Point gained; Opportunity missed?
Today The Daggers made the 168 mile round trip to The Proact stadium in search of all three points. Taylor eyed maximum points, as he said at the Fans’ Forum he wanted 16 points from August but we were on 10 going into this one - so a win was the only option. The home side were without a win and with a couple of injuries; starting with 5 centre backs was also less than ideal. The Daggers got the game underway in Chesterfield but it was the hosts who started the brighter of the two sides winning a free kick early on.
Taylor’s XI: Gordon’s start pleased many as well as Luque’s return to the starting XI
That free kick was conceded by Clark who went through the back of Fondop but the free kick came to nothing. The pressure hadn’t gone away as Onariase did well to clear; it was a frantic start from Dagenham who couldn’t keep hold of the ball. Captain Kenny didn’t make the best of starts as he conceded another free kick moments later but the effort was matched by an even better save by Justham - excellent as always.
A first real attack came for Dagenham as Luque drove forward with the ball and Gordon steaming forward without it, however it ended in the hands of the Keeper. Another Luque inspired attack came a couple of minutes later but Quigley couldn’t get on the end of the Spaniard’s ball. It was a classic away team display early on with infrequent counter attacks.
The Spireites’ alternative tactic was introduced the 25 minute mark as they pumped it forward to Fondop but Clark and Manny dealt with it well. Despite Chesterfield’s tactic meaning the midfield was rather inactive Harry Phipps was competing well when the ball was in the middle of the park.
The first man to go into the book was Fondop who left one on Onariase who cleared as the striker maintained the pressure. The game began to open up as Maguire and Gordon looked to get forward; with the latter cutting in and putting a dangerous ball into the box that was eventually cleared. The Daggers began to get onto the ball more as the game opened up with McQueen trying his luck after good play from Balanta and Quigley.
Balanta was creating again and that creativity soon led to a goal as that man Joan Luque netted following an interchange of passes on the edge. As they had now again gone behind with Joan Luque putting it beyond debutant Coddington the atmosphere quietened in the ground as frustration grew.
Both sides continued to attack as the game remained open with Dagenham having a 1-0 advantage. Fondop-Talom was denied an equaliser by the linesmen just before the break as he was a bit too eager to get in behind. Quigley was denied by the foot of Coddington before Luque’s effort was turned behind by the palm of Chesterfield’s No.12.
Aaron Jackson signalled for half time after what was a good half for The Daggers - well at least the last 15 minutes. It was a half that the away side grew into and they looked threatening towards the end, consequently scoring a goal. For the home side it was a solid yet very frustrating half as they controlled the majority of it but conceded on the 35th minute having not taken their chances.
The sides were back out for the second half and it was Dagenham who started on the front foot. Joe Quigley won an early free-kick, which McQueen took, finding Luque who did well to win a corner. Quigley seemed to be making an improved performance on one you would see him make at the start of the campaign - more involved.
Onariase headed wide from the resulting corner, unlike on Monday, and Chesterfield were soon up the other end but the attackers got back to defend well. Luque and Balanta were the ones who blocked and cleared the ball as they looked to counter in what was proving to be an end to end half.
Quigley again proved his worth, holding up the ball well before offloading it to McQueen who saw his well struck cross cleared behind. This attacking play prompted Sheridan to change his tactical approach as he brought on forward Mandeville in place of midfielder Weir looking to find a way back into the contest.
Another substitution followed and Sheridan’s men began to see more of the ball calling Justham into action to punch the ball clear. McGlashan looked to break away but was pulled back for handling the ball as frustration grew once again within the Proact.
After a brief spell without the ball Dagenham were back on top with a couple of dangerous attacks. The first saw Balanta, Quigley and Gordon link up well before Joan Luque tested the Keeper from long range. The second was more of a half chance as the ball was worked well but neither Quigley or Gordon tried their luck.
Play seemed to be working in three minute spells as both sides continued to throw caution to the wind - it was Chesterfield’s turn. They managed to get in behind causing Alex McQueen to conceded a corner which came to nothing. The Daggers seemed to be doing well withstanding the pressure as they cleared the ball following good play from the hosts.
However, they could withstand the pressure no longer as Maguire was simply given too much time out on the wing and his cross was headed home by Fondop. Yet another header had been conceded and another aerial battle had been lost as Mike Fondop-Talom levelled.
As Chesterfield looked for a second Taylor made a change replacing Gordon with Wright reverting to a back four like at Victoria Road. Captain Clark was on hand to relieve the pressure with just twelve minutes remaining, he played the ball calmly back to Justham after Fondop troubled Manny. Up the other end, Dagenham attacked as they looked to restore their lead but cut backs from Luque and crosses from Wright just weren’t coming off.
A second change came for The Daggers with Joe Quigley making way for Grant as Taylor opted for pace over power - in a bid to get in behind. Reece did just that within a minute of coming on as he latched onto a through ball and cut inside but his shot was blocked. The away side pushed and pushed late on and a glorious opportunity arose as McQueen’s header was tipped over!
That proved to be the last clear cut chance for Dagenham as the fourth official indicated there would be a minimum of four additional minutes. A few set pieces came Chesterfield’s way late on with Maguire heading over. However, there was little in the way of last minute action and the game ended all square.
Overall, I feel it was a good point on the road for Dagenham but like many feel it may have been a wasted opportunity. Despite some negativity over the draw on the whole I feel it was a solid display that just lacked some quality in front of goal. These draws do put pressure on the side winning at home as we look ahead to the game in front of the BT Sport cameras on Wednesday. But I’m hopeful that the home support will get us over the line in that one.
Thanks for reading,
Keane COYD 💙❤️⚔️