Magpies captain bemoans familiar story as Daggers score four at York Road

Emile Acquah. Photo: George Tewkesbury

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Maidenhead United 1, Dagenham & Redbridge 4

Alan Massey was left to bemoan a familiar story at full-time on Saturday afternoon as his side produced another woeful defensive performance on their return to National League action.

Angelo Balanta was the bane of the Magpies’ existence in this clash with the skipper scoring a hat-trick before Ibrahim Akanbi got himself involved to help lift the Daggers into seventh place.

Josh Kelly snatched the home side’s solitary goal but that did not stop them slipping into 19th with a minus eight goal difference, having not kept a clean sheet since the start of October.

After the match, captain Massey was rightly dejected, saying: “It’s really disappointing. They were a sloppy couple of goals to concede today.

“Our forward players have been brilliant – they have been creating chances and scoring goals. We just really need to tighten up at the back.”

The Magpies were the better team within the opening 20 minutes with Remy Clerima offering his services outside and inside the area.

Firstly, he curled a teasing ball into the box for his colleagues to attack before the defender got his head onto a George Wells delivery, spurning the opportunity to open the scoring.

Manny Parry nodded over an effort from a Wells cross moments after and that attempt was swiftly rued by the number five as the Daggers broke the deadlock.

Against the run of play, Akanbi skilfully skipped past Parry before sending in a superb ball for Balanta to direct into the back of the net in the 27th minute.

Thereafter, Daryl McMahon’s men started to take control of the game and had two chances in quick succession.

The first came from Matt Robinson who rifled over an attempt from the edge of the box. Mauro Vilheten then rattled the crossbar and scuffed the goal line with a venomous strike.

Eventually, the second goal arrived when Balanta got in the right place at the right time to tap in a finish after Akanbi’s initial strike was parried away dangerously by Rhys Lovett in the 39th minute.

As the first half drew to a close, Alan Devonshire’s side did get themselves back on the ball and two shots from Wells got Elliot Justham on his toes and moving again.

The Magpies started the second half how they began the first, with plenty of possession, but were in dire need of testing the Daggers’ goalkeeper more.

Thankfully, Barratt took this responsibility and drove at the opposition defence before whipping in a superb ball for Kelly to attack fiercely, the number 22 able to halve the deficit in the 57th minute.

The Daggers scored their third goal under 10 minutes later, however, as Balanta scored a carbon copy of his previous goal with the ball trickling into his path again from Akanbi’s palm-stinging drive.

Akanbi, who was involved with all of the first three goals, finally got one for himself and it was the pick of the bunch. Holding off his man, the striker curled a shot into the top corner for his first goal for the club in the 72nd minute.

That wrapped up the game, leaving boss Alan Devonshire plenty to ponder on the pitch with his coaching staff for long after the final whistle blew.

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