Dagenham fell to a disappointing 39-34 loss against struggling Chelmsford at Central Park on Saturday.

The hosts began relatively brightly, with centre Lewis Pruce deemed to have been held up over the line, before Chelmsford's winger fielded a clearing kick and raced in for a converted try.

A rotated forward pack had some problems at scrum-time and Chelmsford attacked this aggresively, making Dagenham's set-piece possession messy.

The visitors converted a penalty, after Dagenham were reduced to 14 men by a yellow card, but the home side responded quickly and good handling opened up space on the left before the ball came back to Pruce to swerve his way over the line.

Dageham took the lead after a good defensive display turned the ball over, as two good passes from Cameron and Groom found Nat Farrell on the wing to beat the first man and scorch up the touchline before passing inside for Earl Gormam to crash over.

Cameron converted to make it 12-10 but Chelmsford hit back quickly as their fly-half took advantage of narrowed Dagenham defence to send a measured crossfield kick out to the left winger to score in the corner.

Dagenham put together some good phases of their own but could not capitalise when Chelmsford received a yellow card.

And the visitors extended their lead when the fly-half repeated his earlier trick, this time with a pin-point kick to his right winger to score untouched.

A successful penalty put the visitors 25-12 up, but Dagenham managed to hit back before the break when centre Gorman picked a straight line to burst through and score under the posts, before the hosts received another yellow card.

The start of the second half was evenly contested, but a penalty enabled the visitors to extend their lead by three points and further injuries in the Dagenham front row led to uncontested scrums and saw them reduced to 14 men.

They burst into life, though, with an excellent break from Jermaine Darkwa seeing him run in from halfway, only for Chelmsford to kick another penalty.

Dagenham then put together some of their best phase play of the game, before an inside ball saw Charlie Wilkinson crash over to score, with Cameron's conversion attempt denied by the post.

That left the scores level at 31-31 with 10 minutes left and both teams battled fiercely to find the winning score, with Chelmsford going ahead with a maul try in the corner.

A kickable penalty gave them an eight-point lead, but Dagenham replied with one of their own from Cameron to bring it back to a one score game and ensure a losing bonus point.

But ultimately they had left it too late to salvage victory and will be very disappointed to have lost this game at home, despite some uncontrollable factors going against them.

Dagenham will be looking for the big performance they have shown they are capable of when they make the trip to Eton Manor this Saturday.