Published: 16:45, 13 April 2019
| Updated: 08:02, 14 April 2019
Ebbsfleet's chances of making the play-offs suffered a major blow with defeat at home to Dagenham.
On a day when Eastleigh won at home to Gateshead, the Fleet fell four points behind them after delivering one of their poorest performances under manager Garry Hill.
Credit should go to the Daggers for a dogged defensive display but Ebbsfleet lacked invention and this result could prove costly.
Lawrie Wilson returned at right-back for Ebbsfleet, with club captain Dave Winfield dropping to the bench after a comeback appearance in the 1-1 draw at Gateshead a week earlier. Corey Whitely got the nod ahead of Ebou Adams in midfield as Hill picked a side to attack the Daggers from the start.
But they were comfortably second-best in the opening 45 minutes, with Emmanuel Onariase gifted a free header from a corner early on.
Michael Cheek and Whitely combined well at the other end and almost created an opening for Gozie Ugwu, although Nathan Ashmore had to be alert to keep out Angelo Balanta's volley from a Nathan Smith cross.
Sam Magri had a header cleared off the line from Jack Payne's right-wing corner but the home side fell behind on 24 minutes.
Magri and Jack King both went for the same ball and the mix-up was punished by Tomi Adeloye, who ran through and drove the ball underneath Ashmore.
Fleet looked edgy, their passes going astray all over the pitch with an energetic Dagenham winning the midfield battle.
The home side slung a few long throws and corners into the box but more often than not it was a yellow head on the end of it, with ex-Fleet centre-half Kenny Clark marshalling his troops well.
Dagenham should have extended their lead before half-time, with centre-forward Adeloye a particular thorn in the side of Ebbsfleet's defence.
He nodded an Ollie Harfield cross narrowly wide of the far post and forced two saves from Ashmore, with the home side relieved to reach the interval without further damage.
Something had to change and Cheek was dragged off at half-time, with Danny Kedwell sent on to partner Ugwu up front.
Initially there was more intent about the hosts and Whitely curled a shot wide with his left foot after Dean Rance had done well to spread play wide.
But still they lacked quality in possession and Andy Drury was sent on to address that in the last 30 minutes.
Payne and Drury worked a neat short corner to Weston and his cross dropped near the penalty spot but King fired well over.
Dagenham posed a real threat on the counter-attack and Adeloye collided with Ashmore after turning Wilson inside-out although his penalty shout fell on deaf ears.
That was Wilson's last contribution, with Bagasan Graham entering the fray as Hill switched to a back-three and threw bodies forward.
The Daggers, though, seemed to relish their defensive duties while Ebbsfleet's direct approach had become predictable.
Conor Wilkinson almost made it 2-0 when he met Smith's fine cross with a looping header but Ashmore arched his back to tip the ball behind and keep Fleet in the game.
Ugwu got his head to another Payne corner but his effort lacked power and goalkeeper Elliot Justham gathered easily.
Referee Declan Bourne waved away loud penalty claims when Weston tumbled in the box but it just wouldn't drop for Ebbsfleet.
Their frustration was summed up, three minutes from time, when Kedwell helped on Payne's corner only to see King help the ball over the bar from a couple of yards out.
Ebbsfleet: Ashmore, Wilson (Graham 63mins), Magri, King, Bush, Whitely, Rance (Drury 58mins), Payne, Weston, Cheek (Kedwell 46mins), Ugwu. Subs not used: Winfield, Adams.
Dag & Red: Justham, Robinson, Clark, Kandi (McQueen 77mins), Balanta, Adeloye (Wilkinson 66mins), Wright, Loft, Harfield, Onariase, Smith. Subs not used: Moore, Munns, Davey.