TONY Taggart sent Conference favourites Dagenham & Redbridge crashing to their first defeat of the season with a speciality wonder goal to lift spirits at the AIMITA Stadium.

Young Taggart sent Boro fans into a state of delirium with a stunning second half strike which earned his side their second victory of the season and put the smile back on boss Graham Westley's face.

After three defeats from their opening four matches, this was a big game for Boro against the much-fancied Daggers, who missed out on promotion by the narrowest of margins last season.

And Westley's men duly delivered, putting in a resilient team display in a tactical and hard-fought encounter.

The boss said: "Dagenham are a decent side, they'll win games that's for sure. That said, it was nice to see us putting in an improved performance and come away with the points.

"Everyone's been saying that we have been playing decent football and not getting the results and I think that is true. But you get what you deserve in this life and our forward line have not been firing on all cylinders. Today was a lot better.

"We will get a lot better than that, that wasn't our best by any stretch. But I thought we deserved the win against a decent side."

With Ken Charlery coming into the side against his former club, all eyes were on him and ex-team-mate Mark Stein, who was leading the Dagenham line of attack.

In truth though, despite the obvious quality which both sides have in abundance up front, it was the defences which won the day with new signing Jim Rodwell, in particular, outstanding, against one of his former clubs.

But the bad news for Westley is that the injury list continues to grow, and its showing no signs of letting up.

Justin Gregory limped off after half an hour with a dead leg after another bad tackle by ex-Woking man Steve West, while Tim O'Shea also struggled with a knock picked up late on.

Gregory, and possibly even O'Shea will miss tonight's big trip to Yeovil Town (ko 7.45pm at Dorchester Town FC), and could join several others on the sidelines.

Barry Laker is still out after pulling a hamstring at Doncaster, while winger Dean Green missed Saturday's match after picking up a slight knock in the same game.

The situation was worsened after a freak training ground incident involving Chris Piper and Joff Vansittart on Thursday, which left the latter needing treatment, and then there's Nathan Bunce and Gary Patterson, who are still nursing longer-term injuries.

The good news, however, for Westley is that the Yeovil game signals the long-awaited return from suspension of skipper Steve Watson.

After a game of to and fro which brought passion and desire but very little in the way of clear-cut chances, it became clear that the points would hinge on one moment of magic or a costly error.

And Taggart proved that theory to be true, displaying the former in his youthful energetic style.

Tags ghosted past three players on a surging 69th minute run from midfield, latched onto a return pass from Lenny Piper and smashed a first time shot into the top corner of the net from a full 25 yards.

Prior to that, Daggers keeper Paul Gothard and his opposite number Tony Pennock had enjoyed a hassle-free afternoon between the sticks with both sets of strikers suffering off days in front of goal.

Indeed the first half was tame to say the least until it burst into action on the half hour mark when West rose to head Danny Hill's free kick just over the bar.

That prompted half chances for Stein and Hill, while Charlery almost gave Boro an injury-time lifeline with a shot on the turn which just trickled wide.

Taggart's goal came after Boro had survived a nervous start to the second half when the Daggers, through West and Paul Bruce, almost broke the deadlock themselves.

But with Boro enjoying the comfort of a lead, Chris Piper, Charlery and substitute Danny Carroll all went close to sealing the match by bagging a crucial second goal.

But even when Garry Hill's men did beat the excellent Rodwell, they found Pennock in top form.

Twice he made top drawer saves to deny Stein - the first an out-stretched dive to safety for a 20-yard strike, and the second, a 96th minute near post lunge when Stein looked odds on to keep his side's unbeaten record in tact.

BORO: Pennock; Warner, Gregory (sub Annon 34mins), O'Shea, L Piper (Griffiths 75), Taggart, C Piper, Charlery, Butterworth, Holloway (Carroll 79), Rodwell. Not used: Lee, Osborn.

DAGGERS: Gothard; Vickers, West, Johnson, Heffer, Bruce (Janney 72), Hill (Shipp 68), Terry, Perkins (McGavin 62), Stein, McDougald. Not used: Smith, Goodwin.

Ref: M McCoy (Herne Bay). Att: 998.

l Farnborough Town and Aldershot Town youngsters will battle it out for a place in the 2nd Qualifying round of the FA Youth Cup at the AIMITA Stadium tomorrow night (Wednesday).

The match kicks off at 7.30pm and must be played to a finish on the night.

l Farnborough's plans to re-develop the AIMITA Stadium to Football League status go under the microscope at Rushmoor Council's development control meeting tomorrow night (Wednesday).

The club has applied for the erection of a new seated stand to replace the existing covered stand as well as the reconstruction of south terraces along with new turnstiles, toilets, ground control room and new floodlight pylons.