Match Report: Dagenham 1 Exeter City 2For the fourth time on the bounce, Exeter City secured a 2-1 victory – and this time it was Dagenham & Redbridge that were the vanquished side.
City were trailing to a goal by former Grecian Jamie Cureton at the break following a disappointing first half.
But Exeter, galvanised and dominant in the second period, fought back well and got on terms when Alex Nicholls was felled in the area and Jimmy Keohane netted from the penalty spot.
The turnaround was complete deep into stoppage time when Arron Davies rose highest to head in a late winner for the Grecians.
Striker Tom Nichols started for City, stepping in for the injured Graham Cummins who missed out on the matchday squad completely. Regular left-back Craig Woodman was also injured and therefore the starting XI was otherwise unchanged from the victory over Bury, while former Grecian Cureton led the line for the Daggers.
A frantic but rather loose start from both teams meant that neither goalkeeper had much to concern themselves with in the opening exchanges as both teams were struggling to build.
Grecian stopper Christy Pym was the first to be forced into action, as Cureton’s lay-off allowed Ashley Chambers to strike from outside the area, which the City goalie held well. Straight down the other end, Liam Sercombe tested Mark Cousins and forced a corner.
But in the tenth minute the scoring was opened through a familiar source for the hosts. Chambers found space on the right to send in a low cross into the feet of Cureton, and a smart touch by the 39-year-old allowed him to spin his man and find space in one movement, and he placed his shot past the exposed Pym and high into the net.
Dagenham were enjoyed the possession and chances, and Cureton wasted a gifted chance to double his and the hosts’ tally. It was a misplaced pass by Danny Butterfield that put the striker through on goal, but he curled his effort marginally wide of the target unopposed from just inside the box.
Christian Ribeiro forced Cousins into making a save as he overlapped down the right, and his teasing delivery needed touching over the bar by the stopper.
As Dagenham continued to force the issue, Cureton found the net again as he broke the back-line and slotted through the legs of Pym – but not before the assistant referee’s flag had been raised for offside.
And as the game ticked into the three added minutes at the end of the first period, Pym was called upon to make a terrific save from Cureton. The forward struck firmly from 25 yards and the deflection wrong-footed Pym, who recovered superbly to claw the ball away at the near post.
City nearly squared the scores just before the referee’s whistle – Ribeiro chipped a ball into the channel for Sercombe to back-heel into the path of Alex Nicholls, but his effort was deflected against the post and behind.
From the resultant corner, a hanging delivery was only cleared as far as Sercombe – his volley almost eked its way through the crowd, but was ultimately turned away under the crossbar.
Half-time: Dagenham & Redbridge 1 Exeter City 0
The Grecians looked much brighter at the start of the second period and were forcing the issue, down the left flank in particular. Nichols wasn’t quite able to find room to shoot when he received on the edge of the area from Grimes, and then Nicholls made little contact as he tried to strike left-footed on the half-volley from outside the area.
A smart ball into Nichols from captain Scot Bennett allowed the forward to turn and win a free-kick from Andre Boucaud, who was booked for the challenge. Matt Oakley teed up Grimes from dead-ball 25 yards out, but Cousins got behind it.
Jordan Moore-Taylor, who was playing at left-back in what had become a more conventional 4-4-2 formation, sent over a teasing cross from the byline which just evaded all of the City attackers. At the other end, Cureton tried to catch City cold with a looping half-volley from 30 yards, but Pym was alive to pluck the strike out of the top corner.
Moore-Taylor again got forward well and linked up with Grimes on the left before sending in a ball for Bennett, but the makeshift forward couldn’t generate enough power on his effort.
Substitute David Wheeler combined down the right with right-back Ribeiro – the latter pulled back for Grimes who bent a shot just over.
But as the game entered the final ten minutes, City were back on terms as Keohane levelled from the spot.
Nicholls burst clear down the inside left and, when he appeared to be heading into a blind alley, was bundled over by Matt Partridge. After a minute or two of commotion, Keohane stepped up and made no mistake from 12 yards to level the game.
Exeter had a chance to go ahead for the first time when Bennett and Wheeler combined in a quick break – the former laid in Keohane, who hesitated when a shot might have been the better option. Dagenham broke quickly and only a smart block from Moore-Taylor denied Cureton his second.
The fourth official signalled no less than seven added minutes, and Ribeiro sent in a delivery for Wheeler – his touch just got away from him and he and goalkeeper Cousins collided heavily as they made honest challenges for the ball.
But the comeback was complete when Ribeiro again was involved – he hung up a fine cross for Davies to glance in at the near post and secure a late win for the Grecians.
Full-time: Dagenham & Redbridge 1 Exeter City 2
Dagenham & Redbridge: Cousins; Batt, Partridge, Saah, Connors; Hemmings (Porter 73), Boucaud (Doidge 81), Ogogo, Labadie, Chambers; Cureton.
Subs: O’Brien, Doe, Doidge, Green, Goldberg, Yussuf.
Goal: Cureton (10).
Exeter City: Exeter City: Pym; Butterfield, Ribeiro, Oakley, Moore-Taylor, Davies; Sercombe (Keohane 69), Grimes; Bennett, Nicholls (Jay 81), Nichols (Wheeler 66).
Subs: Hamon, Dawson, Jay, Riley-Lowe, Tillson.
Goals: Keohane (80 pen), Davies (90).
Attendance: 2,138 (402 away).
Referee: Keith Stroud