Dagenham and Redbridge produced a fine performance in their first home pre season encounter of the season against a disappointing Southend United team with a 2-0 victory courtesy of a Paul Benson brace.
A Daggers team that was devoid of last season’s stars what with Sam Saunders, Magnus Okuanghae, Ben Strevens and Danny Foster moving up to League 1 saw off their more illustrious opponents with relative ease.
A low key start gave all Daggers supporters the chance to get equipped with several unfamiliar faces. Scott Doe and Will Antwi made up a new centre back pairing whilst former Arsenal youth product Abu Ogogo was the energetic right back. Graeme Montgomery and Danny Green roamed the wings whilst Josh Scott partnered the prolific Paul Benson in attack.
With expectations at a relative low following the summer clear out, it was the Daggers who perhaps surprisingly were knocking the ball around comfortably and confidently. A succession of corners saw the best opening opportunities as Will Antwi looked particularly threatening in the air and Scott Griffiths headed narrowly over under pressure. However, a knock down to Graeme Montgomery saw the tall winger’s rasping shot cleared off the goalline from a Southend defender. Nevertheless, the first half saw few other chances despite some good build up play from the home side.
The second half began with the Daggers in the ascendency and a goal a minute after the restart. A cross from the left saw Paul Benson showing his predator instincts to slot home from close range. The striker, who has been linked with Shrewsbury, notched his 2nd of the afternoon in the 66th minute as a Danny Green free kick found Benson in the right place to give John Still’s men a deserved 2-0 lead. In fact, Benson could have had a hat-trick moments later as a frantic goalmouth scramble saw the ball somehow roll wide.
Further chances came for Dagenham but they were thwarted by the Southend goalkeeper who seemed a lot more intent on keeping the score down than his defence did. All in all, a good workout for the Daggers who will face much tougher opposition when Premier League new boys Birmingham City visit on Wednesday evening.