A penalty miss from Jordan Maguire-Drew and red card for Corey Whitely proved costly as Dagenham saw their 100% start to 2017 come to an unexpected end with a home loss to relegation-threatened Guiseley at Victoria Road.
The hosts’ started the game well but their chances of making it six wins in a row were all but ended when, firstly, Guiseley took the lead through Preston’s low strike before just a minute later, Whitely was sent off for an altercation with an opponent that left his side with 80 minutes to play a man light.
In the second half, the Lions’ pressure told and they doubled their advantage as Preston found the net again and, despite Hawkins’ sparking faint hopes of a comeback late on, his side hung on to earn a surprise victory.
One change was made by the Daggers from the lineup that came from behind to win at Haig Avenue against Southport on Saturday as new loan signing Grant came in for Raymond, while Guttridge and Howell missed out on the squad through injury.
Guiseley themselves named a strong starting XI containing many ex-league players including Derek Asamoah and Simon Walton.
The match got underway at a bright Victoria Road and began at a slow pace but, after a short stoppage for an injury to Ollie Hawkins, it was the visitors who had the first sight of goal when Asamoah beat his man but his teasing cross just flashed across the face of the goal.
The hosts’ were struggling to get a foothold in the game so, when Guiseley eventually took the lead after eleven minutes, it was deserved and expected. Jordan Preston received the ball on the left and easily glided past two defenders before cutting inside and curling an effort that stroked into the far corner to give his side the lead.
This was a wake-up call to Dagenham, who instantly began to look dangerous themselves as they searched for an instant response. However, their quest was dealt a huge blow when Corey Whitely was sent off for striking out at Connor Brown after not being awarded a penalty after 12 minutes. It was a completely unnecessary and violent reaction from Whitely, whose dismissal would ultimately cost his side.
To their credit, Dagenham tried to get something from the game and were still creating chances as Hawkins headed a free-kick over before horribly slicing over another sight of goal. Okenabirhie and Hawkins then had near misses while Sheppard went through wide but had his shot blocked. Guiseley themselves had a number of good chances too as Hatfield went through but was blocked by Justham.
Then, on the stroke of half-time, the East Londoners were gifted an opportunity to get back into the game as the referee pointed to the spot for a handball. However, much to the despair of everybody, Maguire-Drew’s penalty was saved to the keeper’s right and Daggers’ best chance to get back into the game was spurned.
The second half began as the first did with the Lions having most of the possession and creating numerous attacks; Rooney and Preston both going close before Preston bagged his second of the game soon after to put Guiseley 2-0 ahead.
He again cut inside his marker and smashed the ball into the top corner directly in front of the delighted away support. Instead of the home side now desperately trying to get back into the match, it was Guiseley who looked the most dangerous as the hosts seemed to be out of ideas. Derek Asamoah went close but was denied by Justham before the visitors made two substitutions.
The match ticked into its final minutes as Dagenham tried to force a late rally, with Okenabirhie and Maguire-Drew being replaced by Benson and Howells from the bench in the hope that some fresh legs would inspire a fightback. In the second of five added minutes, the Daggers did score, but it proved only a consolation.
It was perhaps the only moment of quality from Dagenham in the whole game as Hawkins latched onto Widdowson’s cross before scuffing the ball past Maxted, but even though they tried to snatch an equaliser, it was too little, too late for John Still’s side who wasted a massive chance to gain ground on league leaders’ Lincoln.
The Daggers will be looking to recover from this setback quickly when they host Bromley on Tuesday in a rearranged Vanarama National League fixture.