Aldershot Town’s seven-game unbeaten run came to an end with a narrow 1-0 away defeat to Dagenham & Redbridge at the Chigwell Construction Stadium.
The Shots made seven changes to the starting XI that drew against Woking on Boxing Day last weekend.
Scott Wagstaff, Mikael Ndjoli, Jayden Harris, Brad Webb, Tommy Willard, Ben Shroll and fresh from his loan spell with Farnborough FC, Elis Watts returned.
Alfy Whittingham, Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong, Ryan Glover, Mo Sylla all took their places on the bench, with Alfie Saunders suspended following his red card, as Corie Andrews and Giles Phillips were given a rest, with Phillips completing 90 minutes against Woking last Saturday in his first game back from injury.
The opening ten minutes saw half-chances come for both sides, with Dagenham’s Junior Morias cutting inside from the right and forcing a good save from Aldershot Town keeper Laurie Walker in the fourth minute.
Aldershot Town responded with their best chance five minutes later, as the returning Watts drove forward into the Dagenham penalty area, but from a difficult angle could only find his driven effort whistle past the near post.
Following this, both sides looked to open the scoring with a succession of corners, but neither could create an opportunity that saw them take the lead.
Another chance for the home side came 10 minutes before the break, with Morias’ cross from their right-hand side reaching the onrushing Sam Ling, but the full-back fortunately saw his header fly way over the bar.
Despite this, Dagenham ended the first-half a goal ahead following a well-worked move that was finished off well by captain Angelo Balanta in the 39th minute.
The second-half started in similar fashion to the first, with Dagenham creating early chances and Aldershot Town looked to hit on the break.
Matt Robinson fired just wide in the 51st minute, as The Shots almost carved out an equaliser eight minutes later with Brad Webb’s cross flashing across the face of the Dagenham goal but unfortunately couldn’t find the boot of an onrushing Aldershot Town player.
The Shots almost found an opening two minutes later, with a free-kick from captain Lewis Kinsella just too far in front of recent substitute Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong, with the following corner allowing Corey Jordan to volley goalwards, whoever the effort was well-blocked.
Following a great save by Laurie Walker after Josh Walker’s effort, Scott Wagstaff’s effort in the 69th minute could only drag wide of the far-right post with Aldershot Town pushing for an equaliser.
The Shots had another great chance with captain Lewis Kinsella’s 30-yard goal-bound free-kick tipped behind for a corner by Craig Ross in the 53rd minute.
A goal-mouth scramble almost saw Jordan score in the 73rd minute, but Dagenham’s Elliot Justham again was on hand to deny the defender at the near post.
One final chance to equalise came in added time with a deep free-kick from Kinsella, but Dagenham held strong and cleared the cross as the home side were able to see out the narrow victory despite the Shots’ best efforts late on in the game.
The Shots are next in action when we visit Woking FC in our first game of 2022 on January 2nd.
Dagenham & Redbridge FC: 1 E Justham (G/K), 2 C Reynolds, 5 W Wright, 8 M Sagaf, 10 A Balanta (C) (Weston 76′), 12 M Robinson, 19 S Ling, 20 M Vilhete, 21 I Akanbi (Walker 66′), 24 J Morias, 28 Y Zouma
Unused Subs: 13 J Strizovic (G/K), 14 G Saunders, 18 R Scott
Aldershot Town FC: 37 L Walker (G/K), 3 L Kinsella (C), 4 S Wagstaff, 12 C Oxlade-Chamberlain, 16 C Jordan, 20 M Ndjoli (Glover 57′), 21 B Shroll, 23 J Harris, 25 E Watts (Berkeley-Agyepong 57′), 27 T Willard, 32 B Webb (Sylla 72′)
Unused Subs: 1 M Walker (G/K), 7 A Whittingham