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Report | Dagenham & Redbridge (h)

Vanarama National League | 25 February 2023


The longest unbeaten run in Notts County’s history came skidding to a halt as managerless Dagenham & Redbridge produced a shock result to run out 2-1 victors. A late winner from former Magpie Inih Effiong silenced Meadow Lane, as a dominant display from County went unrewarded.

It must be said that the result was somewhat marred by awful officiating, as Notts saw at least 2 stonewall penalty shouts denied. That doesn’t take away from Dagenham's spirited effort though. They worked incredibly hard, put their bodies on the line in defence and took their chances in attack, which ultimately proved to be the difference.

The game started as it meant to go on, with Notts on top, peppering the Dagenham goal. After just a minute the Magpies had their first chance, wing back Aaron Nemane, who returned to the side, capitalising on a mistake, sending a fierce low strike just wide.

The chances kept coming, as in form striker Langstaff had his first sniff at goal. Bostock played a good looking cross into the box, which found Langstaff, and his improvisation almost opened the scoring, but instead his effort went just wide.

As they have been all season, Notts looked slightly vulnerable from set pieces, where Dagenham had their first meaningful chance. A good delivery into the box caused chaos, with defensive anchor Rance rising highest to meet it. He was frustrated though, as his effort went wide of the post. It was a good sign for Dagenham though, as they knew they would have chances that evening.

That good feeling wouldn’t last for long though, as Notts opened the scoring through Ruben Rodrigues. The ball was nicely worked by the Notts players, finding Ruben in a pocket of space in the edge of the area. He needed no invitation to try his luck, bending an excellent strike low and into the corner. Keeper Justham seemed to see it late and was unable to get a hand on it to deny the Portuguese man, as he opened the scoring for Notts.

The Magpies were now in control, considering they had a foothold, but this wasn’t to last long. As with many of the 32 goals Notts have conceded this season, Dagenham’s equaliser came from Notts’ own mistake. This time it was goalscorer Rodrigues who gave the ball away cheaply, allowing Dagenham to start a swift counter. Blessed with a pacey forward line, Dagenham were able to break at speed. The counter was started by Matt Robinson in midfield, who had an excellent game, and ended with Angelo Balanta. The Colombian forward tucked home his 2nd in as many games to level the scoring.

Comments have been made in the aftermath that Notts only seem to concede goals from their own mistakes or from counter attacks. This is true of course, but is also reasonable when you consider Notts average circa 70% possession each game. The style they play leaves them vulnerable at times, and we have to take risks by committing men forwards to deal with deep defences. It’s just unfortunate that on this occasion the risks didn’t pay off, and furthermore were punished.

With the scores level the onus was once again on Notts to find a goal. They almost responded immediately, a smart move started by Rodrigues working the ball out wide to Nemane. His low driven cross was met by Langstaff, who looked to have got that important goal, but a superb block denied him.

A similar story started to unfold, as just before the end of the half it was Rodrigues who once again wreaked havoc. This time he looked to shoot himself, looking for a brace, but his effort was superbly stopped by Justham. The rebound almost found O’Brien, but he was unable to make an adjustment. There was time for one more Justham save, as Langstaff got on the end of a Kyle Cameron pass, but the scores remained level at the interval.

No changes from either side at half time meant the opening of the second period looked much the same, and after 10 minutes perhaps the most controversial moment of the game transpired. A wonderful ball into the box looked to have found Langstaff at the back post. However, Sam Ling, who had his focus solely on Langstaff, hauled the striker to the ground in a tackle that would have been judged illegal even in a rugby game. The referee, Lewis Smith, had a perfect view of the incident, but decided no wrongdoing had occurred. This was the first in a string of decisions that Smith got wrong, and not for the first time as he had an equally poor display when Bromley visited Meadow Lane earlier in the season.

With frustration mounting, just before the hour mark Luke Williams opted to make his first changes. Sam Austin and Jodi Jones entered the action in place of Bostock and O’Brien. The pair made an instant impact, with first Jones seeing an effort fly just wide from some way out, before Austin found a route down the left before clipping a delightful ball into the danger area. Neither Langstaff or Nemane, who was attacking the back post, could get on the end of it though.

It was Jones again who went closest, once again getting another fine shot away. This time it was on target, and forced left sided defender Harry Phipps into action, producing a simply brilliant goal line clearance to somehow keep the ball from hitting the back of the net.

Changes from both sides saw Inih Effiong, who ended up being the match winner, replaced goalscorer Balanta, while Connor Lemonheigh-Evans came on to make his debut, replacing Nemane.

This change saw Jones shift over to the right, and it’s from this position he almost found the match winner. Cutting onto his favoured left he skipped past challenge after challenge before unleashing an excellent left footed strike, which looked destined to curl into the far corner. Justham was left stranded, but to his relief the shot didn’t bend back in enough, hitting the outside of the post before going out.

Notts kept the pressure on, but once again it would be an error in possession which led to a devastating counter attack. Palmer this time squandered possession on the edge of the Dagenham box, and it was once again Robinson who made a break towards the Notts half. The ball worked Its way to the left, where Effiong picked it up. Tearing towards goal, he knocked it past Rawlinson and had the Welshman well beaten for pace. He raced into the Notts area, before unleashing a fierce left footed strike, which flew past Slocombe into the roof of the jet. A goal against the run of play, and one that really took the wind out of Notts.

A litany of chances fell Notts’ way, as the Magpies searched for an equaliser but it wasn’t to be and matters worsened for the home side as centre back Aden Baldwin saw red for dissent after the final whistle had blown. All in all an afternoon to forget for the title challengers.


We spoke at some length in the Southend report about how xG data can sometimes provide unexpected results and how a match on paper can look so much different in the flesh with Notts scoring 4 without reply and the xG suggesting it was a very close affair when in reality it wasn't.

Well the same has happened again but on this occasion in a completely different manner. Notts had 28 shots on goal compared to 6 for daggers and with an xG of 2.67 compared to 0.76 you would be forgiven for thinking the there was an error with the match score.

Based on the xG simulation Notts looked comfortable winners with an xPTS of 2.52 and expected win percentage of 79.01%.

Ten different Notts players all had a go at breaching the Dagenham defence with Rodrigues the only one to succeed. Austin's close range effort that was cleared off the line was the highest xG value of the game recording 0.63.

Jodi Jones can be forgiven for feeling hard done to, coming close with a couple of efforts including one that hit the upright. New boy Lemonheigh-Evans nearly got himself on the scoresheet with an effort that had an xG value of 0.18.

No matter how you dress it up history will show this game as a defeat, albeit only a second defeat in 35 games, but one that just might leave the door open for Wrexham to leapfrog into top spot with one of their games in hand on Tuesday evening.


Season stats updated below.

Rodrigues' goal was his 14th of the season and sees him join Cedwin Scott as second highest goals for the season so far. The Portuguese man still had plenty to do after receiving the ball from Aaron Nemane so unfortunately we are unable to afford the assist to the RWB.


Player Stats - National League:


A chance to get back on track on Saturday with a trip to Bromley. Not an easy place to go but Notts will be well rested after a week without a game.

Until then, preview to follow and keep an eye out for our National League Q3 report.

As always thanks for reading.



For Notts County Stats:

Richard - @notts_stats

Tom - @tomhwilliams23

Colin - @Colin_Sisson



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