DAGGERS REMAIN UNBEATEN
The Daggers made the long trip to Torquay yesterday in the hope of extending their unbeaten run to eight - preferably with victory. Their opponents and hosts The Gulls sat in 10th going into the match off the back of defeat to Chesterfield.
Oddly Plainmoor had their floodlights on from the off as it was an overcast afternoon in Torquay. The Daggers sported their white home shirt on the South West coast as the home side word traditional gold.
The game got underway and Gary Johnson’s men began the brighter as Onariase did well to head a dangerous cross from Wynter behind. Joe Lewis flashed a shot wide for Torquay from the resulting corner.
The Gulls started better switching the play from flank to flank but Dagenham were soon at it up the other end. A great ball from Dobson found Quigley on the edge of the area. The forward saw his effort blocked and cleared away.
With a brief lull in play Gary Johnson provided the only entertainment controlling the ball as it came to him. That was enjoyed by home supporters after their side had made a fairly positive start to the match.
Lumbombo-Kalala flashed an effort wide after a free-kick from the home side but all in all it was a rather stop-start beginning to the match - throw ins galore early on.
When it did get to him Joe Quigley was winning the lion’s share of aerial duels early on; these knock downs didn’t create much. Neither side created much in truth as moves constantly broke down in the final third for both sides.
The Home support turned up the volume on the 30th minute urging their side to get themselves in front just before half time. The Daggers didn’t pose much threat up the other end as Balanta was unable to find his creative spark - surprisingly.
The end to end action came going into the break as both Keepers were involved late in the half. Though Dobson didn’t test Cavagnari as Luque released him after a menacing run, but the left-footed effort was easily gathered by the Keeper.
Torquay broke up the other end, as Clark got down well to head away; the resulting corner eventually fell to Kalala. He skipped by several Dagenham men before Justham got down to gather - too easy for the hosts.
The Daggers netted moments later on the stroke of half time as Phipps headed onto Balanta with the forward finding the back of the net. However, Phipps was adjudged to have fouled his man in the build up ultimately going into the book. Robinson went into the book in what was the last action of the half though it was harsh - both midfielders were now into the book so they had to be careful.
The teams went into the break on level terms with Taylor most probably wanting his side to have tightened up at the back. Also, possibly creating more chances was a topic of conversation; The Daggers hadn’t created as many clear cut chances as they had in previous performances.
One change for the visitors as the second half got underway as Joe Lewis was replaced - Johnson opted for a back four. The back four of Dagenham were the ones under threat early on but ultimately did well successfully playing the offside trap.
The man between the sticks for Torquay was called upon on 53 minutes having to pull off an athletic save to deny Dobson from 25 yards. As The Daggers looked in the ascendency Taylor looked to impact the game replacing Spaniard Luque with pacy Bagasan Graham.
The substitute made an instant impact just like at Victoria Road as he floated the ball into Phipps - his effort went for a corner. The resulting corner saw James Dobson whip in an inviting ball which that man Harry Phipps got on the end of - hitting the bar!
The Daggers’ No.16 soon went into the referee’s book after fouling Vincent who was on the break - him and Robinson were now carded. Dagenham seemed to lose their shape for a couple of minutes as The Gulls’ half time substitute continued to effect the game - Keating. Luke Croll did fantastically to tackle the forward who had advanced into the area to keep the score level.
After receiving treatment following a clash with the keeper Phipps, despite trying to continue, was forced off seeing the return of Harold Odametey. There seemed to be a lull in play following the injury as the 73rd minute loomed and 81 travelling supporters was announced.
Just as Onariase made it a hat trick of Daggers players to enter the book for a tangle of legs with Keating - Balanta looked to take the lead. The Colombian got his shot away but Cavagnari read it well and it was time for Grant to be introduced to the field of play.
Joe Quigley made way for the striker after a fairly decent display that saw him win some good headers in the air but not threaten the Keeper. Taylor’s men pushed for a breakthrough with eighty minutes on the clock Balanta tested Cavagnari following a corner. Dobson did the same after good link up play with Grant forcing a save - Dagenham were mounting the pressure.
Looking to get back into the game for one last push were the hosts but Justham caught a long range effort with ease - the home fans were doing their bit. Andrews tried his luck after Clark conceded a set piece in a dangerous position and The Daggers were saved by the woodwork - he rattled the bar!
After no action in the final three additional minutes Russell blew his whistle for full time at Plainmoor. The full time whistle prompted action though - an altercation between Manny Onariase and Keating who had been at it since The Gulls man came on at the break.
All in all, I feel it was a good point for The Daggers at a difficult place to go; but it does put Taylor’s men under pressure going into the encounter at Gander Green Lane. The positives from today though were a clean sheet and extending an unbeaten run to eight - for that I’m happy.
Thanks for reading,