Dagenham & Redbridge 0-1 Fleetwood Town

Updated: January 14, 2014
fleetwood at Daggers

Brian Jeeves reporting from the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham Stadium

Dagenham & Redbridge’s play-off ambitions took another blow as Fleetwood Town won a lacklustre affair at Victoria Road.

Daggers went into the game having won just one of their last six games. However, they still sat handily in tenth place, just four points from the top seven. Manager Wayne Burnett used his programme note to express his satisfaction of the team’s last home performance against AFC Wimbledon, and what with high flying Fleetwood wobbling of late on the road, hope sprung eternal that the Daggers could recapture their early season form and get their promotion push back on track.

On a bright but chilly afternoon, early exchanges were untidy. Fleetwood were first to threaten when Jeff Hughes sent a crisp low drive just past an upright with Daggers goalkeeper Chris Lewington at full stretch. The home side responded, but a neat interchange between Rhys Murphy and Dominic Samuel failed to penetrate the ridged visitors rear-guard.

Fleetwood were moving the ball around with slightly more confidence. Hughes headed wide from Steven Schumacher’s corners while Brian Saah had to be alert to cut out a dangerous centre from David Ball. Soon after, Lewington had to fist clear another Schumacher flag kick as the Cod Army continued to press.

The Daggers rallied. Town keeper Scott Davies had to race from his area to thwart Murphy, then Nathan Pond headed behind after Zavon Hines drove in from the left.

Fleetwood will believe they should have taken the lead when Hughes found space for a strike but Lewington was alive to the situation and did well to save with his feet.

With the action hardly raising the pulse, the crowd of 1,659 didn’t have much to chew the fat over, nevertheless, home followers amused themselves by dishing out some good natured mockery towards Fleetwood’s larger than life journeyman Jon Parkin. The Town man responded to their “portly” jibes by doing sit-up’s in front of them during a break in play. In an age where football seems to take itself too serious it was good to see a real character of the game playing up to the terraces, and those in the enclosure showed their appreciation with a roar of laughter and a round of applause for the visitors front man.

As the interval approached, the teams exchanged half chances. Town’s Antoni Sarcevic flashed an effort wayward, this after the Daggers back line had half cleared a centre from the left. Then Zavon Hines showed his class down the flank, skipping past two challenges but seeing his fierce shot charged down by Pond.

The half time brew clearly lifted the home side who started the second period the brighter. Gavin Hoyte and Murphy combined create an opening for Hines, but the talismanic Daggers man saw his low drive deflected behind with Davies stranded. Then Dagenham passed up a glorious opportunity to break the deadlock when an unmarked Saah headed Hines pin-point free kick directly into Davies’ midriff. Soon after, Saah was in the thick of it again, this time lashing clear as Parkin lurked menacingly.

Zavon Hines was not at his best but was still involved in the Daggers paramount moments. Only a Fleetwood entourage on the line denied Scott Doe after he’d met another inviting cross from the former West Ham United man.

Nevertheless, the visitors had weathered the Daggers’ storm, and with little more than fifteen minutes to go they pinched the all-important goal. Sometimes the drabbest encounters can be crystallised by one single moment of quality, and this proved to be the case. Sarcevic’s centre found David Ball who produced a neat turn and shot beyond Lewington and into the bottom corner of the net, much to the delight of the small but hardy band who had made the long trip down from the North West.

Dagenham looked for an immediate response. Substitute Medy Elito couldn’t get enough on Lawson D’Ath’s cross, then another centre from Hines eluded the onrushing Afolabi Obafemi.

Fleetwood had a couple of great opportunities to kill the game. Firstly, Mikael Mandron got away from Doe and clipped over Lewington, however, Saah was quick to react and cleared the danger. Soon after, Sarcevic beat Lewington with an exquisite chip, but his effort dropped agonisingly wide of the target.

Then in the games burning embers a controversial moment. Daryl Murphy lifted the ball over keeper Davies only for Fleetwood skipper Mark Roberts to somehow hook off the line. Daggers players and the fans behind the goal were convinced that the effort had crossed the line, so much so that an incensed Murphy was shown the yellow card by whistler Mr Sheldrake for the ferocity of his protest.

Fleetwood saw out the remaining minutes without any further concern to pick up an important three points. For now, Daggers seem to have hit the wall following an encouraging start to the campaign, perhaps teams have got wise to the team labelled by many as League Two’s surprise package. One certainly hopes they can rediscover their spark soon so the season doesn’t disappointingly fizzle out.

Dagenham & Redbridge will look to get their Sky Bet League Two campaign back on track when they visit Newport County on Saturday 18th January, kick-off 3pm.

Dagenham & Redbridge: Lewington, Doe, Saah, Ogogo, Murphy, D’Ath, Howell (Obafemi 77), Hoyte (Wilkinson 90), Connors, Samuel (Elito 40), Hines

Dagenham & Redbridge subs not used: Anderson, Ilesanmi, Edgar, Shields

Fleetwood Town: Davies, Roberts, Pond, Schumacher (Murdoch 88), Parkin (Mandron 65), Hughes, Goodall, McLaughlin, Sarcevic, Taylor, Ball

Fleetwood Town subs not used: Evans, Hogan, Cresswell, Maxwell, Carr

Referee: Mr. D.Sheldrake

Attendance: 1,659 (73 from Fleetwood)

Courtesy of The Yellow Advertiser

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  1. Europa Pointfc

    January 14, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    A club like Dagenham & Redbridge ought to have a look and base recruitment on young English players with “international” experience blending their inherent English Grit with The Spanish Way instilled young.

  2. Nick Webster

    January 16, 2014 at 1:21 am

    I think that’s an interesting proposition. The trouble with the English game is that we are too stubborn to look anywhere else.

  3. Brian Jeeves

    January 16, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Dagenham & Redbridge are a good community club. A lot of the players have been released by bigger local clubs or have come through the youth system. In fairness, much like Accrington Stanley they are punching above their weight in the Football League. They have a fan base of around 1,700, which is quite small in comparison to local rivals Southend United who average 5,500. However, their continuation at this level is welcomed locally, but long may it continue.

    • Nick Webster

      January 16, 2014 at 5:38 pm

      And that’s the key for small clubs, community. It’s what the big boys at the top lack and why football at the elite level is slowly dying while the grass roots gets stronger than ever in terms of soul.

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