Dagenham and Redbridge 3-0 FC Halifax Town: Shaymen stumble again in race for play-offs
FC Halifax Town stumbled again the race for the play-offs as they lost 3-0 at Dagenham and Redbridge.
Goals from Mauro Vilhete, Paul McCallum and Angelo Balanta consigned The Shaymen to their heaviest away defeat since the 5-1 thrashing at Stockport on Boxing Day 2019.
And deservedly so.
Once the hosts got into their stride, they were too good for Town.
The top seven is still within Halifax's grasp, but back-to-back defeats mean it is out of their hands, and they need to dig deep to quickly find some form.
Dagenham had collected 19 points from their last available 21 before this game, but a tough task against an in-from side was made harder still by the news that Jake Hyde and Jamie Allen were both injured, meaning Tav Campbell made first start in two months up-front.
With Danny Williams and Jack Earing also unavailable, the team pretty much picked itself with the senior first-teamers that were left.
Angelo Balanta hit the side netting early on with a rising shot from the edge of the box before Halifax screamed for a handball rather than a corner ten minutes in when a shot by Kieran Green was deflected behind.
Town blocked the odd Dagenham shot in and around the box but the game took a while to come to life.
The hosts were comfortable in possession, trying to play through midfield and showed some good movement out wide high up the pitch.
Town were playing more on the break, but were good out of possession, pressing effectively, winning the ball back in midfield and restricting the hosts to few chances.
Town's four most attacking players - Green, Campbell, Jeff King and Jack Senior - were responsible for the team's attacking threat, with Luke Summerfield and Martin Woods screening the back four.
Green was the best of that quartet, winning headers and linking play. Campbell tried to fill Hyde's boots, but lacked support at times.
King curled a shot across goal left-footed midway through the first-half before the a cross from the left was headed across goal and wide after half-an-hour by McCallum.
A cross-shot by George Saunders was then just too far ahead of McCallum to make contact with, as the hosts' threat began to increase.
Matthew Robinson's cross from the left was then converted smartly by Vilhete with the first shot on target of the match.
Halifax should have levelled when a great cross by King found Green at the far post, but he could only glance it wide.
Senior, in an unfamiliar left-wing role, was then played in down with a superb pass but his first touch took him too wide and his weak cross was cleared.
A superb header by McCallum from a lofted free-kick, his ninth goal in eight games, then put clear daylight between the sides in added time at the end of the opening half.
It looked a long way back for Town, who deservedly trailed against a Dagenham side whose better quality going forward had been the big difference.
Neill Byrne fired over the bar after a foray forward shortly after the interval, but any hopes a comeback were extinguished when Balanta tapped-in Vilhete's low cross from the left.
Dom Tear and Darren Stephenson were brought on after an hour but it looked a forlorn effort.
Dagenham were hungrier, sharper and far more effective in attacking areas, and after Balanta's goal, Town were flat. A beaten side.
McCallum's goal just before half-time was the killer in truth, but The Shaymen had no answers to get back into it, and once Dagenham moved out of reach, they remained so.
Substitute Myles Weston twice brought a good save from Sam Johnson, with Town's only threatening moment when King's shot was turned behind from a left-wing cross.
But the game petered out, unlike, it is to be hoped, The Shaymen's play-off challenge.
Dagenham: Justham, Wright, Reynolds, Johnson, Saunders, Jones (Weston 72), Khan, Robinson, Vilhete (Smith 81), Balanta (McQueen 77), McCallum. Subs not used: Eleftheriou, Wilson.
Scorers: Vilhete (34), McCallum (45), Balanta (55)
Shots on target: 6
Shots off target: 7
Halifax: Johnson, Byrne, Clarke, Maher, Bradbury, King, Summerfield, Woods, Green (Spence 65), Senior (Tear 59), Campbell (Stephenson 59). Subs not used: Davison-Hale, Benn.
Shots on target: 2
Shots off target: 5
Referee: Matthew Russell
Town man of the match: Sam Johnson. But for him, it could have been worse.