Cheltenham Town dominated a poor Dagenham side this afternoon claiming a massive 5-0 win at Victoria Road.
Three goals from Summerfield, Elliott and Mohamed handed Cheltenham a first half 3-0 lead and Dagenham were down to ten men after goalkeeper Chris Lewington was sent off for handling outside his own area. It only got worse for Dagenham in the second half with Jimmy Spencer's strike and an own goal from Micky Spillane ensured a 5-0 win for Mark Yates' side.
A minor blip had been put completely behind Cheltenham Town in what had been a five star performance.
Mark Yates opted to make three changes to his starting eleven this afternoon with Steve Elliott, Josh Low and Jeff Goulding all making their return to the first team. That meant Keith Lowe, Jimmy Spencer and Darryl Duffy dropping to the bench following the midweek defeat to Torquay United. Cheltenham of course defeated Dagenham 2-1 earlier in the season and a similar result was necessary today if the Robins wanted to keep the pressure on the sides around them in the promotion race.
A chilly afternoon in Essex was important for both teams today with Cheltenham looking to keep up the promotion pace and Dagenham desperate to ease the relegation pressure. Cheltenham started in a confident tone but it wasn't long before former Robins winger Medy Elito broke through with a neat run and saw an effort glanced wide for a corner. That Dagenham pressure continued with a freekick five minutes later but an eventual effort from Woodall was hooked high into the stand.
Cheltenham weren't about to sit back and allow theirs hosts to run the show however and a counter break saw Josh Low find Russ Penn via a deflected cross but the midfielder was tackled well before he could get an effort in on target and the corner was given. That pressure almost saw Jeff Goulding take the lead after catching hold of a long ball from Scott Brown but Chris Lewington's outstretched arm was able to hold onto the ball and deny the Robins.
Cheltenham soon made their dominance count when a corner found Luke Summerfield on the edge of the area and the midfielder fired a rocket past Lewington into the roof of the net for 1-0. Cheltenham had broken the deadlock and it could have been two seconds later when Scott Brown's long goal kick almost caught Lewington off guard and his opposite number was forced to tip it over the bar. It soon was 2-0 though in what was an electric few minutes for the Robins. Another corner, resulting from Brown's effort, found the returning Steve Elliott inside the area and the club captain slipped a neat shot into the bottom corner to double Cheltenham's lead. Great stuff from the Robins and superb noise from the travelling support.
Dagenham were left scratching their heads and not surprisingly but they almost pulled a goal back when Woodall got a firm header in on goal from nine yards only to see Brown claim it with ease. Despite positive play by the Daggers it actually only got worse for the home side when Chris Lewington was sent off for handling outside his own area following his defender's pass back. Medy Elito was subbed off for goalkeeper Dave Hogan in an effort to patch up the weakened Dagenham side.
You would think it couldn't get worse for John Still's men but it soon was when Cheltenham scored their third from the freekick. Garbutt's set piece was blocked off but Mohamed was on hand to poke the rebound in from close range and further firm up the winning margin. Jeff Goulding was replaced by Jimmy Spencer soon after the third goal but Dagenham continued to push forward and this time seeing Spillane's headed effort saved by Brown. Things were getting a little heated from Dagenham and a sloppy foul by Garbutt saw him booked but the half time whistle was blown not long after giving Mark Yates a chance to calm things down and plot the next 45 minutes.
Half Time: Daggers 0-3 Robins
The second period began with a much more relaxing feel about things. Dagenham were eager to get on the attack but Cheltenham had started methodically and were seemingly comfortably keeping possession. The hosts were struggling to find any real success up front with plenty of aimless balls being floated forward but their effort couldn't be faulted.
Effort quite often doesn't win games and it was a lack of concentration that handed Cheltenham a fourth when a Dagenham defender completely made a hash out of his clearing header inside his own area allowing Jimmy Spencer to pick up possession and smash an emphatic effort past Hogan for four.
The rain began to lash down upon Victoria Road and on the sorry heads of the Dagenham support who saw an own goal put them down 5-0. Kaid Mohamed's searching left wing run finished wit ha low cross but Spillane's attempted interception steered the ball into his own net and heaped more misery on his side. Brian Smikle was introduced straight after and replaced Marlon Pack.
A foul on Mohamed 20 yards from goal gave Cheltenham Town another chance on goal but not before Jon Nurse was shown a yellow card for persistent arguing with the referee. Luke Summerfield finally managed to get an effort in on goal but it was just over the bar. Mark Yates opted to withdraw Steve Elliott after 77 minutes and replaced the recently injury recovered club captain with Keith Lowe.
Frustration began to set in for Dagenham as own goal hero Micky Spillane was shown a yellow card for thumping the ball away in frustration of not being given a foul. Silly booking for the defender considering no one in the stadium believed it was a foul in the first place. Another yellow was shown to Abu Ogogo following a disgusting challenge on Alan Bennett which fully deserved a straight red card. Ogogo was later taken off for Richard Rose and no real surprise after his moment of stupidity.
A late effort from Jimmy Spencer was well saved but it was a big win for Cheltenham in the end and further pushed Dagenham into relegation misery.
Full Time: Daggers 0-5 Robins
Dagenham & Redbridge FC (4-4-2): Lewington (GK); Spillane, Doe, Arber (C), Ilesanmi; Elito (Hogan 41), Ogogo (Rose 87), Saunders, Nurse; Woodall (Cunnington 67), Scott
Subs not used: Green, Bingham
Cheltenham Town FC (4-5-1): Brown (GK); Jombati, Bennett (C), Elliott (Lowe 77), Garbutt; Low, Summerfield, Penn, Pack (Smikle 72), Mohamed; Goulding (Spencer 45)
Subs not used: McGlashan, Duffy
Referee: Mr. D. Mohareb
Attendance:1,516 (158 from Cheltenham)
Robins Star Man:Steve Elliott - Absolutely bossed the game on his comeback from injury and scored a goal too. Luke Summerfield another major contender.
James Brown from Victoria Road