Daggers last night moved level with Boston United at the top of the Nationwide
Conference following a gutsy display against relegation candidates, Stalybridge
The Victoria Road crowd witnessed a match that was, in
places, highly entertaining and in others, pretty dull. The most notable
part of the match was a Danny Hill (left) wonder goal that sealed the win just
before half time.
The match started with both sides feeling each other out to
some extent and the visitors had a significant amount of possession in the first
few minutes. Some awful defending in the makeshift backline allowed acres
of space for Sam Ayorinde to cross the ball to Ged Courtney who was totally
unmarked in the area and headed powerfully home.
stirred the home side into action and the Daggers found themselves back on level
terms within a minute. A great run from Danny Shipp saw him make lots of
headway into the centre of the Celtic defence before playing the ball out to
Matt Jones on the wing. Jones crossed the ball back into the area where
Junior McDougald (right) was on hand to head the ball into the corner of the net
beyond the reach of Leigh Walker.
With the Daggers backline looking anything but steady, the
visitors almost got back in front when, with twelve minutes gone, Ayorinde again
found space but was unable to get his shot on target.
The game then turned quite scrappy for a period with a number
of fouls going unpunished, although Stalybridge's Paul Beesley was cautioned for
Danny Hill free kick from 25 yards out went very close for the Daggers in the
33rd minute when his curling shot beat Walker only to fly just wide of the far
Chances came and went for the Daggers with McDougald, Stein
and Janney (left) all going close.
Then, four minutes from half time, Danny Hill scored a goal
which will remain long in the memory of those at the match. A Paul Terry
corner was headed clear, but only as far as Hill who lashed onto the ball from
around thirty yards out and it flew into the top right corner of the goal,
leaving the 'keeper with absolutely no chance. The goal earned a standing
ovation from the support and is a sure-fire contender for goal of the season.
The second half saw few chances for either side although Tony
Shandran headed wide for the visitors when unmarked in the box.
Daggers kept putting the pressure on the visitors in an obvious attempt to
relieve some of the pressure on their own defence.
Late in the game, a speculative shot from Jason Broom was
well held by Walker and a Danny Hazelden (right) cross almost led to a goal but
Beesley headed the ball out.
With Boston United only managing a scoreless draw against a weakened
Stevenage Borough side, the Daggers are now level on points with the Pilgrims
although the Lincolnshire outfit have a vastly superior goal difference.
The Daggers face Doncaster Rovers in another televised match at Victoria Road
on Friday with Boston facing a tricky trip to Leigh RMI on the Saturday.
Should either Boston or the Daggers win, then the title will definitely become a
two horse race with both Yeovil and Doncaster unable to catch the leaders.