Steven Rigg scored twice as Gateshead extended their unbeaten run under new manager Ben Clark to five matches with victory at the Chigwell Construction Stadium.
The win moves The Heed back into the playoff places but they did not have things all their own way. They were fortunate not to fall behind in the first half as the hosts created a plethora of chances but, Lamar Reynolds in particular, could not convert any of them.
Against the run of play, the visitors took the lead at the end of the first half through Rigg’s penalty, a lead Rigg himself would double in the second half.
The Daggers had the chance to strike back with 20 minutes remaining, but Conor Wilkinson saw his penalty saved and with that went any chance for Peter Taylor’s men to get something from the game.
The hosts, having recalled Jake Munns and Alex McQueen, were immediately on the front foot as Munns caused panic in the Gateshead backline by driving at them straight from the kick off. He played in Liam Gordon who was able to set up a chance for McQueen but he could not sort his feet out and get a clean shot away.Embed from Getty Images
Gordon made good use of his pace down the left throughout the game and again set up Munns early in the half, who had a long range shot easily saved by Aynsley Pears in the Gateshead goal.
The one-way traffic continued as Kenny Clark then came close to opening the scoring from a flicked header following a Munns cross. Moments later, Clark came even closer, this time he rose above Fraser Kerr to head McQueen’s corner onto the crossbar.
It was beginning to feel like the Daggers were destined not to score when on the half hour mark, Reynolds wasted two glorious opportunities to break the deadlock.
Reynolds got free from Doug Loft’s looping pass and put pressure on Robbie Tinkler, the wing back’s touch was poor, allowing in Reynolds one-on-one but out came Pears to save well with his legs. When Munns presented Reynolds with a second bite as the cherry, Tinkler raced back to clear off the line and atone for his earlier error.
Two minutes later, Daggers heads were in hands yet again when McQueen whipped in a ball from the edge of the box, Reynolds again ghosted free of his marker but planted his header wide when it looked easier to score.
The hosts simply could not get away with missing so many chances and were punished in the 41st minute when Gateshead were awarded a penalty after Manny Onariase put his arms on Mike Williamson from a corner. It looked to be soft, but Carl Brook was convinced. Rigg stepped up and smashed his penalty down the middle to put the Heed 1-0 up.
The half probably ended at the right time for Dagenham as tempers threatened to boil over given the clear sense of aggrievement felt at heading in behind at the break.Embed from Getty Images
Gateshead emerged in the second half with a renewed sense of confidence and nearly doubled their lead when Tom White shot just wide from the edge of the box.
In the 52nd minute, they would double their lead after neat interplay in the penalty area. Scott Barrow’s ball into the box started the move, he found Greg Olley, who drew Elliott Justham off his line which allowed him the opportunity to square to Rigg for an easy tap-in to double his and Gateshead’s tally.
Peter Taylor responded by taking off the lively Munns and replacing him with centre-forward Chike Kandi; a move which drew boos and chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing” from the home faithful.
However, The Daggers did earn themselves a route back into the game with 20 minutes to go when Reynolds again was in the thick of the action. Olley brought him down in the box and the referee had no choice but to point to the spot again. Wilkinson stepped up but saw his effort saved by Pears diving to his left.
Wilkinson, immediately after, squared up to Jon Mellish in a move that earned both players a yellow card.Embed from Getty Images
Dagenham seized control of the match in the final stages but, as was the story of the day, were unable to put the ball in the back of the net. Substitute Ollie Harfield came close from a long-range shot and Wilkinson headed over just yards from goal.
In stoppage time came the final chance, McQueen whipped in a teasing ball which Kandi connected with but Pears was on hand to beat it away at the near post. Gordon made strong use of his pace down the left throughout the game and again set up Munns early in the half, who had a long range shot easily saved by Aynsley Pears in the Gateshead goal.