Padovani goal ends long wait for a win
Romain Padovani provided the perfect late Christmas present as Pompey finally returned to winning ways.
The Frenchman headed home the only goal of the game just before the interval to provide some festive Fratton cheer.
It was a much improved display from the Blues, with Trevor Carson a virtual spectator for long periods.
Richie Barker made five changes from the side that lost at Bristol Rovers before Christmas.
Three were enforced, with Andy Barcham (thigh) and Shaun Cooper (hamstring) out injured and Bondz N’Gala serving a one-match ban.
Padaovani came in for his first league start since August, while there were returns for Joe Devera and a fit-again Danny East.
Ricky Holmes and Thery Racon were also handed recalls, with Ryan Bird and Johnny Ertl dropping to the bench.
Pompey passed the ball around neatly in the opening stages, but it was the Daggers who were first to threaten when Chris Dickson got in front of Devera to head straight at Carson.
The hosts then had a decent opportunity on 12 minutes when Padovani’s drive was blocked by Luke Howell after Patrick Agyemang had cut the ball back.
Holmes then sent Agyemang racing through on goal, but the striker’s first touch was heavy and Chris Lewington was able to tear off his line to make the save.
And Jed Wallace livened up a quiet spell when he sent a long-distance drive flying narrowly over the crossbar on 28 minutes.
Holmes then went close with an improvised effort from the edge of the box that Lewington did well to palm clear.
Pompey were looking bright and Sonny Bradley was next to try his luck, meeting Marcos Painter’s dangerous free-kick with a thumping header that unfortunately flew straight at the keeper.
The Dagenham defence were finally breached just before the break, however.
Holmes whipped a corner into the box and PADOVANI’s header somehow found its way through a sea of bodies to nestle in the net.
Half Time: Pompey 1 Dagenham & Redbridge 0
Some inside Fratton Park thought Agyemang had incresed Pompey’s avantage early in the second half.
It was a crisp volley into the corner from the striker, but he was clearly offside and the linesman’s flag was duly raised.
But the Daggers should really have been level on 55 minutes after Zavon Hines’ free-kick had not been fully cleared.
The ball fell kindly for an unmarked Dickson inside the box, but he wasted the opportunity by screwing his shot high over the bar.
Barker made his first substitution on the hour mark, with Ertl replacing Simon Ferry in Pompey’s engine room.
Jack Whatmough then came on 10 minutes later after Painter had gone down injured and then limped off the pitch.
The hosts were not finding life as comfortable as they had in the first half, but Carson was still largely untroubled in the Blues’ goal.
He was called into action on 81 minutes, getting down quickly to prevent Scott Doe’s cut-back from reaching any red-shirted player in the Pompey box.
And Pompey saw out the closing stages to secure their first victory in 10 games – even going close to doubling their advantage with a stoppage-time Padovani strike that flew narrowly over.
Pompey (4-1-4-1): Carson; East, Devera, Bradley, Painter (Whatmough 70); Racon; Wallace, Padovani, Ferry (c) (Ertl 60), Holmes; Agyemang (Bird 90+2)
Goals: Padovani 44
Booked: Racon, Carson
Subs not used: Sullivan, Moutaouakil, Harris, Connolly
Dagenham & Redbridge (4-2-3-1): Lewington; Hoyte, Doe, Saah, Ilesanmi; Ogogo (c) (Edgar 86), Howell; Elito (D’Ath 46), Murphy, Hines; Dickson (Obafemi 68)
Booked: D’Ath, Doe
Subs not used: Seabright, Wilkinson, Connors, Scott
Referee: Graham Salisbury
Attendance: 15,192 (244 away fans)