HATTERS EDGE IT AT EDGELEY
It was a bitterly cold November afternoon in Stockport and The Daggers arrived in good time - two hours ahead of kick off. The rearranged fixture was the only one in the National League yesterday as other clubs were in FA Cup action.
The game got underway and the first throw in came within seconds as is usual for The Daggers. Although it wasn’t them who had the first chance, Devante Rodney fired his effort towards Elliot Justham, but it was an easy save for the goalkeeper.
Minutes later Grant looked to go one better and get an early goal for the away side but he gave away a foul on the break - frustrating. Minihan was identified as a threat early on but Luque did well to block his cross for a corner. Another corner followed after a deflected shot went behind but it was headed harmlessly over by the hosts.
The ball flew into the Daggers dugout and Glen Johnson got the touch. The goalkeeping coach, who like all, expressed his delight on the contract extension of Elliot Justham. There was little to get excited about in the first ten minutes however with neither side going all out early on.
Quigley spun away and made space, but his effort was blocked for the Daggers’ first corner of the game - it was defended well. The target man was getting on the ball well early on as the away side looked to break - though another one of his efforts went just off target.
Brundle seemed to be making a positive impact early on as he battled hard in the midfield. But another man making a positive impact was Minihan for the home side who won a free kick - in a dangerous position it was. Onariase was alert to clear behind the inviting ball; it could have ended a lot worse for Dagenham.
Devante Rodney looked to get in on the action as a penetrating ball put the attacker in on goal - Justham was equal to it. The Hatters defence seemed to have fixed up and the midfield had tightened as Dagenham were struggling to break.
The Hatters nearly got in front on two separate occasions also as firstly Mulhern found space in the area before Justham was called into action. The latter saw the man who has committed his future to the club deny Walker from an acute angle.
A good couple of moments came fir Taylor’s men as McQueen led the break; Quigley got a shot away that produces a corner. Hinchcliffe was forced into an incredible acrobatic save from the corner that followed as that man Joe Quigley produced a rocket! Somehow the scores remained level - so close.
The opposition didn’t quite test Justham as Quigley did with Hinchcliffe; Mulhern took aim but his effort rippled the side netting for a goal kick. County won a corner through Thomas but it came to nothing as the score remained level.
Frustration came from the dugout as Taylor instructed the defence to tighten up - too casual at defending those corners. Up the other end Taylor was almost celebrating as Quigley again looked to put Dagenham ahead - his deceivingly good effort nearly sailed into the top corner!
That was the last action of the half and despite both sides coming close - the deadlock was yet to be broken at Edgeley Park. Taylor will no doubt have continued his lecture on defensive shape in the dressing room at half time. Meanwhile, everyone was left pondering just how Joe Quigley hadn’t found the net - was he going to in the next 45 minutes.
Matt Robinson jeered the Daggers up as the teams re-entered the pitch - a Daggers win was very much needed. Play resumed and the home side had the lion’s share of chances early on though they were half-hearted. The first saw Mulhern get in behind but Justham read it well; the second saw Stevenson called upon to make an important block behind for a corner.
After a rather uneventful opening 10 minutes in the second 45, Justham nearly got an assist as he found Grant. However the number 14 couldn’t find the net as he did against Solihull - his touch let him down.
An individual in the back line was called upon yet again and this time it was Manny Onariase who got across to stop Thomas in his tracks. The Daggers went on the offensive moments later after good counter-attacking play but the move broke down as calls for a penalty were dismissed.
That nearly proved ever so costly as Mulhern looked to make it 1-0 but he fired his effort over from close range - so close! On that note, the forward was replaced by Nyal Bell who looked to break the deadlock at Edgeley Park. Taylor then opted for his first change as Chike Kandi replaced Reece Grant.
The hosts looked the most likely to take the lead with 20 minutes remaining with as a hatful of chances came for the Hatters. Firstly, they won a corner which resulted in an inviting delivery being punched away well by Justham. Minutes later the home side came even closer as a long range shot rattled the crossbar - Gannon’s side were inches away.
Taylor chose pace over technical ability late on as Joan Luque made way for Graham - The Daggers desperate for victory. Alex McQueen looked to find that goal as Kandi played him through but his effort was blocked at the last moment!
Arthur looked to send the home support into jubilation but his flick from a corner went off target. The last action of the ninety minutes came and went for The Daggers as they broke; Kandi couldn’t latch on to a promising through ball.
There were four minutes added on as it remained 0-0 at Edgeley Park - something had to give... And it did! County won a corner and this time the home support were definitely jubilant as substitute Bell nodded home! Despair for The Daggers but delight for Stockport as they had nicked the winner at the death.
So, an extremely frustrating afternoon up north for The Daggers as their record now shows just 1 win in 8. Pressure has mounted on the manager as the backlash from supporters intensifies. They have to get back on track in front of the owners at home to Aldershot - that is a must.
I very much hope they do get back on track but for now.
Thanks for reading,