GATESHEAD fell to an unlucky 3-1 defeat to Dagenham and Redbridge after a battling and hard-fought game, at the Chigwell Construction Stadium.
An own goal levelled the match for Gateshead midway through the first-half, after Dagenham had taken an early lead through Joe White. A promising end-to-end second-half unfortunately didn’t end positively for the Heed however, as the Daggers grabbed two late goals, through Morgan Ferrier and Elliott Romain, which gave Johns Still’s side all three points and put them at the top of the National League.
The Daggers started as a side sitting 2nd in the league should as they pressed Gateshead from the first whistle and looked the most dangerous in the opening exchanges.
In the first moments of the game Dagenham were nearly in front. Following some swift and neat play, Daggers striker Morgan Ferrier was released through the middle. Ferrier struck the ball and with a slight deflection Dan Hanford’s reflexes were called into actions. The Heed’s keeper slight touch on the ball gave Theo Vassell just enough time to get back to clear the ball off the line, with a little bit of assistance from the crossbar. The ball rebounded to a waiting Joe White but the Dagenham midfielder could not control allowing Hanford to gratefully collect.
Joe White, however, did not take long to rectify this mistake as, by the 13th minute, he had put the Daggers into an early lead. Howells swung in a free-kick from the right looking for the target-man Ferrier. The striker was in plenty of space to connect and put an effort on target. Hanford however, was ready to palm the ball away. His save however was sent along the line to where a patient Joe White just had to tap in to a gaping Gateshead goal.
The Daggers didn’t stop pushing either, once they had their goal and they nearly got their second two minutes later. Chances were starting to become more regular, the best of which being an ambitious strike from Andre Boucaud.
A bouncing ball just outside the Heed’s box was hit speculatively on the volley by Boucaud and it looked to be sailing into the left-hand corner but it dipped just over the bar.
The Heed however, were back level by the 24th minute. A Hannant free-kick was whipped in from the edge of the Daggers box and caused chaos in the home-side’s back line. After a bit of pinball action, an unsuspecting Lokko bundled it into his own net.
Moments later, Gateshead nearly turned the game on its head as they almost took the lead.
After good work from Hannat and Williams down the right-hand side, Peniket took the ball and shot towards goal. His effort was deflected but only into the path of Robbie Tinkler, who tried to chip the onrushing Mark Cousins, but his attempt dipped just over the bar.
As Dagenham reshaped they started to get a hold back on the game and were awarded a penalty as the first-half was nearing its end
Heed captain Neilll Byrne was alleged to have fouled Ferrier in the box, after the two players had collided, and it was the felled Ferrier who stepped up to take the penalty. The striker waited for Hanford to dive before chipping the ball over the keeper. The Panenka-esque penalty backfired however, as it bounced back off the bar.
The danger wasn’t over though as a poor attempted clearance from Fyfield set up another chance for Ferrier. This time however, his powerful shot was saved by Hanford before a collaboration between Heed player of the month Vassell and Fyfield eventually cleared the ball to relative safety.
After the break and as the sun came out at the Chigwell Construction Stadium, it was Gateshead who started better side.
Jordan Preston was beginning to see much more of the ball than he had in the first-half and it was his battling and endeavour, which was making the Heed look dangerous in possession.
Chances were falling for Neil Aspin’s side, the first of which fell to the impressive Robbie Tinkler. The substitute midfielder was causing a nuisance in the box before his effort at goal was blocked by the Daggers defence.
Moments later, Luke Hannant did well on the right-hand side again for the Heed and managed to fizz a ball across the box. His cross needed just the slightest of touches to put Gateshead ahead however, there was no one ready to pounce.
Dagenham were still looking a threat on the break however, with the front man Morgan Ferrier still causing all sorts of problems.
In the space of just a few minutes, Ferrier had two great chances to put the London outfit in front. Ferrier was given the chance to make some room 18-yards from goal and with that space, he struck a fiery effort which Hanford made a finger-tip save to push the ball over the bar.
Within two minutes, Ferrier was back in the box and, with the goal at his mercy, he lined up a shot but his strike was expertly blocked on the slide by Vassell.
It was end-to-end football in sunny London and up the other end of the pitch, the Heed were nearly in front. Again, it was the right-hand side where the danger came from. This time a lofted cross was headed powerfully towards goal by Tinkler, a header which forced Cousins to dive low and palm away.
Almost immediately, Dagenham were on the break again and once again it was Morgan Ferrier causing all the danger. The front man, who could have had three or four was once again denied as Byrne slid to block his shot, after he had rounded Hanford in the Gateshead net.
Ferrier was not to be denied again however, as he put the Daggers in front in the 80th minute. The ball was floatinto to the Gateshead box which substitute Nick Wheeler neatly flicked onto the lurking Ferrier, who finally forced the ball passed Hanford.
Gateshead were not finished either though as they pushed for a late equaliser.
Another cross from the right-hand side was missed by the melee of players in the Daggers box and the ball fell to the returning Danny Johnson. The striker lined up the volley but could only watch as it was blocked away for a corner.
It was not to be the Heed’s day however as Dagenham notched their third in the 87th minute. A long ball was met by the on-running Elliott Romain who fired the ball out of the reach of Dan Hanford, securing all three points for the Daggers, placing them at the top of the National League.
Dagenham & Redbridge(4-3-2-1): Cousins; Nunn, Pennell,Lokko, Robson; Robinson, Boucard, Howells; White (Romain 64), Okenabirhie (Wheeler 64); Ferrier.
Subs not used: Justham, Adams, N’Gala.
Goals: White (13), Ferrier (80), Romain (87).
Bookings: Nunn (86), Romain (90)
Gateshead(5-4-1): Hanford; Williams, Vassell, Byrne, Fyfield, Mellish (Tinkler 16); Penn (Burrow 81), Preston (Johnson 64), McLaughlin, Hannant; Peniket
Subs not used: York , Green.
Goals: Lokko Own goal (24)
Bookings: Byrne (42), Fyfield (90).
Referee: Neil Hair
Attendance: 1,358 (Gateshead 21)