McMahon: Totally different game at Maidstone for Daggers

Dagenham & Redbridge boss Daryl McMahon expects a ‘totally different game’ when his side visit Maidstone United on Monday.

Myles Weston’s goal earned Daggers a 1-0 win over their National League rivals at Victoria Road on Boxing Day and the two clubs meet again to start the new year.

Monday’s win left McMahon’s men just one point off the play-off places, with a game in hand, while Stones sit just above the relegation zone.

And the return clash takes place on the Gallagher Stadium’s 3G pitch, with McMahon telling the club website: “It will be a totally different game. It’s a different pitch at Maidstone, that plays a part in the game as well.

“We’ll think about it as we get a bit closer to the game. Today [Monday] we’ll just enjoy the win, we’re in tomorrow to do a warm down and then start preparing for the game on the second.”

Paul McCallum came off the bench on Boxing Day to make his first league appearance in more than two months – having netted in the FA Trophy win over Uxbridge in midweek – and McMahon also gave a debut to recent signing Sydney Ibie, who has joined from Isthmian League side Northwood.

And McMahon was pleased to have such options at his disposal, adding: “It’s great to have Mac back and we’ve brought Sydney is as well. Sydney’s trained ever so well. 

“I spoke when we signed him about maybe going out on loan but we might keep him in the building a little bit longer, just to see what he can do for us and I thought coming on today he didn’t look out of place to be honest. He was a threat when he come on.

“He’s young, he’s raw, he needs to learn a lot but we had some good players on the bench, Jay Bird, Mo Sagaf, as well as [Yoan] Zouma.”

Weston’s second goal of the season allowed Daggers to end the calendar year on a winning note and also gave McMahon a chance to reflect on his highlights of 2022.

“Southend away when we won 3-0 I thought was a terrific performance and I know our fans enjoyed that one,” he said, referring to their March 15 triumph last season.

“Even though the game nearly gave me a heart attack, when we played Barnet here [on September 24].

“I’d been off because my wife had been ill and my first game back, the way the game went to be 2-0 down and the players’ unbelievable spirit, to score in the 93rd minute, Josh Walker, to win [5-4] was terrific.

“And one that was really important to me was George Saunders making a comeback. 

“When he had that horrific injury [breaking his leg in the FA Trophy against Spennymoor Town on February 12], you don’t know how players are coming back and in the last month or so he has been absolutely outstanding.

“They’re probably three moments that I will look at and enjoy.”

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