Stevenage’s participation in this season’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy started and finished this evening after a 2-1 home defeat to Dagenham & Redbridge.
After a goalless first half in which Stevenage controlled much of the play, Dagenham struck twice in three minutes after half-time to take control. A late Ben Kennedy penalty halved the deficit but Boro couldn’t find an equaliser and exit the competition at the second round stage.
Teddy Sheringham made just the one enforced change to his line-up with Chris Day coming in for Jesse Joronen, away on international duty. New loan ‘keeper Joe Lumley was named on the bench alongside Fraser Franks, Chris Whelpdale, Tom Pett and Tom Hitchcock.
A bright start by the hosts saw Boro keeping possession and patiently looking for opportunities to get at the Dagenham defence. It was to set the tone for the first half which would see Stevenage with the bulk of the ball, leaving Daggers to try and counter.
As time ticked on, so came the chances for Stevenage to take the lead. Brett Williams and Ben Kennedy both went close with chances straight at O’Brien and Boro won themselves a series of corners as the half progressed, only for Dagenham to stand firm.
Just before the half hour Dean Parrett saw a volleyed effort from the edge of the area beaten away by O’Brien before Day was called into action at the other end five minutes later, pushing away a shot from Ashley Chambers after the visitors broke from a Boro corner.
After a goalless first 45, Chambers and Hemmings both went close with half-chances for Dagenham straight after the break before Brett Williams should have put Boro 1-0 up but fired just wide of the far post after finding himself in space in the box on 50 minutes.
The hosts were to rue that miss as Dagenham promptly went up the other end and took the lead on 52 minutes. The ball was slipped into Jamie Cureton inside the box and the veteran striker showed his quality with a bending shot over Chris Day.
Chris Whelpdale came on straightaway for Dean Parrett but before Boro could readjust they found themselves two down. This time Cureton turned provider, finding himself in a similar position in the box as minutes before, but this time cutting the ball back for Chambers to fire home into the top corner.
Having barely threatened in the first half the Daggers suddenly found themselves two goals up and despite letting Boro come on to them in the remaining 32 minutes, they always remained a threat on the counter.
Indeed before Stevenage had created another chance Dagenham could have been three ahead but Chris Day saved with his feet from a low effort from sub Mulraney.
Williams saw a header bounce wide and Loza fired straight at O’Brien as Teddy Sheringham’s men tried to hit back and with 14 minutes remaining were handed a great chance from the spot, when a blatant shove in the box saw referee Drysdale left with little option. After two successive misses from 12 yards, Brett Williams stepped aside for Ben Kennedy to halve the deficit with perfect placement, despite O’Brien guessing correctly.
Loza side-footed wide tamely as Boro pushed forward, but again Dagenham nearly found a third when a Doidge challenge on Day saw the ball roll free but Hughes blocked on the line from Chambers.
Six minutes added time came and went with plenty of effort and endeavour but no chances, leaving Stevenage to contemplate their fifth straight defeat ahead of Sunday’s televised game away at Exeter City.
Stevenage: Day, Henry (Franks 17), Wells, Hughes, Ogilvie, Schumacher, Parrett, Kennedy, Loza, Conlon, Williams
Subs not used: Lumley, Whelpdale, Pett, Hitchcock
Dagenham: O’Brien, Passley, Nosworthy, Dikamona (Obileye 46), Cureton (Doidge 81), Chambers, Jones (Mulraney 53), Raymond, Hemmings, Ferdinand, Hoyte
Subs not used: Cousins, Yusuff
Referee: Darren Drysdale
Attendance: 1,401 (123 away)