Kevin Maher’s first game in charge of Blues ended in defeat as a three-goal, six-minute blitz from Dagenham & Redbridge earned them a 3-0 win at the Chigwell Construction Stadium.
After a goalless first-half, Mo Sagaf opened the scoring in the 52nd minute after getting on the end of a low ball into the box by Dagenham’s captain, Angelo Balanta.
Four minutes later, Sam Ling powered a header home from close range before Ling completed the onslaught by nodding in another two minutes later to wrap up the points.
It was far from the start that club legend Kevin Maher would have wanted after taking over the managerial hot seat in midweek, but he’ll have learnt a lot about the task that faces him as Blues boss following today’s defeat to the Daggers.
Maher’s first task as manager was to make three changes from the side that beat Chertsey Town in the Emirates FA Cup last weekend with John White, Shaun Hobson and Abu Ogogo coming in for Nathan Ralph, Harry Phillips and Will Atkinson.
In the pair’s first league meeting since 2015, Blues began brightly but it was the home side that created the clearer of the early chances with Angelo Balanta seeing a near-post header deflect wide before Scott Wilson got on the end of a fizzing cross from Mo Sagaf to hit the side netting.
Kevin Maher’s charges, who were backed by just shy of 1,400 travelling Southend fans, went close when Jack Bridge’s cross picked out Sam Dalby who headed just wide. Minutes later and Dalby teed up Nathan Ferguson for a strike from outside the box that flew off target.
The two sides continued to trade blows with Balanta seeing an effort cleared by Bridge before Balanta’s strike-partner Wilson was slipped in and forced a smart save from Harry Seaden from a tight angle.
Southend had a couple of sighters from Abu Ogogo which weren’t troubling Elliot Justham in the Daggers goal, while late in the first-half Myles Weston got goal side only to fire over the crossbar from a good position.
Early in the second-half and Blues needed a goal-line clearance from James Dunne to keep Callum Reynolds out but Southend’s stay of execution was short-lived as Dagenham ripped through the Blues defences with three goals in six minutes to stun Maher’s side.
The opener came in the 52nd minute when Balanta’s low ball into the box picked out Sagaf who slotted it past Seaden to break the deadlock. Just four minutes later and that lead was doubled when Weston’s deep cross from the left was powered home by Sam Ling who rose highest to head home.
Ling quickly followed that up with his second of the game and Daggers’ third, this time getting on the end of a right-wing cross to send his looping header beyond Seaden and into the back of the net just two minutes after notching his first.
Southend were shellshocked as Dagenham continued to push forward for more goals, going close to adding a fourth when Balanta’s curling effort was tipped onto the bar by Seaden, as the Daggers ran out comfortable winners.
Dagenham & Redbridge XI: Justham, Reynolds, Johnson, Wright, Sagaf (Rance 74’), Balanta (C) (Vilhete 85’), Weston, Robinson (Scott 90+2’), Wilson, Ling, Jones. Subs Not Used: Clark, Saunders
Blues XI: Seaden, Howard, Ogogo, Hobson, Bridge (Sayers 68’), Dunne, Murphy, Dalby, Egbri, Ferguson (Phillips 63’), White (C). Walsh, Rush, Atkinson
Referee: Gary Parsons
Assistants: David Hutton & Andrew Gray
Fourth Official: Aaron Farmer
Dagenham & Redbridge: Mo Sagaf 52’, Sam Ling 56’, 58’
Southend United: None
Dagenham & Redbridge: Myles Weston 76’
Southend United: Rhys Murphy 51’, Rob Howard 79’
Attendance: 3,673 (1,344 Away)