By Rory Drake
A brace from Steve Rigg helped Gateshead climb back into the play-off places and make it five games unbeaten under new manager Ben Clark as Gateshead won at the Chigwell Construction Stadium.
Rigg fired Gateshead ahead against the run of play just before halftime with his first goal since October.
Rigg added his second 10 minutes into the second half, finishing off a good team move from close range.
Aynsley Pears denied Conor Wilkinson from the spot with 20 minutes to play and pulled off a string of fine saves late on to keep a clean sheet.
Gateshead came into the game unbeaten under Ben Clark but needing to start turning draws into wins, it was Dagenham however who started the brighter.
Dagenham came close with just 22 seconds on the clock when a cross from Liam Gordon, hit Alex McQueen, who was unable to make proper contact, seeing the ball fall kindly for Aynsley Pears.
15 minutes in the hosts came close again, Jack Munns curling a shot from range, but it didn’t trouble Pears.
Neither team really stamped their authority in the opening 20 minutes, but Dagenham looked the more likely to score. With 23 minutes gone, a Munns corner found Kenny Clark who headed just wide.
Moments later Dagenham had another corner, with Clark again getting his head on it, but heading inches over the bar.
Gateshead had been limited to half chances in the opening stages, Scott Barrow fired well over following a corner, summing up Gateshead’s start in front of goal.
Within a minute, Dagenham should have been ahead. A defensive mistake from Robbie Tinkler, let in Lamar Reynolds who fired straight at Pears, the ball fell back to Reynolds who squared for Munns who was denied on the line by Tinkler, before Reynolds fired the rebound wide.
Dagenham continued to look the more dangerous with Reynolds again coming close, heading just wide from an Alex McQueen cross.
Gateshead were awarded a penalty 40 minutes in, after Manny Onariase obstructed Mike Williamson at the far post.
Rigg stepped up and fired straight down the middle to put Gateshead in front.
Dagenham went forward from the kick off and were awarded a freekick after Williamson was adjudged to have fouled Reynolds on the edge of the box.
Wilkinson took the set piece but couldn’t find the target, firing over the bar.
There was still time for another Dagenham freekick before half time. Munns whipped in a deep ball which found Goodliffe at the far post, but the defender’s looping header went just over the bar.
Gateshead started the second half brightly and nearly doubled the lead in the 50th minute, Elliot Forbes picked the ball up on the edge of the box and fired just wide of the near post.
Moments later, Tom White came close with an effort from the edge of the box going just wide.
Gateshead did make it 2-0 in the 55th minute, when Scott Barrow found Greg Olley who cut back to Rigg who tapped home his second.
Dagenham were not out of the game and still looked dangerous every time they went forwards. Clark had looked dangerous from set pieces in the first half and with 25 minutes to go headed narrowly wide again.
Dagenham were awarded a penalty with 71 minutes gone when Reynolds went down after a challenge from Olley.
Wilkinson stepped up and fired low to Pears’ right, but the Middlesbrough loanee guessed right and kept it out, with Chike Kandi blazing the rebound over.
With seven minutes to go, Ollie Harfield fired a shot from 25 yards across goal, just missing Pears’ left-hand post.
Dagenham twice came close in the dying moments, but Pears continued the fine form he’d shown all game to deny Clark and then Gordon.
Dagenham: Justham; Onariase, Clark, Goodliffe (Harfield 67’); McQueen, Robinson, Loft, Munns (Kandi 62’), Gordon; Wilkinson, Reynolds
Subs not used: Moore, Wright, Smith
Bookings: Wilkinson (75)
Gateshead: Pears; Kerr, Williamson, Mellish; Tinkler, Forbes, Olley (Hunter 83’), White, Barrow ©; Rigg, Thomson (Salkeld 77’)
Subs not used: Foden, Maloney, Devitt
Goals: Rigg (41, 55)
Bookings: Williamson (43), Olley (71), Mellish (75), White (90)
Referee: Carl Brook
Attendance: 1,209 (56 Gateshead)
MOTM: Aynsley Pears