McMahon: Dagenham & Redbridge deserved to win FA Cup tie

Dagenham & Redbridge boss Daryl McMahon was disappointed to see his side draw with Gillingham in the FA Cup, but proud of their performance.

Josh Walker put the National League side ahead after 80 minutes of their second-round tie against the League Two strugglers with a composed finish.

But they conceded an injury-time equaliser to substitute Scott Kashket and must now travel to Kent for a replay with a place in the third round alongside Championship and Premier League clubs the prize for the winners.

“It’s not heartbreak. Heartbreak is a bit too much for me,” McMahon told the club website.

“It’s disappointment to concede the goal in the last minute. And it was disappointing because I don’t think we deserved to draw the game. 

“I think we deserved to win the game with the performance we did. But I’m ever so proud of the performance.

“We’ve shown we can compete with Gillingham and we play them now in 10 days’ time and we’ll look forward to that.”

Junior Morias, Myles Weston and captain Matt Robinson had chances to open the scoring in the first half, with Morias and Walker having opportunities after the restart.

Elliot Justham denied Robbie McKenzie as Gillingham enjoyed a spell of their own, before Walker went through to net his eighth goal of the campaign.

But hopes of an FA Cup upset were dashed as Kashket forced home a late leveller from close range, with McMahon adding: “We limited Gillingham. I think they had two shots in the second half on target, probably the only two they had in the game.

“We defended really, really well, we were good in possession I thought, probably apart from the first three or four minutes when I thought we were a little bit off it.Then once we got into our rhythm I thought we played really, really well.

“We looked like us, how we want to play. We weren’t intimidated by a team from the league above, we got the ball down, we played, we tried to exploit spaces in their team, and when it comes round in 10 days’ time we’ll enjoy that game I’m sure.”

Daggers are now unbeaten in six matches in all competitions, with only one defeat in 11 outings, and McMahon says his players must put their frustration to one side and focus on all the good things they did well against Neil Harris’ side.

“When you concede a late goal like that you’re always going to feel a bit deflated. You were there, you’d won it, and you’d done enough to win it and probably score a couple more so it is secure,” he said.

“You do feel deflated because of that, but you very quickly have to realise how good you played, how well you played, and learn from the experience of the last five minutes.

“We probably did go too deep to hang on, we should’ve stayed high. And that happens because emotionally you just want to hang on, you’re digging in there to get the win and we’ve made the wrong decision in going deep, which we didn’t want to do.

“But it happens in football, we have to learn from that, take the positives out of the performance, which there’s lots of, and get ready for Torquay next week.

“We’re in the hat for the next round and it’s onto the next game now.”

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