Dagenham & Redbridge boss Ben Strevens was left frustrated by their pre-season defeat against Gillingham – but remains upbeat by their progress.
Shadrach Ogie headed the only goal of the game early in the second half at Victoria Road, with visiting keeper Jake Turner denying Josh Hare and Frank Vincent with good saves.
And Strevens was keeping a positive outlook despite the 1-0 loss, with one more friendly to play before the National League campaign begins.
“I was pretty frustrated for 60-odd minutes. We didn’t really get going, we didn’t get to grips with the formation and the way they played,” he told the club website.
“Fair play to them, they got at us, certainly the first half, without creating loads. Els pulled off a couple of saves, but we just didn’t at any time get control of the play.
“I know as soon as a goal goes in your mindset changes, but once that did start happening, we had better passages of play, a few more entries into that final third and trying to get some efforts at goal.
“We probably made some bad decisions on when to shoot and when to find another pass and that led to only one shot on target from open play and one from a free-kick. We got into good areas, but decision making at times wasn’t quite right.
“The frustration of today is conceding the goal we did. The positives over the last four weeks certainly outweigh the way I feel today. I’m really happy with the group and happy with the way they’re trying to go.”
Daggers gave a debut to new signing Charley Kendall, who joined on a season-long loan from Lincoln City on Friday, and also saw Nik Tavares return to action after a long injury absence as a replacement for Jake Hessenthaler.
And Strevens was pleased by the performances of both, adding: “Charlie coming into the group to give us another option in the attacking third, we had another body up there in the last half-hour and different options to the boys we’ve got.
“Tav’s worked incredibly hard. I’ve seen part of it obviously but just knowing him as a person and how hard he’s worked.
“The fact he has been out nine months, he looked like he’d never been away when he came on – composed on the ball, went into a crunching tackle, I was not wanting him to go into but he flew into it.
“B [Bryony Woolley] has really helped him, has been great with him, the boys have supported him, but more importantly his hard work and dedication to get himself back to the place he is has been really good.
“He is going to be a massive plus for us if we can get him fit and keep him fit. I feel like, watching from afar, he was really missed last year.
“If we can keep him fit and playing the way we know he can, he can be a real asset for us.”