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Southend United 3, Dagenham & Redbridge 1
SOUTHEND United made it three home wins in the space of seven days with a 3-1 triumph over 10 man Dagenham and Redbridge this afternoon.
Britt Assombalonga bagged a first half brace to send Blues on their way before Ryan Cresswell again also hit the back of the net.
But Paul Sturrock’s side played 83 minutes with an extra player after Daggers defender Luke Wilkinson was dismissed for a professional foul on Gavin Tomlin.
Before the red card though, the visitors had looked lively and,with five minutes on the clock, a dangerous inswinging free-kick from Dagenham’s Medy Elito was crucially cleared in front of goal by Cresswell.
The visitors then threatened again from the resulting Elito corner which picked out an unmarked Dwight Gayle in front of goal but the winger’s eight yard header was well saved by Blues goalkeeper Paul Smith.
But, having been on top in the opening exchanges, Daggers suffered a huge blow in just eighth minute of the match when Luke Wilkinson was sent off after bringing down Tomlin.
The Blues striker collected a loose back pass from Scott Doe to race clean through on goal, only to be tripped by Wilkinson and that left referee Lee Collins with no option but to brandish a red card.
After the defender’s dismissal, Southend took just 10 minutes to go in front as Sean Clohessy delivered a fine right wing cross which Assombalonga brilliantly headed in to the top right hand corner of the net from 14 yards.
The on loan Watford striker then doubled Blues’ lead in the 37th minute when he reacted sharply inside the six yard box to bundle the ball in to the back of the net after Kevan Hurst’s low 20 yard shot had been parried out by Dagenham goalkeeper Chris Lewington.
However, the visitors were back in the game on the stroke of half-time when a driven, low right wing cross from Gayle embarrassed Smith in the Southend goal and snuck in to the South Stand goal.
Dagenham pushed for an equaliser in the second half and it should have arrived in the 69th minute when skipper Abu Ogogo somehow stabbed the ball wide of the right post from six yards.
The miss soon increased in significance too as Blues made 3-1 just 60 seconds later, with Cresswell volleying a 14 yard shot in to the top left hand corner of the net for his third goal of the season.
Southend then almost extend their lead even further when Assombalonga’s long range shot was fumbed by visiting goalkeeper Chris Lewington who twice denied Tomlin from the resulting rebounds.
The hat-trick hunting Assombalonga then fired over a left wing cross from John Spicer before Tomlin fired a good chance wide of the left post in the closing action of the game.