Disjointed Daggers Defeated

There was an unbeaten run to uphold against some familiar faces when Dagenham faced Barnet who sat 10th in the league. The Bees were also searching for three points to maintain their push for the play-offs and they new they were up against a tough, in - form Dagenham side. Despite having that confidence from their unbeaten the hosts didn't want to become complacent as they looked to continue their surge up the table. Looking at the teams, a notable absence for the home side was midfield maestro Jack Munns who has proved vital in recent weeks, this is evidenced by a string of Man of the Match performances. Peter Taylor was no doubt thinking about New Years Day at Orient as he looked to do the double over them with the team selection.

The Daggers got the game underway with Tony Roberts watching on the legendary Daggers keeper but it wasn't them who had the first opportunity of the game as Shaquile Coulthirst dragged his effort wide which didn't trouble Justham. The visitors had the lions share of possession however neither side managed to fashion any chances early on with spells of possession ultimately ending up with the ball being passed out of play. Onariase conceded a free kick in a dangerous position early but it led to the same result as many of the moves from Barnet early on - it went out of play. Up the other end The Daggers managed to win a free kick in the opposition half despite being under the cosh and Harfield's cross was met by Balanta but it was headed wide.

Neither keeper had much to do early on, so little that Tony Roberts wouldn't have seemed out of place on the Victoria Road pitch. Dagenham's defenders were doing their part with Clark making solid challenges and coming out withe ball as well as Ben Goodliffe being dominant in the air. However Nunn proved to slow for former Dagger Medy Elito this saw him yellow carded for a foul on the Barnet man but that free kick was no different to the others. Charlee Adams another familiar face at Victoria Road got off the first real chance of the half as he hit a half volley on the edge but that didn't cause any problems for The Daggers No.1 who made a routine save.

Another reason you could give for Dagenham being under the cosh was their style of play which showed Munns was a big miss on the pitch not just on paper. The Daggers reverted to long balls over the top which were not being won by Wilkinson but Barnet's No.26 Dan Sweeney, without Munns Dagenham just had no flow in their play. Finally Cousins (Dagenham's player of the season last season) now Barnet's No.1, was tested by the home side's only real creative spark Angelo Balanta after he won the ball back for his side but it had no real power. That man was played through again and this time he got the better of Cousins and chipped it over him McQueen style but The Bees' back line were saved by the linesman's flag.

Jack Taylor was played through up the other end as the Barnet fans held their breath but much to his and the travelling supporters' frustration he was pulled up for handball. That frustration soon turned into jubilation though as Nunn conceded a corner that was eventually turned in by Coulthirst who got the last touch - it was a scrappy goal in truth that really reflected how the first half had gone. The Daggers looked for an instant response with Balanta at the heart of it as he found himself one on one with Cousins after skipping past two defenders, however Cousins is great in those situations and he was great in that one denying Balanta.

The Daggers were having a good spell before half time but just couldn't find a goal as Wilkinson made his way into the box before being booked for a dive. Going into the dressing room at half time neither side had looked to dangerous and you felt it was there for the taking however Taylor would have to make changes. Peter Taylor did just that replacing the already booked Ben Nunn with Lamar Reynolds in a clear attacking decision making a statement that he wanted all three points. The visitors got the second half underway and Dagenham started the way they ended the first half as Barnet began to sit back allowing the hosts to play. Wilkinson got a shot off as his side looked for a quick equaliser but he couldn't find the net.

Substitute Reynolds this time saw himself one on one but as with Balanta Cousins pounced on it though unlike Balanta Lamar had the option to square the ball and if he had done so the sides may have been on level terms. The chances of The Daggers getting something out of the game were nearly distinguished soon after as a dangerous ball into the box was impressively headed away by the diving Kenny Clark. That man Clark was determined for Barnet not to double their lead as he did superbly yet again to this time deny Coulthirst from getting another with a great challenge. Dagenham just weren't thorough enough in their passing as they were being misplaced and intercepted in the final third.

After Kenny Clark stopped a counter attack with another crunching challenge, the hosts nearly got back on level terms with what was a golden opportunity but substitute Shamir Mullings glanced a close range header over! Both sides were still pushing for a goal so as Dagenham looked for an equaliser they were left vulnerable at the back, this showed as Justham was forced to get down well and make what wasn't the easiest of saves. Time was running out for The Daggers who just never looked like scoring and the fans seemed to have had lost all hope as it felt like we were taken back to August. The last chance of the game came as Shamir Mullings rose highest but again it had no power and this time it was straight at Cousins.

As the referee blew the full time whistle there was of course disappointment but encouragement and applause as the home team did a lap of honour. The Daggers' unbeaten run has ended but they can start a new run on New Years Day as they face Orient with hopefully a fully fit and full strength XI. COYD!


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