JUSTHAM SALVAGES POINT
The Daggers faced Lancashire side Chorley for the first time yesterday - a struggling Chorley side at that. However, the visitors had been unlucky, with six draws from their 13 games showing they aren’t out of their depth.
Dagenham, on the other hand, were well on their way to landing a play off spot without a defeat in nine. Taylor’s men went into this one off the back of a sound 2-0 victory as they looked to make it ten unbeaten. That is what they were expected to do; picking up three points in the process.
The home side got the game underway after the sides switched ends and it was a rather slow start to the match. The main talking point of the first ten minutes was Clark’s knock to the head that saw him receive treatment in the physio room. Meanwhile, The Daggers were down to ten for around seven minutes so expectedly Chorley were on top.
They were on top but by no means threatening with half hearted efforts from Nortey and Massanka early on. Captain Kenny soon returned to the field of play to a huge round of applause - with his head bandaged.
The re-introduction of Clark seemed to get the hosts going with nice play from the likes of McQueen and Quigley. Although it looked from the outset there would be a lack of quality in the final third and those chances proved just that - Joe’s effort in particular went sky high.
It wasn’t long before Taylor’s men were at it again winning a corner this time, but Balanta’s eventual shot dragged wide. The frustration came for Dagenham as Chorley’s backline was certainly not the most mobile yet the home side’s pace failed to break them down!
After a rather uneventful ten minutes Clark was ultimately forced off through injury being replaced by young Liam Gordon as Croll moved to centre half. Liam made a quick impact providing a second attacking threat down the left; his first involvement saw him rifle an effort into the side netting.
Dagenham’s spell was soon interrupted by Dodds’ effort up the other end as it sailed over - looked a lot closer than it was. That spell continued for Taylor’s men with Chorley camped in their own half but they weren’t in any way making real use of possession.
Balls were being cut out well and the visitors were also strong in the tackle - all in all they defended well. A rather peculiar challenge came before the break as Walters laid down on the ground and used head to win it back.
Two chances came in quick succession before the whistle was blown with Luque involved on two occasions. The first saw the Spaniard drift inside and curl his effort over and the second saw him play a perfect diagonal ball however McQueen failed to control it.
Overall, it was a rather quiet half in what was a stop-start first 45 minutes. It was clear to see The Daggers weren’t at the races with players such as Balanta, Luque and Dobson not quite finding their creative sparks. On the other hand, Chorley would have been content with this scoreline going into the break and their game management (time wasting) was going to be key.
The visitors got the second half underway and there was end to end drama within three minutes with Justham called into action first. The Daggers No.1 was forced into a save with his feet after Massanka rocketed his effort on goal. Moments later Wright (who was making his 50th appearance in a Daggers shirt) found himself in the opposition box with just the Keeper to beat - he was denied a goal!
The end to end action continued with Justham palming a troublesome shot over the bar; that was just minutes prior to Quigley being denied at the far post. Yet to find a breakthrough, The Daggers were forced to defend for the next five minutes with Croll doing the majority of the tackling.
Anger soon grew in the crowd as they cheered what was a great challenge by Dagenham’s No.5 however Croll was booked for the tackle! Taylor’s men weren’t showing the clinical finishing they were capable of as Onariase this time saw his header stray wide.
One man who did net on Tuesday was Reece Grant and he soon replaced Dobson - looking to make it two in two. Things then boiled over in front of the Sieve as Blakeman shoved Wright off the ball - receiving a booking! After tempers then returned to simmering before again they boiled over as Croll was dismissed.
Just like he had done ten minutes earlier the defender won the ball cleanly before getting the player - he was again booked! This caused uproar, as you can imagine, but that soon turned into delight as Justham got right down to his left denying Walters from twelve yards.
The dismissal prompted Taylor to react as he replaced Luque with Harold Odametey seeing McQueen move to right back and Wright centre half. The game had turned and The Daggers were now content with seeing out the game but this was difficult without their leader and organiser Clark.
Grant continued in his pursuit for a winner but he wasn’t allowed the room as Chorley went on the offensive against ten men. Newby scuffed a shot in the Daggers area and Justham gathered it with ease - happy to take his time. Reece Grant then had another shot blocked as we entered additional time.
The last action of the game was the very last touch as Balanta nodded towards goal from a McQueen delivery; only for the Keeper to save on the line! As the whistle blew boos rang around Victoria Road not because of the performance but at the appalling ref!
Though that is another reason why we need to get into the football league and currently The Daggers are in a strong position to do so. After yesterday’s match between Halifax and Dover Taylor’s men moved up to fifth so a victory over Barnet is what is needed to cement that position.
Thanks for reading