Halifax hold disappointed Daggers
Just over a thousand non league fanatics attended Victoria Road and braved the cold to watch an in form Dagenham side go up against FC Halifax Town. There was great expectation on The Daggers' shoulders as they looked to make it seven wins out of eight and continue their four game winning streak but The Shaymen looked to deny them that victory. The visitors who were supported by 47 dedicated fans got the game underway and won four set pieces in the opening few minutes. After instantly winning a free kick Halifax won a corner that lead to another after Kosylo's effort was deflected behind. Eventually after an opening five minutes of pressure Dagenham cleared it into the opposition half, it is safe to say the away side were very quick out of the blocks however they didn't find the net.
The pressure was relieved but only for a few minutes as Kosylo Halifax's No.7 again took a shot on goal this time forcing Justham to tip it over. The resulting corner again saw Justham called into action as he took control punching away what looked like a good delivery. Dagenham's first chance did not threaten the Halifax goal as Nunn looked to cross but it just turned into a poor shot - it summed up the home side's start to the game. The visitors' No.7 just couldn't find the net as he took another shot this time with his weak foot and he watched it rise over the bar in despair.
After a shaky start The Daggers had grown into the game and they nearly found themselves in front as Wilkinson was fouled just outside the area. The free kick that followed just lacked height as Munns' promising effort was beaten away by Johnson, it was a good save but a routine one for the Halifax No.1. The hosts were having most of the ball for the next ten minutes but they couldn't get a sight on goal. Soon after they did win a corner and managed a shot on target but that shot on target was a Phipps header that lacked quality as it was again a comfortable height for the large keeper.
It was end to end stuff as Halifax won another free kick from 30 yards but that was blocked by McQueen who turned his back in what was an interesting wall. Then as Dagenham looked to break Robinson was pulled down by Kosylo who was booked for his troubles, that didn't prove to costly though and it again ended up in Johnson's hands. Minutes later a card of a different sort was brandished from the referee's back pocket as Staunton launched himself at McQueen in a two footed challenge; it was from there on in that you thought Dagenham could take all three points.
They nearly found themselves on their way to three points as Munns' cross was met by Goodliffe whose good header downwards troubled Johnson who eventually got it in his grasp. Although they were now down to ten it was Halifax who had the last action of the half winning another free kick but this time Brown headed it over. Despite looking in control early on The Shaymen would have felt somewhat worried going down to ten men away to an equally strong side. On the contrary The Daggers would have felt that they could take all the points if they opted for a more attacking approach. The hosts made a change at half time replacing Harry Phipps with Harfield as they looked for an opener.
They started by far the better side creating chance after chance with McQueen driving the ball across the face of goal. As well as Wilkinson looking to get on the score sheet but his effort was blocked from just 6 yards out and it was safe to say Halifax were living dangerously. Another lovely move came about soon after leading to a corner that saw McQueen's low cross nearly flicked in by Balanta at the near post. The home side continued to attack but they had to be patient with refereeing decisions going against them as Johnson was supposedly fouled in his own box. That patience saw a goal come Dagenham's way as Munns' great touch took it away from his man and he smashed it into the far corner - it was a great finish!
Sellers fouled Wilkinson in a dangerous position as the Essex side looked to secure their lead but that opportunity was wasted as it was taken short with McQueen ultimately being forced out of play. There was also an opportunity for an equaliser up the other end as Ben Nunn was booked for a foul on the edge of the box.- luckily for him that came to nothing. Nunn was involved in all the action as he nearly found The Daggers' second cutting inside but his shot just went over the joint of the woodwork. That missed chance and the others earlier on in the half would prove costly after Dagenham conceded a corner just inside 80 minutes and Nathan Clark rose highest to powerfully head the ball home.
The home side looked for an instant response to get the three points their second half display warranted and Taylor looked to make an impact bringing Adeloye on for Balanta. Tomi Adeloye nearly volleyed the ball in for three points but his effort on the half volley just went over - it was a golden chance! As Jack Munns was awarded man of the match Dagenham had just three additional minutes to make sure Jack wasn't the only Daggers goalscorer of the afternoon but their hopes would soon be diminished. They would be diminished as Ben Nunn was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence after hacking Kosylo needlessly it has to be said. So as Dagenham looked to have one last throw of the dice they were down to ten men and before you knew it the ref had blown his whistle.
So it was a frustrating game for the home side in truth but given the circumstances it was a good point for Halifax Town who were reduced to ten men in the 35th minute. It's the FA Trophy next week and Dagenham will look to go on a cup run with their new and improved side they start with, former Daggers manager, Garry Hill's Ebbsfleet. COYD!