Steve Harris – @steveharris84
Match details: Dagenham & Redbridge V Torquay United – National League
Venue: Victoria Road
Date: Saturday 4th January 2020
Recent form National League (last 6):
Torquay United: L – L – L – L – W – L
Dagenham & Redridge: L – L – L – D – L – D
Last time the two teams met: National League, Torquay United 0 Dagenham & Redbridge 0 – 21st September 19
In a game that saw arguably the two most experienced managers in the National League in Torquay United’s Gary Johnson and Dagenham & Redbridge’s Peter Taylor go head to head – their respective sides played out a goalless draw.
The Gulls started the brighter as Joe Lewis and Liam Davis both went close in the opening minutes. In the 26th minute, a short corner routine from United saw Frank Vincent pick out Matt Buse, but the former Taunton Town midfielder missed the target.
Three minutes later, Angelo Balanta squandered a golden opportunity for the Daggers as he failed to fully connect with a right wing cross from deep from Will Wright and fired wide. As the first half drew to a close, Joan Luque and Dobson both forced routine saves from United keeper Covolan before Balanta saw an effort disallowed following a foul by James Phipps.
In the second half, Dobson forced a stunning one-handed save from Covolan on 54 minutes and three minutes later, Phipps headed a Dobson corner against the bar as the visitors continued to threaten. United then had a penalty appeal for a challenge on Ruairi Keating by Luke Croll waved away in the 61st minute.
As the half wore on, Covolan was called upon to deny Balanta and Dobson to keep the Daggers at bay. However, there was still time for the Gulls to fashion two late chances as Davis tested Daggers keeper Elliot Justham with a shot from distance and sub Andrews then crashed a free-kick against the top of the bar as the spoils were shared.
Manager: Daryl McMahon
Former Republic of Ireland youth international Daryl McMahon made a solitary substitute appearance for the Gulls – whilst on loan from West Ham United – against a Yeovil Town side managed by Gary Johnson in the 2003-04 campaign.
A brief spell at Port Vale then followed before he was signed for Leyton Orient by former Gulls’ boss Martin Ling in 2005. In his first season at Brisbane Road, the 2005-06 campaign, he was part of the Orient side that won automatic promotion from League Two.
McMahon later had spells in non-league football with Stevenage, Cambridge United, Farnborough, Boreham Wood (twice) and Ebbsfleet amongst others before entering management with Ebbsfleet in 2015, following a spell as caretaker manager.
In the 2016-17 season, he led Ebbsfleet to promotion from National League South via the play-offs and then guided them to the National League play-offs in the 2017-18 campaign.
After leaving Ebbsfleet by mutual consent in November 2018, he was appointed as manager of Macclesfield Town in August 2019 – in succession to Sol Campbell.
He recently resigned as manager of the Silkmen before his recent appointment as manager of the Daggers.
One to watch: Angelo Balanta
Born in Colombia, Angelo Balanta moved to England at the age of five and joined the youth system of Queens Park Rangers before progressing to their first team – signing his first professional contract with the Rs in 2008, where he made 25 appearances and scored three goals. He later enjoyed loan spells with Wycombe Wanderers, Milton Keynes Dons (three times) and Yeovil Town – where he played under Gary Johnson in the 2012-13 season – before signing for Bristol Rovers in 2014.
During his time at the Memorial Stadium, Balanta helped the Pirates to win promotion back to the Football League at the first attempt and scored in their penalty shoot-out win in the National League play-off final against Grimsby Town. Following their play-off final victory, he opted to join Carlisle United, where he remained for one season before returning to the non-league scene to sign for Boreham Wood. He stayed with the Wood for two years and helped them to reach the National League play-off final in 2018, where they were beaten by Tranmere Rovers.
Classic encounter: National League, Dagenham & Redbridge 0 Torquay United 1 – 29th November 2016
Kieffer Moore’s fifth goal of his four-match loan spell from Forest Green Rovers proved to be the difference for United against Dagenham, who slipped out of the National League play-off places as a result.
The hosts’ Luke Guttridge almost opened the scoring against his former club, who he made a solitary appearance for in the 1999-00 season, but saw his shot superbly stopped one-handed by United’s American keeper Brendan Moore.
In the second half, the hosts remained dominant, and Brendan Moore pulled off another lunging save to deny Jordan Maguire-Drew.
The Gulls came alive in the latter stages. Kieffer Moore had a header turned on to the bar by Elliot Justham, but in the 76th minute he found space in the box and made no mistake to slot home an important winner.
Manny Onarisse – Kenny Clark – Luke Croll
Ben House – Matt Robinson – Will Wright – Alex McQueen – Toby Stevenson
Joao Luque – Chike Kandi
Joe Lewis – Robbie Cundy – Kyle Cameron
Ben Whitfield – Connor Lemonheigh-Evans – Lloyd James – Asa Hall – Jake Andrews
Ruairi Keating – Jamie Reid