Aldershot Town 0-2 Dagenham & Redbridge: Shots efficiently gunned down by in-form Daggers
Image: Dagenham & Redbridge

Dagenham & Redbridge keep plugging away at the play-off occupants above as their blistering recent form continued with a comfortable win away at Aldershot Town on Easter Monday, in which three crucial points were also supplemented by an extremely impressive seventh clean sheet from ten outings.

Whereas their preceding game delivered an action-packed extravaganza that will live long in the memory, this was more a low-key one defined by organised professionalism. Quality in the first half proved the difference, with red-hot Junior Morias adding another to his tally before Mauro Vilhete struck the decisive second shortly afterwards.

Having established this comfortable cushion, the Daggers then seemed content to sit back in the knowledge that strugglers Aldershot would have neither the creative spark nor cutting-edge potency to pose even the slightest danger to them, and so it proved in sunny Hampshire.

  • Story of the game

Both sides were unchanged having each won their last two fixtures, but it was Dagenham who picked up where they left off by making a strong start.

Within mere seconds of kick off, they worked a promising opening on the right-hand side, with Paul McCallum's sharp knockdown from a Will Wright delivery just yards away from falling perfectly for Matt Robinson.

This set the tone for a strong half whereby they utilised the width to great effect. Mauro Vilhete was the key antagonist but it was the winger on the opposite flank, Myles Weston, who fashioned the first real opportunity by standing up a precise cross for McCallum to power into the side netting.

Aldershot's first foray forward then saw Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain flash a low ball tantalisingly across the face of goal, beyond the area where a centre forward ought to have been lurking ominously.

Dagenham, though, really took control around the twenty minute mark as fluid interplay saw them exert increasing control within opposition territory. However, besides Morias hammering at the keeper's midriff, they struggled to convert this into significant opportunities.

Until, that was, Vilhete burst through a vacant pocket of space and threaded an intricate reverse ball to put the onrushing Morias in on goal. What followed was two touches of pure perfection from a man who can do no wrong at the moment.

The first was a heavy one that seemingly narrowed the angle too much, but he managed to nip in ahead of Ethan Ross and clip beautifully into the far corner to net his fifth goal this month alone, which deservedly put the Daggers ahead.

Morias' opener on Good Friday had catalysed a goal frenzy and Dagenham sought similar here as they almost immediately built upon their lead. Good play between the aforementioned Jamaican and Matt Robinson culminated in a dangerous ball across goal that somehow evaded several blue shirts.

It wasn't long before the inevitable second did arrive under fortuitous circumstances. Two Shots players, including the keeper, went to ground attempting to prevent Morias from converting Weston's driven cross. Their efforts proved in vain, though, when the ball stopped almost dead for Vilhete to calmly sweep home.

Mauro Vilhete receives the adulation after doubling Dagenham's lead. (Image: Dagenham & Redbridge FC)

They should have had another during first half stoppage time when Robinson wastefully clipped the post from the familiar scenario of a ball from the right, but the Daggers had to settle for two going into the interval.

Seemingly happy to settle for such, the visitors were relatively flat afterwards as the emphasis transferred onto their hosts to seize the ascendancy, but it became abundantly clear why they'd endured such a tough season especially in a goalscoring capacity.

Their biggest chance to halve the deficit came when a free-flowing move saw Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong release Tommy Willard, but the young winger fired into the East Bank rather than legitimately testing Justham.

Alfie Saunders also blasted well over the target, as did Jayden Harris but Aldershot's best spell of the game ultimately went without them really offering much to show for it.

Dagenham made all three substitutions around the 70-minute mark, with Sam Ling, Dean Rance and Josh Walker all coming on. The latter nearly added gloss to the scoreline but was denied one-on-one in what proved to be the last key moment in a dull second period.

The final shortly afterwards confirmed a third straight victory as they continue to hunt the play-off places, though their delight was once again slightly diluted by the fact that Grimsby also won.

  • Where this leaves the sides

Aldershot are effectively safe already but can mathematically confirm it if a victory at Solihull Moors on Saturday is coupled with King's Lynn losing, incidentally away at Dagenham. Failing that, they then visit Bromley before hosting Notts County.

The Daggers themselves are now just two points away from the top seven, although Notts County have the benefit of a game in hand against already-relegated Dover Athletic no less. McMahon's side can only worry about themselves, however, and just hope everything else falls into place.

  • Star Man

Mauro Vilhete (Dagenham & Redbridge) | By far his best performance in several months, featuring a beautifully-weighted assist for the first before he doubled the lead with an instinctive finish after a partially-cleared cross dropped kindly for him. Seemed to be involved in absolutely everything his team did.

  • Starting lineups

ALDERSHOT TOWN: Ethan Ross, Lewis Kinsella (Mo Bettamer 78'), Kodi Lyons-Foster, Giles Phillips, Alfie Saunders (Jordan Ngalo 62'), Jayden Harris, Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mo Sylla, Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong, Mikael Ndjoli, Tommy Willard

DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE: Elliot Justham, Mauro Vilhete, Callum Reynolds, Manny Onariase, Will Wright, Myles Weston (Sam Ling 72'), Mo Sagaf (Dean Rance 69'), Brandon Comley, Matt Robinson, Junior Morias (Josh Walker 69'), Paul McCallum

Referee: Rob Whitton | Attendance: 1528 (192 Away)

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