Blues knocked out by Daggers in Third Round tie at Chigwell Construction Stadium...Dagenham & Redbridge 3-0 Southend United BBC Essex Senior Cup Third Round; Chigwell Construction Stadium; Tuesday 11th October 2016; Kick-Off: 7:45pm
By Robert Craven
Southend United were left to rue an excellent goalkeeping performance from Dagenham & Redbridge's Mark Cousins as they exited the BBC Essex Senior Cup at the Third Round stage.
Whilst Cousins brilliantly denied Blues forwards Norman Wabo and Jason Williams in particular, a brace by Joe White and a close-range finish by Christian Assombalonga ensured the hosts recorded a 3-0 victory at the Chigwell Construction Stadium on Tuesday evening and extended Southend's winless run in the competition to four seasons.
Three of the visiting line-up had first-team experience in the shape of Harry Kyprianou, Daniel Matsuzaka and Williams, whilst youth-teamers Elvis Bwomono and Damani Dias augmented Kevin Maher's team and it was Kyprianou who had the first shot of the match, in the fifth minute, curling a 25-yard free-kick into the gloves of Cousins.
Nico Cotton also dragged an effort across the face of goal following a Kyprianou throw in the early stages, but Daggers were not without their own threat and Jordy Mongoy slashed over in the seventh minute before wastefully clearing the crossbar on the quarter-hour mark, just moments after Bwomono had ended his mesmerising run.
Daggers skipper Luke Howell then pulled a close-range finish wide in the 18th minute before Cousins produced the first of his fine stops. Wabo and Williams powerfully moved through midfield in the 21st minute, with the latter eventually sliding the ball through to Wabo for a fierce strike that the gloveman palmed to safety.
White side-footed wide at the other end before Bexon matched the heroics of his opposite number with an excellent fingertip save to stop Assimbalonga's six-yard header from flying into the roof of the net on the half-hour mark.
Unfortunately Blues fell behind in the 36th minute. Midfielder Tyrique Hyde stretched the Southend back-line with a wonderful switch pass to Assombalonga on the right, and his dinked cross was converted by White's looping back-post header for the game's opening goal.
It could have got worse for Blues before the break, but Bexon clutched hold of an Assombalonga half-volley and - in the opposite penalty area - there were signs that Southend were preparing for a fightback as Williams nodded over from a Cotton corner and Daggers defender Jimmy Shepherd was called upon to make an exceptionally-timed tackle to deny Wabo a sight of goal.
Southend's best period of the match came in the fifteen minutes after half-time. Dias drilled a 20-yard shot wide moments after the interval before Cousins took centre-stage, leaping up to turn away a Williams header after Matsuzaka had nodded a Cotton corner across goal.
From the ensuing Cotton flag-kick, Sonny Coutts glanced wide ahead of the game's defining moment. Just before the hour mark another Cotton delivery bounced into the path of Wabo, whose crisp volley appeared destined for the bottom right-hand corner until Cousins first parried the ball and then pushed it around the post.
Dan Walker and Tom Clifford were introduced with 20 minutes remaining, and Joe Bedford and Cotton both fired narrowly wide from outside the penalty as Southend attempted to find their range. However, Kyprianou had to block from Assombalonga in the 77th minute and Hyde snatched at a decent chance as Dagenham sensed a second goal.
That goal eventually arrived on 80 minutes, and it was Assombalonga - brother of former Blues loanee Britt - who provided the finish. He showed real determination to bundle the ball home from close-range after the impressive Hyde had centred from the right.
Even then Blues might have found a route back into the game, but Kyprianou nodded into the turf and off-target from a Bwomono cross and substitute Dru Yearwood - fresh from two goals in his last two U18s matches - blasted over from the edge of the 'D'.
Instead, Dagenham booked their place in the Fourth Round in the final seconds of the match as White helped himself to his second goal of the game. Hyde's rasping shot crashed back off the left-hand post, but White was on hand to sweep home the rebound and complete a 3-0 win for the hosts.
Southend United: Josh Bexon, Abdul Salami (Tom Clifford, 71), Sonny Coutts, Daniel Matsuzaka, Elvis Bwomono, Joe Bedford (Dru Yearwood, 85), Damani Dias, Harry Kyprianou, Norman Wabo (Dan Walker, 71), Jason Williams, Nico Cotton. Substitutes not used: Nathan Bishop, Ben Musselwhite.