MATCH REPORT | Southport 1 – 4 Dagenham & Redbridge
It was in the reverse fixture at Dagenham & Redbridge back in August that Southport’s Vanarama National League campaign began.
Six months on and three managers later, this match was the start of the Sandgrounders’ attempt to save their season, but sadly it turned out to be an all too familiar tale.
Southport’s first outing under Andy Preece ended in defeat at the hands of promotion-chasing Dagenham, their fifth loss in a row which sees them slip back into the relegation zone.
When the Sandgrounders took a 24th-minute lead through a penalty from Jamie Allen, Preece’s team were the ones forcing the issue having shown their ability to move the ball well and apply good pressure.
But the concession of an equaliser was the cue for Southport to crumble, leaking three goals in the lead-up to half-time, and in the end victory for the visitors came at a canter.
A tumultuous afternoon for Southport was perhaps summed up by defender Robbie Cundy, who won the penalty from which the home team took the lead, before scoring an own goal and conceding a spot-kick which saw him sent off.
Dagenham went in at half-time with a comfortable lead having spent the best part of the first period on the back foot.
Southport’s early performance belied their recent poor form, deservedly going in front with Allen’s penalty after a foul by Joe Widdowson on Cundy.
But the home team’s good work was undermined by two moments of utter carelessness.
Having handled the ball outside his area, goalkeeper Mason Springthorpe saw Jordan Maguire-Drew score from the resultant free-kick on 35 minutes, before Dagenham took the lead when Robbie Cundy diverted a Fejire Okenabirhe cross into his own goal.
Such defensive lapses have blighted Southport’s season and a slip from Ryan Higgins allowed an Oliver Hawkins pass to reach Okenabirhe, who added Dagenham’s third with a blistering finish.
The Sandgrounders had conceded three goals in the space of seven minutes and a competitive match turned into a cakewalk for the visitors.
Southport tried to find a way back, Andrai Jones seeing an effort saved by goalkeeper Elliot Justham before later shooting over the bar, but Dagenham dealt comfortably with everything they were asked.
And the visitors extended their margin of victory through a Corey Whitely penalty after Cundy’s handball saw the defender shown a straight red card.
Southport (4-4-2): Springthorpe, R Higgins, Murray, Cundy, Ashton, McKenna (White 81), Nolan, Weeks, McKeown, Allen, Jones.
Subs not used: Priestley, Grimes, Cofie.
Dagenham & Redbridge (4-2-3-1): Justham, Shepherd, Donnellan, Robson, Widdowson, Boucaud, Raymond, Maguire-Drew (Howells 83), Whitely (Benson 85), Okenabirhe, Hawkins.
Subs not used: Cousins, Doe, Ling.
Referee: Andrew Miller
Report by Alan Jones