Fleet made light work of their opening home friendly with a comprehensive 4-0 win over a strong League Two Dagenham & Redbridge, Charlie Sheringham grabbing a brace on his first appearance in front of his local crowd.
Daryl McMahon made his first showing of the season having sat out the Dulwich game while trialist Richie Dilemfu was handed a start, with Jordan Sanderson on the bench. In very hot conditions, the game was understandably slow to develop with a half chance each for either side before Fleet opened the scoring on 11 minutes. McMahon applied the assist, a delicate cross onto Sheringham’s head and he rose to head it into the net with enough power to escape the attentions of Mark Cousins’ outstretched hand.
Fleet’s gameplan this season will clearly involve Sheringham’s aerial prowess and the former Dartford man had another good attempt minutes later when Anthony Cook’s dashing run and delivery was headed wide. Fleet made it 2-0 on 36 minutes when new Dagenham signing Joss Labadie was adjudged to have pulled Corcoran’s shirt with a little too much force (incident pictured above) though the assistant referee’s involvement surprised everyone and the penalty was awarded. Billy Bricknell sent Cousins the wrong way with the spot kick and Fleet were flying.
In the early periods, Dagenham looked quick on the counterattack and one-time Reading striker Jamie Cureton should have done better when a cross made it behind the Fleet back line, but Cureton blasted it high and wide.
Corcoran then embarked on a powerful run but was unfortunate to see his lob over the keeper fall the wrong side of the crossbar.
The second half lacked much fluency for the visitors as they changed much of their team on the hour, with former Fleet men Yado Mambo and Gozie Ugwu involved. Fleet’s approach to substitutions was a little less gung-ho, but Steve Brown got through most of his options in the minutes remaining.
McMahon curled a free-kick inches wide while Cureton again sacrificed an open goal for the Daggers at the other end. Fleet made it 3-0 on 72 minutes when a great run from the flanks by Chris Sessegnon saw his cross fly just beyond Sheringham. But defender Scott Doe inexplicably sent the ball back into the danger area and Sheringham was only too happy to mop up and convert the chance.
Substitute Jordan Sanderson weaved his own mazy run after that, supplying an inch perfect ball for Bricknell but before the Fleet No.10 could apply a finish, a Dagenham defender got a toe in to clear. Fleet’s link-up play continued to pay dividends and Howe’s tempting cross invited Sheringham forward for his hat-trick but the diving finish resulted in the ball flying wide of the gaping goal.
But Fleet weren’t finished and Alex Osborn will have been delighted to get on the scoresheet against the club that released him earlier this summer. Cook it was with the assist and Osborn converted at the back post to add some more gloss on the scoreline – not that the Fleet didn’t deserve such a result with a workout that will have Brown eager to get at Charlton this coming Wednesday.
TEAM: Edwards, Sessegnon (Howe 70), Palmer, McMahon, Acheampong, Clark (Mazzone 88), Dilemfu (Osborn 58), Corcoran (Sanderson 60, Johnson 81), Sheringham (Fraser 75), Bricknell (Godden 66), Cook. Subs not used: Hall