The Daggers escaped with a point from a game that they struggled throughout to control when Hayes beanpole 'keeper Bertrand Bossu was sent off in the 67th minute of the game. Up to that point it had been another "up and under" performance which few of the team came out of with credit.
The first half was less than riveting viewing for the Victoria Road crowd, the first serious effort on goal by the home team not coming until the 27th minute when Mark Stein (right) screwed a shot across the face of the goal. Matt Jones found himself with acres of space in the 42nd minute but rather strangely decided to try to chip the keeper, who stands over 6 foot 6 inches and caught the ball with ease.
It was goalless at half time but for once the tea and chat with Garry Hill did not see the team return with any extra conviction. In fact it was Hayes that took the initiative when Dean Clark wriggled past a couple of players on the right and crossed for Mark Molesey to head the visitors in front, which they probably deserved to that point.
The Daggers began to press forward and switched to 3-4-3 when Junior McDougald and Paul Terry replaced Steve West and Steve Heffer in the 55th minute as Garry Hill pushed his side forward for the much needed win. McDougald caused Hayes a lot of problems with his running and in the 67th minute was at the centre of the incident that changed the game.
As he ran past two defenders Bossu came out of his goal and threw himself onto the ball at least 4 yards outside the area. The referee had no option but to send Bossu off (left) despite lengthy protests from half the Hayes team. With no substitute keeper on the bench loan signing Anthony Charles took the gloves and was immediately beaten when Matt Jones took the free kick chipped over the wall to Paul Terry who deflected the ball in.
The Daggers steamed forward looking for the win but could not beat Charles again, in fact he pulled off two wonderful saves, one from his own defender and one from a Mark Stein effort.
The final indignity came when the referee blew for full time after playing just 2 minutes over when the fourth official had signalled 4 minutes. Most of the crowd had thought 4 was low after 5 substitutions and a lengthy stoppage for the sending off incident (the BBC ticker shows the sending off at 66:24 and the goal from the resulting free kick at 68:45). Garry Hill (right) came on to the pitch to protest to the referee as the crowd vented its anger but it was all over and another costly 2 points dropped at home.
The Daggers are now level with Boston on points having played the same number of games and second on goal difference (30 to 19).
Saturday's trip to Yeovil Town now looks an even bigger game for the Daggers with Boston United not playing until the Monday night, live on Sky TV. An in form Yeovil will catch the long time top two if they win it. The only germ of encouragement to Dagenham & Redbridge fans is that the teams away form is significantly better than the lacklustre home form.