Dagenham & Redbridge
Sutton United

Whiteley 22

Dundas 45, Davis 90+2

12 September 2017
Vanarama National League
David Rock (Hertfordshire)
26 Jamie Butler
17 Dan Spence
3 Aswad Thomas
27 Simon Downer 72 Taylor
5 Louis John
22 Simon Walton
15 Craig Eastmond
8 Kenny Davis
14 Craig Dundas
30 Kwame Thomas 69 Jeffrey
20 Tommy Wright 69 Cadogan
11 Kieron Cadogan
21 Moses Emmanuel
23 Josh Taylor
24 Anthony Jeffrey
25 Jordan Bentley

Sutton continued their remarkable away form as they inflicted Dagenham & Redbridge’s first home Vanarama National League defeat of the season to record a fourth consecutive away victory and return to the top of the table. It was another stunning win for U’s, who as at Chester and at home to Macclesfield left it late to secure a thrilling victory, but as in both those games, by the time Kenny Davis’s header found the net in the second minute of stoppage time there could be no denying that it was a deserved outcome. After an undistinguished first half hour which saw Dagenham edge in front, there had already been signs that U’s were growing in to the game before Craig Dundas cemented his status as a club legend with his 100th goal on the stroke of half time, and although Dagenham had a brief second half flurry after the introduction of newly-signed striker Chike Kandi it was Sutton who finished the game on top, Davis choosing a perfect moment for his first goal in U’s colours.

The early stages of the game had given little hint of the tumultuous finish as Dagenham had the better of things, although Sutton’s defence, in which Simon Downer made a first appearance of the season, frustrated their best attacks before they could threaten Jamie Butler, but midway through the half a misunderstanding in midfield allowed Matt Robinson to find Corey Whitely on the right side of the penalty area, and he fired a crisp shot on the turn that beat Butler at his near post.

At this stage Sutton were struggling to make any headway, finding it difficult to hold possession long enough to prevent the ball coming back at them, and bookings for Craig Eastmond, captain in the absence of Jamie Collins and Nicky Bailey, and Simon Walton hinted at U’s growing frustration, but towards the interval they did begin to spend more time in the home half, with Tommy Wright heading over from a long throw and Louis John just failing to connect with a well-delivered Walton free kick. A minute before the interval the improvement was rewarded as Aswad Thomas swung in a high cross from the left with his right foot, Kwame Thomas won a good header in the penalty area, and as the ball bounced around Dundas hooked it high in to the net and became the first player to reach the 100 goal mark for the club since Mark Watson in May 2003.

With the changing rooms in the stand that also houses visiting supporters there was ample chance for U’s fans to celebrate his achievement as the players left the field at the break, with U’s position in the game a lot healthier than it had been ten minutes earlier, and with Eastmond and Walton increasingly dominant in midfield Sutton started the second half well enough to force Dagenham in to an early double change, Kandi and Jake Howells being brought on. For all their promise U’s found it as difficult to make clear chances as the home side had earlier on, Walton’s speculative long range effort flying over the bar, and the best chance fell to Dagenham when Morgan Ferrier broke down the right but shot wide of the near post.

U’s made a double substitution of their own with just over twenty minutes left, Kieron Cadogan and Anthony Jeffrey coming on to support Dundas from the flanks, but they could have found themselves behind almost immediately as Kandi’s pace left Downer stranded on the left touchline and took him past Butler as he came in to the penalty area, but Eastmond did brilliantly to block Kandi’s goalbound shot in the six yard box, and Jake Howells was unable to control his effort from the rebound, sending the ball in to the ground and over the bar. It was little surprise that Downer came off soon afterwards, with Walton dropping in to the back line, but although Kandi continued to be a threat, and glanced a header from a corner just wide, U’s regained control and inside the last ten minutes it was Dagenham who couldn’t hang on to the ball and Sutton who kept coming forward. Jeffrey shot just wide of the near post from one chance as Mark Cousins came out, and a Cadogan cross led to a scramble in the six yard box which saw the ball bounce agonisingly wide of the post.

A point would still have been a highly satisfactory outcome for U’s, but their enterprise late in the game was to earn its reward. In the second of the three additional minutes indicated, Dan Spence put the seal on a fine personal performance by checking inside and chipping in a left foot cross that was met by the diving Davis with a header that gave Cousins no chance and in an instant propelled U’s from eighth in the table to the top.

Dagenham: M Cousins, B Nunn, S Ling, K Lokko, C Robson, M Robinson, C Whitely, A Boucaud, E Romain(sub C Kandi 63), M Ferrier(sub C Adams 85), F Okenabirhie(sub J Howells 63). Subs n/u B N’Gala, E Justham.