapaga and Lenell John-Lewis.

Dagenham came into the game looking to stop a run of three straight defeats after losses to Notts County, Eastleigh and Yeovil saw them slip to 11th in the National League table, four points off the final play-off place but only six adrift of the Mariners in fourth at kick-off.

The home side had the first chance of the game on three minutes, with Balanta slicing a half-volley wide after getting the ball back from Myles Weston.

At the other end, a free kick from Maguire-Drew proved just too high for Waterfall, then Clifton was denied by a good sliding challenge from Matt Robinson after the midfielder got on the end of a through-ball from McAtee.

Balanta looked set to give Dagenham the lead on 13 minutes when he met a cross from George Saunders on the right but Efete did well to put him off and the shot from close range went over the bar.

A good cross from Fox was cleared as Town attacked three minutes later, before Taylor was caught offside when he got to McAtee’s return ball into the box.

The Mariners won the game’s first corner soon afterwards and from it, Hunt’s delivery was met by Waterfall but his header was held by home keeper Elliot Justham.

Dagenham broke the deadlock on 20 minutes after a well-worked move, with midfielder RANCE getting on the end of a cross from Weston to flick a header past Crocombe.

Another cross from Weston was headed away as the hosts continued to attack down the flanks, before a foul on McAtee gave Town a free kick midway inside the Dagenham half. Nobody could get on the end of Maguire-Drew’s ball into the box though.

A home corner on the half-hour was eventually put out for another one, which was punched clear by Crocombe.

Dagenham were on top after taking the lead, with Town struggling to create openings in front of goal.

They did have an opportunity to cause some danger with a corner on 35 minutes but nobody could get to Hunt’s delivery from the flag.

Robinson tried his luck with a shot from 30 yards but it was straight at Crocombe, then another free kick came for a foul on Clifton but again, the away side could not make it count.

The hosts won a corner after a break down the left on 40 minutes and after it was not dealt with, Dagenham kept possession until a cross was flicked towards goal by Akanbi, whose header was caught by Crocombe.

Weston also forced Crocombe into action with a near-post shot which was held by the keeper in the last minute of the half.

Town remained on the back foot as the clock moved into one added minute but they drew level just before the break as a cutback from Efete found McATEE and he made no mistake with a clinical finish.

That meant not only were the Mariners firmly back in the contest, the timing of the goal gave them a great platform to build from after the interval.

No changes were made before the restart and Town had the first chance of the second half as McAtee beat two defenders to work an opening inside the box but was denied by Justham, who blocked his shot for a corner.

The flag-kick was not dealt with by the home defence and a cross from Maguire-Drew found Clifton, whose volley was well held by the keeper.

Efete sliced an effort wide of the near post as the visitors continued their pressure in the early stages of the half.

But after starting well following the interval, they found themselves behind again on 50 minutes through Dagenham’s first attack of note since the break. A cross was not fully dealt with and after the ball came to AKANBI on the edge of the box, he beat Longe-King before firing past Crocombe and into the top corner of the net.

And soon afterwards, things got worse for the Mariners as the hosts extended their advantage. This time, it was BALANTA who got on the scoresheet after being adjudged by the referee to have beaten the offside trap. As the flag stayed down, the striker raced clear and slotted past Crocombe.

Hunt became the first to see the referee’s yellow card after a foul on 55 minutes and the resulting free kick from Will Wright almost caught the keeper out but he did well to race back and tip the ball away for a corner, which was scrambled away for another one after Crocombe got a touch underneath his bar. This time, Wright’s delivery from the flag hit the post.

Waterfall did well to get to a cross first as Dagenham attacked again, before the situation got worse still for Town as they were reduced to 10 men. The talismanic McAtee was the one to be shown the red card after showing his frustration with a late, sliding challenge seconds after what appeared to be a foul on Maguire-Drew went unpunished.

Bell replaced Maguire-Drew and then Efete won a corner as the Mariners looked to drag themselves back into the game but the ball from the flag was cleared, as was a follow-up shot by Clifton.

Soon afterwards though, Town got their second goal as BELL fired into the net to grab his first for the club since joining on loan from Bristol City.

Reducing the deficit to one goal galvanised the visitors and Bell was involved again soon afterwards, causing problems for the home defence with his pace on the break.

Ryley Scott replaced Mauro Vilhete for Dagenham on 73 minutes and four minutes later, Crocombe made a good save from Balanta, at the expense of a corner. A free kick was then given to Town after a foul on the keeper from the flag-kick.

John-Lewis replaced Taylor in the Grimsby attack for the last 12 minutes of the game, with the hosts now starting to regain control after a good spell by the away side following Bell’s goal.

A stoppage came for Akanbi to receive treatment after being caught by Waterfall, before a dangerous-looking home counter-attack broke down when Scott failed to pick out a team-mate with a cross.

Another counter-attack came after John-Lewis lost possession but again, there was no damage as Akanbi’s cross went out for a goal kick.

Town were given five added minutes at the end of the game as they continued to search for an equalising goal.

But it was not to come as Dagenham closed out the game to earn all three points and leave the Mariners with nothing to show for their efforts.

Town are next in action on Saturday, when Chesterfield will be the visitors to Blundell Park.


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