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Match Reports

Notts 1-2 Dagenham

It somehow ends in defeat

25 February 2023

Match Reports

Notts 1-2 Dagenham

It somehow ends in defeat

25 February 2023

Our 25-game unbeaten run came to an end as, despite a dominant display, we were beaten 2-1 by Dagenham and Redbridge.

After taking the lead through Ruben Rodrigues, we were hit on the break either side of half time - Angelo Balanta sending his side into the break level before Inih Effiong scored out of nowhere with his team on the ropes.

The defeat was particularly sickening due to a number of strong penalty appeals being waved away, including a blatant foul on Macaulay Langstaff which was somehow missed by the officials - who saw fit to show a red card to Aden Baldwin as tempers flared at full-time.

Luke Williams made two changes to the side that beat Southend in midweek.

Sam Austin, who scored two goals in that match, joined Jodi Jones on the bench as Jim O’Brien and Aaron Nemane returned to the starting XI.

New signing Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, who arrived on loan from Stockport earlier in the week, was also named among the substitutes.

We only had to wait a matter of seconds for our first opportunity as Nemane capitalised on a defensive error to cut in from the left and drag a low shot wide of the near post.

Nine minutes player, Macaulay Langstaff sent John Bostock’s excellent cross just wide with an inventive flick as we continued to dominate the opening exchanges.

But Dagenham could easily have had an unlikely opening goal on 15 minutes when Dean Rance saw his glancing header fly inches wide of the far post from a corner.

Our response was immediate, Nemane beating two defenders brilliantly only to see his powerful cross cleared.

And, five minutes later, we were in front when Rodrigues pushed the ball into space on his right and fired a low shot through a crowd of bodies, beating Elliot Justham in the Daggers’ net.

We kept up our pressure and were cursing Manny Onariase when he made a brilliant clearance to prevent Nemane’s excellent cross from reaching Langstaff.

And our frustrations were compounded on 31 minutes when Rodrigues was caught in possession and we were unable to prevent Balanta from rounding off the counter-attack to equalise.

We so nearly went back in front almost straightaway when Rodrigues played a brilliant ball for Nemane, whose low cross was fired goalwards by Langstaff – only for a defender to clear it off the line.

Justham then had to parry a low Matt Palmer effort wide before he could only parry a Rodrigues shot and breathe a sigh of relief as O’Brien couldn’t adjust his body to score on the rebound.

And the keeper was in action once again on the stroke of half-time to deny Langstaff, who couldn’t quite bring Kyle Cameron’s excellent pass under close enough control to shoot from a decent angle.

We emerged for the second half unchanged and Bostock drew another save from Justham early on, although his right-footed effort never had the power to trouble him.

Then came a hugely controversial moment when Langstaff was clearly hauled back as he looked set to meet a cross into the box. Somehow, both the referee and his assistant decided no foul had been committed.

Williams made a double change moments later as Bostock and O’Brien made way for Jones and Austin.

And, within a minute of his introduction, Jones cut in from the right and whistled a shot just past the post.

Austin then did brilliantly to cross from the left but the ball managed to evade both Langstaff and Nemane in the middle.

And another Austin cross moments later led to more huge penalty appeals being waved away as Adam Chicksen was felled in the area.

We kept up our pressure and Austin was involved yet again as another huge moment went against us, Jones meeting his fellow substitute’s cross with a goalbound left-footed effort which was blocked on the line by a defender.

Chicksen then saw a shot met with another huge block before Lemonheigh-Evans replaced Nemane in a move which saw Jones move to right wing back.

And it was from that position which Jones would cut inside and bend a shot off the post as our visitors’ goal continued to live an incredibly charmed life.

Two minutes later, Lemonheigh-Evans produced a sublime nutmeg in the area only to see his shot saved – and Jones’ effort on the follow-up blocked.

And the next spell of concerted pressure proved to be our undoing as, when trying to find a way through the Daggers’ defence, Palmer conceded possession, sparking a pacey counter-attack which ended with Effiong finding the top corner with a stunning strike from the edge of the area.

Far from being stunned into submission, we continued our assault on the Dagenham goal and were thwarted unbelievably once more in the final minute of normal time as Langstaff struck the post before Chicksen’s blocked shot fell to Austin, who did brilliantly to control but could only fire the ball at a defender on the line with Justham stranded.

We were given five additional minutes to find an equaliser, during which Langstaff turned brilliantly in the area before being unable to get enough purchase on his shot.

And that proved to be the final chance we could muster as we fell to an incredibly rare defeat - worsened by Baldwin's dismissal after full-time.

STARTING XI: Slocombe; Cameron, Baldwin, Rawlinson; Chicksen, Nemane (Lemonheigh-Evans 71'); Palmer, Bostock (Austin 56'), Rodrigues, O’Brien (Jones 56'); Langstaff

SUBS: Bajrami, Francis

ATTENDANCE: 7,441 (120)

BOOKINGS: Rodrigues 90'

RED CARDS: Baldwin 90'

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