A FIRST half horror show, a missed penalty and a red card combined to see Newport County AFC slip to defeat to Dagenham and Redbridge.
Two first half goals from the sensational Medy Elito, coupled with a horror penalty from Chris Zebroski and a red card for skipper David Pipe saw the Exiles beaten and bowed as their record stretches to just one win in their last 15 matches.
On chances created, the overall share of the game and saves made they were arguably worthy of at least a point last night, but when things are going against you, it tends to pour rather than rain and so it proved again.
The Exiles, with changes kept to a minimum from the weekend draw with Exeter – the addition of Byron Anthony and Tom Naylor designed to boost them - started with real aplomb before utterly imploding.
County were simply unrecognisable after they had shown verve and purpose in the opening minutes, but a horribly conceded first goal utterly threw them.
The strike came on ten minutes, a routine free kick turning to cause for panic as Byron Anthony missed the ball and Ian McLoughlin didn’t come for it, the lively Medy Elito able to break in between the defensive line and the outrushing goalkeeper and he kept his composure beautifully, lobbing the ball over County’s loanee stopper.
Elito gave the Exiles more cause for concern than any individual player this season apart from Premier League man Saido Berahino and after his early strike, the Daggers took control.
They were a yard sharper and more than a small margin more confident than the Exiles and they began to rip them open at will, not least when the unfortunate Exiles lost Anthony to injury.
Both David Pipe and Naylor had to produce last ditch blocks to deny Luke Norris and Adebayo Azeez respectively and when County finally got a chance themselves, Danny Crow was unable to turn home Chris Zebroski’s header.
That chance finally spurred County into action and just past the half hour a knock down from a corner provided a moment of panic for the Daggers who stabbed themselves by conceding a soft penalty, Norris adjudged to have handled.
It was more than the Exiles deserved but they were unable to even take the gift, Chris Zebroski grazing the crossbar as he fired his spot kick over.
It was one of those ‘it never rains it pours’ moments and just when you thought things couldn’t get worse for the hosts, they did exactly that.
Dagenham’s second combined superb counter-attacking with appalling defending and after a lucky bounce, Elito was on hand to again finish superbly, this time powering the ball into the roof of the net.
You could feel the belief being sucked out of Rodney Parade as County’s player turned on one another with much finger pointing and gesticulating, but somehow they regained a foothold in the game moments before the break.
The goal came from nothing, a very soft freekick some 35-yards seemingly no real danger but Robbie Willmott had other ideas, blasting through the wall and into the bottom corner to give Newport hope, much to the disgust of Dagenham boss Wayne Burnett who was sent off at half time for his protests.
Boss Edinburgh would’ve demanded an improvement from his side and he got it, Danny Crow twice denied before the hour mark as Newport pushed with confidence for a leveller.
Christian Jolley and Adam Chapman were introduced but the game became stop, start and low on quality which suited the visitors down to the ground.
However, with eight minutes remaining the subs combined superbly with the move of the match, Chapman going clean through with Rodney Parade collectively holding its breath, but he fired wide with the goal at his mercy.
That seemed like it would be ‘the’ moment for Newport, especially in the dying embers of the game when their task went from Mission Difficult to Mission Impossible, a reckless challenge from David Pipe seeing him sent off.
Newport County (5-3-2): McLoughlin, Pipe, Naylor, Anthony (Jackson 31), Hughes, Willmott, Porter (Chapman 71), Minshull, Burge, Crow, Zebroski (Jolley 64)
Subs not used: Jeffers, Flynn, Worley, Holloway
Booked: Minshull, Naylor, Pipe
Sent off: Pipe
Dagenham: Lewington, Ilesanmi, Doe, Saah, Bingham, Elito, Agogo, D’ath, Hoyte, Azeez, Norris (Howell 88)
Subs not used: Seabright, Chambers, Sheilds, Dickson, Connors, Gayle
Booked: Elito, Azeez,
Referee: Charles Breakspear (Surrey)
Argus star man: Medy Elito (Dagenham)