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21:47 16th August 2011

Report: Dagenham & Redbridge 1 Town 0

Mark Arber's 70th minute penalty condemned Town to their second consecutive League 2 defeat, as they went down 1-0 to Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday night.

Paolo Di Canio will no doubt feel aggrieved after seeing his side denied what he saw as a clear penalty in the first period, but in truth either team could have ground out a victory after what was a bitty affair in Essex.

Both sides made a scrappy start to the clash, and it was the hosts who created the first opportunity as a long, hopeful ball found its way through to Brian Woodall, but the striker made a mess of his effort, scuffing it weakly into the arms of Phil Smith after six minutes.

The hosts continued to enjoy the best of the opening quarter of an hour, though Woodall's remained the only clear cut chance they could muster.

Town took until the 16th minute to fashion their first chance, and they were left cursing the reactions of home 'keeper Chris Lewington, the youngster reacting brilliantly to beat Etienne Esajas' 10-yard defected effort clear of danger.

Just as the visitors looked to be finding their feet in the clash, they were disrupted as debutant Alberto Comazzi was forced off with what looked like a groin injury, and with Town's only other recognised centre-back Joe Devera having missed out on a place on the bench, Paul Caddis was forced to slot into the centre of defence.

However the hosts failed to capitalise as Town took time to re-shuffle efficiently, and it was Paolo Di Canio's side who went closest to breaking the deadlock as the half drifted towards its conclusion.

Rafa De Vita

Firstly Rafa De Vita saw his 20-yard snap shot tipped wide by Lewington after another good break from Esajas, before Oliver Risser nodded wide from eight yards when he might have done better.

The period continued to ebb and flow with Daggers frontman Woodall again missing the target when he might have done better, but it was on the stroke of half time when it came alive as Town saw boisterous appeals for a penalty turned down.

De Vita had latched on to a pass from Oliver Risser before tangling legs with Scott Doe and going to ground. However, referee Berry shook his head, much to the consternation of the visiting players and Di Canio especially as the half came to an end.

The hosts began the second period well, and were inches away from being ahead just five minutes into it as Jon Nurse crossed low to the busy Woodall, who poked his shot inches wide under pressure from Nathan Thompson.

Di Canio introduced Alan Connell in place of Billy Bodin after 55 minutes, and the former Grimsby Town man gave the visitors a much-needed injection of energy and purpose, creating chances for McCormack and Flint - both of whom sliced 18-yard volleys wide after knock-downs from the frontman.

Phil Smith applauds the Town support at Dagenham

Town were seemingly wrestling control of the match around the hour mark, with Ritchie and Esajas increasingly busy on both flanks and looking far more likely to create an opportunity than they had in the first period.

However, just as they looked set to take the initiative, it was ripped away from them, as Luke Howell went down under a challenge from Paul Caddis in the Town box, and referee Berry pointed to the spot.

Daggers skipper Mark Arber made no mistake from the spot, slamming the kick home to put the hosts one up after 70 minutes, and leave Di Canio's side with a tough task to muscle their way back into the game.

The hosts were inevitably boosted by their advantage, and might have doubled their lead after 78 minutes as Doe raced to the near post to meet Gavin Tomlin's corner, but his header flashed just wide of the target.

With seven minutes remaining Town re-discovered some of the impetus they had shown early in the period and were inches away from equalising as first Matt Ritchie then Alan Connell nearly bundled Esajas' deep cross over the line, but it was somehow scrambled clear by the hosts.

Town continued to press as the hosts' defending became increasingly desperate, but Alan McCormack's blocked free-kick aside, that elusive clear-cut chance was not forthcoming, and they went down to their second 1-0 defeat in as many matches.

    Data provided by Press Association