Three goals in 18 first half minutes was enough for Dagenham & Redbridge to beat Stevenage 3-1 at The Lamex Stadium this afternoon.
Teddy Sheringham’s men started well enough and asked all the early questions, with Lee heading over and Jamille Matt hitting the bar. However two goals in two minutes from Ashley Chambers and Joss Labadie gave Boro a mountain a climb and despite a Christian Doidge own goal reducing the deficit on the half hour, he then scored at the right end six minutes later to condemn the hosts to defeat.
Manager Teddy Sheringham made three changes from the Boxing Day defeat at Crawley with Fraser Franks, Charlie Lee and Jamille Matt coming in for Ryan Johnson, Armand Gnanduillet and the injured Chris Whelpdale. There was also a return to the bench for Ben Kennedy.
Joss Labadie and Passley both had half-chances for the visitors in the opening seven minutes but it was Stevenage who would dominate the opening 15 minutes and create their own clear-cut chances to score. Charlie Lee headed a Tonge free-kick over after 8 minutes, Matt saw a header deflect onto the bar from a McCombe flick on 12 minutes and then Lee headed inches wide with a bullet header after a cross from Henry on the quarter-hour.
However Dagenham made Boro pay for those early misses by taking the lead on 17 minutes. A cross from the right flank was met by Ashley Chambers and his header flew away from Day’s despairing dive to nestle in the far corner.
The hosts barely had time to settle before finding themselves two goals down a minute later. Dagenham won possession and the ball fell to Labadie who rifled home across Day from outside the area, for a spectacular second strike.
Stevenage were at sixes and sevens with Doidge (twice) and Chambers both going close for Daggers, before a 28th minute change saw striker Armand Gnanduillet replace Mark Hughes. Boro reverted to a back three with Pett and McFadzean providing width.
Almost immediately Stevenage pulled a goal back on the half hour. Matt won a corner after more good work and when McFadzean’s cross came into the box, Doidge headed into his own net under pressure from Franks.
Moments later good strength by Gnanduillet won another corner with Matt going close and then Tonge firing over from the edge of the area after a loose clearance.
It felt like Boro were in the ascendancy but Dagenham dealt a killer blow on 36 minutes. Chambers advanced into the box and with defenders around him, he looked to try and draw a loose tackle but instead played the ball across for Doidge to tap home from yards out.
There were no changes at the start of the second half and it was against Stevenage pushing forward in the early stages. Chances, however, were restricted to half-efforts with McFadzean seeing Cousins deny him on 52 minutes and Pett shootly weakly at the ‘keeper five minutes later.
Still Boro pushed forward but couldn’t find that second goal, despite creating even better chances as the half progressed. Matt saw a header from a Conlon free-kick land on the roof of the Daggers net, Pett saw a 64th minute shot kept out by Cousins and then Tonge fired the loose ball against the post as it looked like being one of those days.
Even the introduction of Ben Kennedy for the final 16 minutes failed to change fortunes, although the hosts still kept Dagenham penned back in their own half only to be thwarted by either resolute defending or a poor final ball.
Six minutes of time added on were signalled during which Cousins made the save of the game, diving superbly to his left to keep out Lee’s header from a Pett cross.
Dagenham left The Lamex Stadium with all three points, leaving Boro to reflect on a disappointing afternoon ahead of next Saturday’s first home game of 2016 against Leyton Orient.
Stevenage: Day, Henry, Hughes (Gnanduillet 28), McCombe, Franks, Cox (Kennedy 74), Tonge, Pett, Lee, McFadzean (Conlon 58), Matt
Subs not used: Crowe, Johnson, Gordon, Gorman
Dagenham: Cousins, Passley, Labadie, Dikamona, Chambers (Cureton 81), Doidge (Vassell 66), Raymond, Hemmings, Dunne, Obileye, Hoyte
Subs not used: O’Brien, Connors, Nosworthy, Boucard, Jones
Attendance: 3,152 (232 away)