Whatever the Daggers manager Garry Hill had said about the FA Umbro Trophy being a priority this season, either his players did not agree, or the words had been for show only as the Daggers went through the motions in going out of the competition on Saturday.
The side showed a number of changes with welcome returns from injury for Mark Stein
(right) and Matt Jones. Ashley Vickers played despite an obvious head wound which had been sustained in the "friendly" game between the squad last Tuesday. Tim Cole was on the bench and came on as a second half substitute. Missing were Ken Charlery, serving a one match suspension, Mark Smith and Lee Goodwin (rested) and Junior McDougald who was a non-playing substitute.
The Daggers lined up 3-5-2 but despite their numerical advantage in midfield never really looked like dominating that area. Paul Terry, Steve Heffer and Danny Hill (left) were mostly bypassed in a game effected by a strong wind by balls hit long. Telford also succumbed to the temptation to bang the ball upfield and the game as a result was less than inspiring to watch.
Mark Stein had a couple of chances early in the game including a header flashed just
wide of the net before Telford took the lead in the 32nd minute with their first serious chance of the game when a corner from the Daggers left was headed down and Peter Smith found enough time to turn and smash the ball high into the goal past Tony Roberts. While this was disappointing it had its compensations as my son had the correct golden goal ticket!!
The Bucks almost increased their lead shortly before half time when Smith broke into the area and forced a fine stop from Tony Roberts. The ball seemed to be still going in though until Mark Rooney just managed to get there to clear off the line at the expense of a corner.
After half time things did not change too much as the Daggers still were rather half hearted. Garry Hill tried to shake things up a little with a double substitution on 56 minutes, Jason Broom and Steve McGavin replacing Terry and Heffer and this immediately had an effect, Broom going on a fine run that ended with a trip. The resulting free kick (right) was right in McGavin's range but he rather disappointingly failed to beat the wall.
Straight after this though, in the 62nd minute, the Bucks put the result beyond serious doubt when Tony Roberts made a complete hash of a straightforward clearance from Jim Rodwell's pass back, slicing the ball across his own penalty area to Mark Quayle who could not believe his luck and had the simplest of tasks to sidefoot the ball into the empty net. Robbo's kicking all day left a lot to be desired, but in the end we can be grateful that this happened in this match and not a Conference fixture.
The Daggers huffed and puffed after this but never looked seriously like getting back into the game. Tim Cole replaced Mark Rooney on 67 minutes and managed to get himself a yellow card late in the game when he lost control and decided to clatter the Telford winger who picked the ball up as a result out of frustration. Ashley Vickers (right) also picked up a card for a rash challenge and DiggerDagger believes this means a two match suspension for him.
Towards the end of the game Mark Stein managed to get the ball in the net after a goalmouth scramble, but the whistle had long since gone. The crowd trickled to the exits long before the end of the 90 minutes and most were hoping that this was a "planned" exit rather than the true form of the home side. We will find out very soon in the televised Conference fixture with Stevenage Borough.