The Warm Down: Salford City inch past Dagenham & Redbridge
(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Salford City edged past National League opponents Dagenham & Redbridge via a tight 1-0 win in which they scored early and resisted the pressure put onto them throughout by the home side.

It was a fast start for both sides, with end to end action obviously in abundance within the first 90 seconds of the final First Round FA Cup tie of the weekend set of fixtures.

The away side took the lead very early on, after less than three minutes in fact, when Jordan Turnbull headed home a corner with ease after some poor defending from the hosts.

So quick was the goal, that it turned out to be the earliest scored in the competition this season - but it also ended up being the final one of the game come the full time whistle almost two hours later.

Chances came, mostly for Daryl McMahon's side in the opening 45 minutes, as they knocked on the door increasingly aggressively as the half wore on, only to be continually denied.

Denied, that was, by Connor Ripley in the Salford City net (more on him later), as well as some stalwart defending at the back by multiple members of the Manchester-based club's back line.

After the half time interval, things fell into a similar pattern again, with Gary Bowyer's side rarely threatening the opposition goalkeeper and instead focusing on preventing the ball from going in the back of their own net.

To their credit, that's exactly what they did, holding out until the end to secure a place in the second round of the oldest, and best, cup competition in world football.

The only negative to the evening for them will have been the sight of a Daggers' fan having to abs stretchered out of the stadium at the 90th minute after suffering a medical emergency, but thankfully it appears the swift action of doctors prevented anything too serious.

Daggers must be more clinical

For all of the praise Salford City will rightfully get for their defensive acumen and experience being applied in certain set piece situations, questions must be asked over how clinical the Daggers were.

Daryl McMahon will look back at this game as one where countless opportunities were wasted by his side and, while it may just be an FA Cup game, it will still frustrate the boss who would've hoped a win could be used as a confidence boost in the league too.

As it was, despite having nine shots on target - an average of one every 10 minutes - compared to their opponents single one, it was that latter effort that decided the game, as these things so often do in football.

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There were plenty of chances in the first half where, as Weston used his skills to bypass Shephard time and time again, linking up well with Robinson, those in the box simply couldn't convert from the excellent balls which were put into the area by various wingers.

Perhaps the predominant factor that was seen in terms of chance creation for the home side however, was that of the sheer number of set pieces, (both corners and free kicks), that were wasted on multiple occasions, much to the Dagenham & Redbridge supporters at Victoria Road.

Will Wright must have delivered well over 20 different crosses into the box, the vast majority of which were from set piece situations, which on most occasions were genuinely dangerous balls into the area that ought to have been finished of by a Daggers forward.

Alas, each time an inviting ball was floated towards an oncoming head, foot, or indeed any other part of the body for that matter, there was either a Salford defender in the way, or a lack of control from the hosts that ruined the chance.

It's not the end of the world going out at this stage - after all, they would only have got so far in the competition - but it's the principle of the lack of clinicality that will worry McMahon the most when his side return to National League action next week.

Connor Ripley is a top-class 'keeper

Speaking of returning to league action soon, one player who will certainly be looking forward to getting back out on the pitch and showing what he can do is Salford City's goalkeeper Connor Ripley.

The 28-year-old had a near-on perfect game, consistently shutting down opposition threats on goal with a mixture of diving saves, crosses claimed and of course a scramble at his near post just for good measure.

He had work to do all throughout the match, bewildering many home fans in that time as to just how their team hadn't been able to break through and get an equaliser they probably did deserve.

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There was one moment near the end of the first half in which a smart turn of pace from Weston, followed by a shot, was saved by the keeper, before moments later his outstretched gloves also prevented Robinson from getting a goal.

Even at half time his gloves must have been stinging purely from the quantity of saves he was having to make in order to bail his team out - something he made clear he wasn't happy with multiple times to his defence.

In the end, he needn't have worried however, because one chance with around five minutes to go appeared to completely dishearten Dagenham & Redbridge players and fans alike, as yet another corner was swung into the penalty area.

It seemed as though Callum Reynolds was destined to score as he had a free header at the back post, but he watched in horror as Ripley somehow knocked the ball onto the post before it was cleared away to safety

Whether it was even deliberate is probably a fair question to ask of him, but when goalkeepers are having the sort of game that Connor Ripley had, you sometimes simply have to accept your fate - and that's exactly what the Daggers ended up doing.

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