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Home Gravesend Sport Article
Charlie Sheringham scored twice as Ebbsfleet brushed Dagenham & Redbridge aside on Saturday.
Steve Brown's side are two divisions below the Daggers but it was the Fleet who looked fitter, sharper and more cohesive on a hot afternoon in north Kent.
Summer signing Sheringham could easily have scored five goals on his own in a team display which will give Brown and the Fleet supporters plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the season ahead.
There was one trialist in the Ebbsfleet starting line-up, Richie Dilemfu, who lined up wide on the right.
Meanwhile, former Fleet defender Yado Mambo was named on the Dagenham bench alongside Gozie Ugwu, the 21-year-old forward who had a loan spell at Stonebridge Road in 2012.
Also among the Daggers substitutes was Bradley Goldberg, who played against the Fleet - five times - on loan at Bromley last season.
Ebbsfleet could have been ahead inside three minutes. Anthony Cook's left-wing free-kick found Sheringham unmarked but he sent his free header wide from 12 yards.
Ashley Chambers had Dagenham's first effort, but his shot was charged down, and Matt Partridge then skied a first-time drive from 30 yards.
The opening goal, on 11 minutes, had a touch of class about it.
Daryl McMahon floated over an inviting cross from the left and Sheringham matched his impressive leap with a powerful header towards the far corner. Daggers keeper Mark Cousins dived to his left and got a hand to the ball, but Sheringham's effort had just enough pace to creep into the net.
The aerial threat of Sheringham continued. McMahon found Cook, wide on the left, with a superb raking pass and his cross was nodded just over by Sheringham at the back post.
McMahon's next delivery, a right-wing corner, was palmed against the bar by Cousins, and Michael Corcoran then misjudged a close-range header from a good position.
Dagenham's play didn't have the same fluency as that of their Conference South hosts, whose passing game had the Fleet fans applauding.
Joss Labadie tried his luck from 25 yards but his daisy-cutter dribbled well wide.
Eight minutes before the interval, it was 2-0. Cook again crossed from the left and there were a few raised eyebrows when Labadie was penalised for tangling with Corcoran at the back post. Bricknell didn't argue, though, sending Cousins the wrong way from 12 yards.
An excellent half for the Fleet almost got even better just before the break when Corcoran ran clear and sent a lob just the wrong side of Cousins' left-hand post.
McMahon almost caught out Cousins at the start of the second period, whipping a free-kick just past the near post from all of 35 yards.
Jamie Cureton, on trial with Dagenham, should have halved the deficit moments later. But the former Reading and Norwich striker contrived to hook the ball over from no more than a couple of yards out as the goal gaped in front of him.
A cheeky long-range effort from Chambers had Edwards back-pedalling but the Fleet keeper made a comfortable save.
Dagenham made nine changes on the hour mark and one of the new players contributed to a goal - at his own end. Scott Doe, attempting to clear Chris Sessegnon's deep cross from the right, instead guided it straight to Sheringham, who tapped home from a yard out.
The visitors were all over the place defensively. Fleet substitute Alex Osborn, who was released by Dagenham at the end of last season, forced a good save from replacement stopper Liam O'Brien. And when Jordan Sanderson waltzed past Doe down the Ebbsfleet left, his cross was almost turned in by the onrushing Bricknell.
Dagenham were being completely overrun.
Cook sprinted away from Ian Gayle and centered for Matt Godden, whose shot was well blocked. Sheringham then had a golden chance to complete his hat-trick when Joe Howe picked him out with a wonderful cross from the right, but the striker's header drifted wide.
The rout was complete nine minutes from the end; the irrepressible Cook running 50 yards and crossing left-footed for Osborn to score at the back post.
Ebbsfleet: Edwards, Sessegnon (Howe 70mins), Acheampong, Clark (Mazzone 88mins), Palmer, Dilemfu (Osborn 57mins), McMahon, Corcoran (Sanderson 60mins, Johnson 80mins), Cook, Sheringham (Fraser 75mins), Bricknell (Godden 65mins). Sub not used: Hall.
Dag & Red: Cousins, Partridge, Connors, Saah, Gayle, Bingham, Howell, Labadie, Cureton, Porter, Chambers. Subs: O'Brien, Doe, Ugwu, Ogogo, Green, Raymond, Goldberg, Guedioura, Connell, Fitzpatrick, Mambo.
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