The Daggers last night overcame a
resilient Stevenage Borough side to restore their 6 point lead at the top of the Nationwide Conference.
Starting the match with Stein and Charlery (right) leading the attack, it was clear from the outset that it was going to be a tough match. The opening exchanges were very scrappy with neither side able to settle into any sort of rhythm. The first chances of the night fell to the hosts with Jean Michel Sigere and Martin
Williams putting a threat on Tony Roberts' goal.
This seemed to raise the visitors a little and a number of chances to put the Daggers in front came and went with Lee Goodwin, Mark Stein and Paul Terry all going close.
The visitors' best chance of the opening period being cleared off the line.
With half time approaching, it looked like being scoreless until on 39 minutes, a pinpoint cross from former Boro' player, Dean Hooper found Mark Stein
(left) who turned in the box and rifled the ball into the back of the net.
Just before the break, Boro' almost grabbed an equaliser when Jason Goodliffe found himself in space at close range but his shot flew over the bar.
At half-time, Wayne Turner, the Boro' manager, brought on Kirk Jackson and it was Jackson who seemed to have levelled the scores five minutes into the second half, only to see his effort ruled out for offside, much to the vocal annoyance of the partisan home support.
Stevenage were certainly having more of the play in the second half with the Daggers seemingly happy to sit back and soak up the pressure. Sigere and Jackson both went close for Boro' before they finally got the equaliser that their pressure deserved with fifteen minutes left on the clock.
An injury to Danny Shipp saw the ball go out for a Stevenage throw. Before the referee had a chance to signal the physio to come on, Boro' had taken the throw and some desperate defending saw the ball go out for a corner. Once Shipp had received attention, a
succession of corners for the home side led to Sigere firing home to level the scores.
The home side didn't have long to celebrate, however, as the goal stunned the visitors into action and less than two minutes later, the Daggers were back in front. A long ball through the middle found Stein who shrugged off a strong challenge from former Dagger, John Hamsher and looped the ball over Dean Greygoose in the Boro' goal.
The dust had barely settled when the Daggers added their third, 8 minutes from time to secure all three points. A free kick in the corner was taken well by Paul Terry
(left) and headed home from close range by Mark Stein to complete his second hat trick
of the season.
The Daggers then took full control of the match and, after bringing on Mark Rooney in the 88th minute, they very nearly added a fourth. From a corner, some superb interplay between Rooney and Junior McDougald led to a shot which was well saved by
All told, this was a much better performance from the Daggers and one which
should help build confidence going into the last twelve matches.
Performances of particular note came from Danny Shipp, Mark Smith and, of
course, Mark Stein.
1 Dean Greygoose|
2 John Hamsher
3 Jason Goodliffe
4 Robin Trott
5 Louis Riddle
6 Jude Stirling
7 Scott Houghton
8 Martin Williams
9 Jamie Campbell (off 64 mins)
10 Darren Hay (off 46 mins)
11 Jean-Michel Sigere
12 Adrian Clarke (on 64 mins)
14 Kirk Jackson (on 46 mins)
15 Sam Sodje
16 Paul Wilkerson
18 Paul Sturgess
1 Tony Roberts
2 Dean Hooper
3 Lee Goodwin
4 Mark Smith
5 Ashley Vickers
6 Paul Terry
7 Steve Heffer
8 Matt Jones (off 48 mins)
9 Danny Shipp (off 88 mins)
10 Ken Charlery (off 64 mins)
11 Mark Stein
12 Mark Rooney (on 88 mins)
14 Junior McDougald (on 64 mins)
15 Jason Broom (on 48 mins)
16 Danny Hill
18 Paul Gothard (GK)