United recorded a double over Dagenham & Redbridge after overcoming the promotion contenders on a frosty night in Essex.
Kieffer Moore scored his fifth goal in a United shirt after good work from substitute Nathan Blissett.
Player-manager Kevin Nicholson made two changes to the side that went down 2-1 to Tranmere Rovers on Saturday. The club will receive the MRI scan results for Luke Young soon so Courtney Richards came back into the starting line-up. Defender Ben Gerring came back to partner Sean McGinty in defence with Giancarlo Gallifuoco moving to right-back.
Few would have given United a chance of coming away from the Victoria Ground with three points but United belied their position in the table throughout the match.
United started well, and looked more composed than on Saturday when they really didn’t give themselves a chance against Tranmere. This was different, and manager Kevin Nicholson will want to see more of this when United take on York City on Saturday.
That isn’t to say that Dagenham weren’t without chances of their own. Brendan Moore pulled of the first of his two great saves on the night in the 9th minute. Former Torquay United youth product Luke Guttridge pulled out the best in our man from Georgia, a one-handed save keeping the score all-square.
United peppered Dagenham with chances in the 12th and 14th minute but then Giancarlo Gallifuoco had to pull off a last-ditch interception to stop Dagenham top scorer Oliver Hawkins. United’s cause was aided by the formidable front man going off injured in the 34th minute.
Dan Sparkes was beginning to become a force in the game. He never let his marker rest, and delivered his trademark quality from wide areas throughout the match.
Captain Courtney Richards returned to the starting eleven after suspension.
Dagenham came back into the match and arguably had their best moments of the match as half-time approached.
United found themselves under sustained pressure in their own half and sound defending from the back four was needed. One time when they failed to clear properly allowed Maguire-Drew to shoot on goal. Moore had to be brave when claiming from Benson moments later.
Widemen Fitzpatrick and Sparkes were taking on Dagenham soon after the half-time break. Firstly Sparkes produced a great cross that Widdowson had to clear away from danger. Then Fitzpatrick tricked his man but not quite Dagenham ‘keeper Justham who got himself right behind his effort.
Brendan Moore pulled off an even better save in the 57th minute after Maguire-Drew got free to fire an effort at goal.
Jamie Reid was nearly rewarded for his hard work in the 60th minute when a cross by Sparkes, a back heel by Moore, set him up in front of goal. Unfortunately his shot went over the bar.
Nathan Blissett was introduced in the 65th minute and with assistance by Moore, terrorized Dagenham’s defence. He was unlucky not to open the scoring in the 69th minute when Moore’s header came off the bar at an awkward speed and height.
Ben Gerring returned to the starting line-up for the visit to Dagenham.
Blissett helped create the goal that earned all three points for the Gulls. Kieffer Moore was the man on the spot yet again in the 76th minute to finish an incisive move. It was just rewards for United’s cohesive display.
United threatened on the break and countered efficiently but couldn’t add to their goal. However, they also saw the game out pretty well and kept Dagenham from building any momentum to mount a comeback.
A mention for the 106 members of the Yellow Army that supported the Gulls on the night; we hope the cold weather and trip back home were made worthwhile!
United are on the road once again on Saturday 10th December in the 1st round of the FA Trophy against Braintree.