SUPERCHARGED Town turned on the power to cruise into the FA Cup second round with an impressive six-goal salute.
Far too quick and inventive for the League II Daggers, Lee Clark’s side triumphed with a double each for Lee Novak and Gary Roberts plus strikes for Jordan Rhodes and Robbie Williams.
The only pity was Town couldn’t keep a fifth straight home clean sheet, conceding to Paul Benson on 74 minutes – 518 minutes after the last goal they let in at the Galpharm against Yeovil in August.
With Lee Novak declared fit after his shoulder problem, manager Lee Clark was able to name an unchanged starting line-up for the fifth successive match.
Marcus Stewart, a player-coach at Exeter, and former Town teammate David Beresford watched from the directors box as Dagenham made a bright start and top scorer Paul Benson fired over from close range with barely 90 seconds on the clock.
Town settled and, on six minutes, had what looked a decent penalty shout waved away by Lancashire official Graham Salisbury.
Novak created the chance with some determined running to rob Jon Nurse of possession in the box and his squared pass was met by Roberts who, as he flicked it forward, looked to be tripped by veteran keeper Tony Roberts, who was playing professionally before his opposite number, Alex Smithies, was even born.
Town’s disappointment was shortlived, however, as they took the lead less than three minutes later – with yet another spectacular free-kick from left back Robbie Williams.
The man who won three points in the previous match at Oldham with a cracking 30-yarder this time struck from just outside the box, defeating the sprawling Roberts with another sweet shot.
It sparked the new ‘Swan’ celebration from Town’s players and, while Peter Gain lobbed a shot onto the roof of Town’s net shortly afterwards, they were in no mood to let Dagenham back into the contest.
Lee Peltier drilled in a shot which keeper Roberts couldn’t hold, only for Jordan Rhodes to scoop the follow-up shot narrowly wide of the target, and then winger Roberts cut in and unleashed a left-foot drive which the Dagenham stopper had to smother at the foot of a post.
Town extended their lead in the 21st minute, Anthony Pilkington wriggling to the goalline on the left and crossing for Roberts to nod in at the back post.
Then, barely two minutes later, rampant Town were three ahead, Novak responding to his manager’s call for more goals with a tap-in, after Pilkington had burst past three would-be tacklers and unleashed a low left-foot drive which the keeper spilled to the eager 21-year-old.
Collins missed a gilt-edged chance for No4 after being teed up by Pilkington after 29 minutes and, from the resulting goalkick, Roberts sliced his clearance straight to Rhodes before redeeming himself with a fine save one-on-one.
Smithies, a virtual spectator at this stage, had to be smart to keep out an angled drive from Danny Green and preserve Town’s chances of keeping a fifth straight home clean sheet.
Town were quickly back on the attack, Rhodes firing over from a Williams free kick and Novak being denied by a fine save after a wonderful break involving Roberts, Rhodes and Collins.
There was no let-up in a blistering show from Clark’s men and, in the final minute of the half, Rhodes fired in his 13th of the season off the underside of the bar after a cracking cut-back by the lively Collins.
Kay almost added a fifth moments later but Roberts made a breathtaking block at point-blank range as Town finished the first half in complete control.
It was much the same in the second half, as Pilkington continued to torment the visitors’ defence by setting up his third goal of the night 10 minutes after the restart with a perfect cross for Novak to head home from close range.
Novak was taken off shortly afterwards to allow Theo Robinson a run-out, and he was quickly into the action with a stinging drive which was well beaten away by Roberts.
The fast-raiding Lee Peltier kept Town on the front foot and it was he who set up the sixth for Roberts, fired in after a neat pull-back on 72 minutes.
The only disappointment was that Town, having defended solidly without conceding at home for 518 minutes since August, let a goal in 16 minutes from time, Benson prodding home a cross from Graeme Montgomery.
Click below for shots from our pitchside photographers from last night's game.Related content