A Bank Holiday Monday comeback to earn a 3-3 draw against Altrincham at Mill Farm has the Coasters in good spirits ahead of their latest National League fixture.

Dagenham & Redbridge await Adam Murray’s men, and we have all you need to know about the opposition. 

The Lowdown 

The Coasters travel South on the back of a Bank Holiday weekend and one that saw plenty of goals at both ends of the pitch.

TNT cameras were in place for the Coasters’ 3-1 defeat away to Hartlepool last Saturday, a game that saw Gold Omatayo gain his second goal for the club in what was a below-par performance. The Coasters then responded on Monday with an impressive performance in a 3-3 draw with Altrincham, which included three penalties.

Goals from Nick Haughton and Gold Omatayo tied the game at 2-2 until Chris conn-clarke despatched a penalty in the 87th minute for the away side to make it 3-2. The drama wasn’t complete there, and it was in the 99th minute where Harry Davis headed in a Danny Whitehead cross, causing pandemonium in the North Stand.

Dagenham got a maximum six points from the Bank holiday fixtures following wins against Barnet and Wealdstone. An own goal from Nicke Kabamba was the only difference in the game against Barnet.

Goals from Omar Mussa and Ryan Hill gave the Daggers all three points against Wealdstone and indicates that the Daggers have possibly turned a corner with their form. 

The Manager: Ben Strevens

Edgware-born Strevens started his career off at Wingate and Finchley, where he notched 38 goals in 67 games and gained the interest of local Football League clubs. Strevens was eventually snapped up by Barnet, a club he would go on to make just shy of 200 appearances in seven seasons for.

During that period, Ben enjoyed loan spells at Slough Town, St Albans City and Wingate & Finchley. He was also the only player to remain in the squad that got relegated to non-league in 2001 to be then still in the squad for the promotion in 2005.

In December of 2005, Strevens made the switch to East London to join Dagenham and Redbridge. Ben made over 100 appearances in his first spell, which also coincided with Dagenham’s first spell in the football league – however, Strevens moved on the season before Dagenham gained promotion to League One.

He then joined London rivals and now Premier League side Brentford FC. In his only season with the Bees, he was part of a squad that became champions of League Two and would join Dagenham in League one, albeit a year later.

However, after League Two success with the Bees, Strevens was in hot demand and joined Wycombe Wanderers. Once again, he was promoted out of League Two with Wycombe but stayed on for one more season, which saw Wycombe go straight back down to League Two from League One. 

Spells at Gillingham and Dagenham then led to a spell with Eastleigh, and he once again enjoyed promotion at the first time of asking with them, scoring 11 times in their promotion-winning season. He then became a key figure at Eastleigh, making 89 appearances in all competitions throughout the next two seasons for the Spitfires, helping them become a formidable force in the National League. 

A move to Whitehawk before re-joining Eastleigh eventually saw him moved into the dugout and take on the Assistant Manager role at Eastleigh before becoming permanent manager in 2018. 

In his first season as manager, he guided the club to a playoff finish, losing to eventual winners Salford City. The next two seasons were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but Strevens led the Spitfires to respectable finishes of 16th and 9th before leaving the club in 2022 by mutual consent. 

He then joined Dagenham as manager late on in the 22/23 season and gained 13 points in the final 10 games to lead the club to a 10th-placed finish.

Key Players

Frank Vincent – Joining from Notts County in the summer, Vincent is a smart acquisition for the Daggers. A midfield player who likes to get the ball down and play, he will be a vital player for Dagenham this year. With vast experience playing for the likes of Torquay, Notts County and Aldershot at this level, Vincent looks likely to be one of the main men at Victoria Stadium this year. 

Inih Effiong – A born goalscorer with unbelievable hold-up play and strength. Standing at 6ft4 with a wealth of experience, Effiong will be a handful for the Coasters backline.

Scoring goals for the likes of Dover, Boreham Wood, Woking, Aldershot and Barnet at this level, Effiong doesn’t need to be asked twice where the net is and giving away chances to him could be costly for the Coasters.

Nikola Tavares – A young centre-back who was born to lead. South African-born but representing Croatia at international level, Tavares certainly has some pedigree. 

A season-ending injury last time out was costly for the 24-year-old – however, he will be back this term to keep as many clean sheets as possible and keep the Coasters’ attack quiet.

Previous Meetings

19th August 2017 – AFC Fylde 2-2 Dagenham & Redbridge – National League

Goalscorers: Fylde – Simon Grand & Henry Jones

Daggenham & Redbridge – Morgan Fevrier, Simon Grand (og)

24th March 2018 – Dagenham & Redbridge 2-0 AFC Fylde – National League

Goalscorers: Dagenham & Redbridge – Chike Kandi & Mason Bloomfield

17th November 2018 – Dagenham & Redbridge 2-1 AFC Fylde – National League 

Goalscorers: Dagenham & Redbridge – Conor Wilkinson & Jack Munns

Fylde – Andy Bond

2nd April 2019 – AFC Fylde 1-1 Dagenham & Redbridge – National League 

Goalscorers: Fylde – Danny Rowe  

Dagenham & Redbridge – Angelo Balanta 

23rd November 2019 – AFC Fylde 3-0 Dagenham & Redbridge  

Goalscorers: Fylde – Mark Yeates & Jordan Williams (x2)

10th March 2020 – Dagenham & Redbridge 1-2 AFC Fylde – National League 

Goalscorers: Dagenham & Redbridge – Mitch Brundle

Fylde – Tom Walker & Alex Whitmore 

Opposition Form

After starting the season in the worst possible fashion, the Daggers seem to have turned a corner. One point from their opening four games and only three goals scored would have unsettled Daggers fans – however, an impressive win against Barnet, followed by a win against Wealdstone, has instilled a bit more confidence around the team. 

Two clean sheets in a row is the perfect place to start a run-off – however, when coming up against the free-scoring Coasters, keeping a clean sheet may be difficult for the Daggers. 

Seven goals in six games suggests maybe an extra striker or attacker is needed to add that bit more firepower to the squad. With a solid squad and a potential top-half finish on the cards, the Daggers will certainly not make it easy for the Coasters on Saturday.

Match Preview is written by Benji Jenkinson.