Southend United’s unbeaten league run came to an abrupt end as Dagenham & Redbridge beat Kevin Maher’s side 3-0 at Roots Hall.
Two own goals in the first half put Blues on the back foot with Will Atkinson putting into his own net in just the fifth minute before Steve Arnold was unfortunate to see Junior Morias’ shot cannon in off his back after the winger had struck the post.
Southend were much-improved second-half but were unable to get themselves back into the clash and fell further behind when Morias teed up Matt Robinson to fire in the third and spell the end of Blues’ unbeaten 2022 in the National League.
A week removed from Blues’ 1-0 win against Grimsby, which had extended the unbeaten league run to 13 games, Southend boss Kevin Maher made just the one enforced change for the visit of Dagenham as Leon Davies replaced Kacper Lopata after he returned to Sheffield United.
The Daggers came into tonight looking to wrap up a hat-trick of victories against their near-neighbours having beaten Southend in the reverse league fixture and the Buildbase FA Trophy, which Dagenham were dumped out of on Saturday by National League North side York City.
But Dagenham’s disappointment at missing out on a spot in the final four of the Trophy began to dissipate inside the opening five minutes at Roots Hall as they were gifted an early lead when Will Atkinson put the ball in his own net, converting a cross from Mo Sagaf.
It was a nightmare start for Blues against their local rivals and it could have quickly gotten worse had Shaun Hobson not cleared Paul McCallum’s effort off the line, with Daggers again going close midway through the half when Myles Weston’s cross hit the inside the post and bounced out.
Junior Morias stung the palms of Steve Arnold moments later as Blues struggled to deal with waves of Dagenham pressure which eventually paid dividends with another own goal extending their advantage as Morias’ shot came off the foot of the post and deflected in off the back of Arnold.
It had been an uncharacteristic first half from Maher’s side, so it was no surprise when the Blues Head Coach made two changes at the interval with Jack Bridge and Tom Clifford coming on at the break and Southend looked far better as they tried to reduce the arrears.
Ollie Kensdale broke into the penalty area early after the restart and saw his effort well blocked by some last-ditch defending by Daggers before sub Bridge picked up the ball on the edge of the box and fizzed a low shot that was well held by goalkeeper Elliot Justham.
Clifford fired one over just past the hour mark as Southend flooded forward in search of a goal to get them back into the contest, but Dagenham would catch Blues out on the counter-attack instead and extend their lead to three with Matt Robinson slotting Morias’ cut back into the bottom corner.
Any hope Southend had of getting back into the game went with that third from Dagenham. Victory for the Daggers lifted them to within three points of the play-off places while Southend remain in 12th ahead of the visit of Altrincham to Roots Hall this weekend.
Blues XI: Arnold, Ralph, Hobson, Dalby, Powell (Dennis 69’), Atkinson (Bridge 46’), Neal, Demetriou (C) (Clifford 46’), Davies, Kensdale, Husin. Subs Not Used: Andeng Ndi, Dunne
Dagenham & Redbridge XI: Justham, Reynolds, Johnson, Rance, Wright (C), Sagaf, McCallum, Weston, Robinson (Ling 69’), Morias (Balanta 87’), Comley. Subs Not Used: Scott, Vilhete, Onariase
Referee: Ryan Atkin
Assistants: Alan Cresswell & Hugh Gilroy
Fourth Official: Fabio Roque
Southend United: None
Dagenham & Redbridge: Will Atkinson OG 5’, Steve Arnold OG 28’, Matt Robinson 67’
Southend United: Sam Dalby 38’, Will Atkinson 39’, Noor Husin 90+4'
Dagenham & Redbridge: None
Attendance: 7,542 (483 Away)