Southend United secured their place in the next round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy with a comfortable 2-0 victory against Dagenham & Redbridge at Roots Hall this evening.
A first half Ryan Cresswell header and a simple tap in from Britt Assombalonga in the second period continued the Blues’ progress in the competition.
With less than a minute gone Brian Woodall tested Paul Smith in the Southend goal after a smart turn from the striker gave him space to fire a low drive which the Blues keeper parried away.
The home side hit back in the 6th minute and should have taken the lead through Assombalonga but the striker was unable to connect to Michael Timlin’s low left wing cross.
It was Assombalonga again causing problems for Dagenham connecting to Gavin Tomlin’s through ball only to be denied by the palms Chris Lewington.
The young striker came even closer in the 16th minute with Femi Ilesanmi clearing his shot off the line after a superb Chris Barker through ball.
The Daggers were on the back foot and Southend made the breakthrough a minute later through prolific centre back Cresswell who headed in his 4th goal of the season.
Kevan Hurst’s superb whipped cross from the right found the defender who rose highest to head home excellently with help from the inside of the left hand post.
Dagenham nearly equalised on the stroke of half time after a terrific half volley from Matt Saunders 25 yards out found the top corner only to be denied by an excellent save from Smith who tipped the ball over the bar to safety.
The opening stages of the second half were cagey with neither team creating any clear cut chances as Blues continued to lead 1-0 thanks to Cresswell’s first half header.
Southend extended their lead in the 62nd minute in calamitous fashion after a sliced clearance from Luke Wilkinson caused problems for the Dagenham defence.
The ball somehow deceived Lewington in goal giving Assombalonga the simple task of tapping the ball into the empty net as the striker netted his 7th of the season for the Blues.
Dagenham looked for a way back into the game and two substitutes nearly found the net in a matter of minutes.
Dominic Green was denied by the legs of Smith from 12 yards out after finding space to squeeze a shot at goal before Sam Williams saw his top corner effort turned away by the experienced keeper as he kept the advantage at two goals.
Ilesanmi was becoming a specialist at clearing the ball off the line, this time denying David Martin in the 88th minute after a cute through ball from Tomlin found the winger who chipped the ball over the diving keeper before the left back intervened.
Blues comfortably secured their passage into the next round of the cup securing their first win in four matches.