The Daggers slipped to a fourth successive defeat at the hands of Conference new
boys Burton Albion on Saturday. The result leaves last years runners-up
seriously adrift of the leaders already and is the worst run of results for the
club since 1998.
Daggers fielded a much changed team from the one embarrassed by Doncaster. Garry Hill gave Steve Potts (right) a debut
in defence and recalled Ross Johnson and Paul Bruce, both expected to miss the
game through injury and Mark Janney. Steve West and Danny Shipp dropped to the
bench, Shipp to make way for Junior McDougald, scorer of 4 for the reserves in
midweek. Danny Hayzelden, Steve McGavin and Steve Perkins all missed out
completely and Tony Roberts took the captain's armband.
The managers changes seemed to work well in the opening half. The Daggers
streamed forward, pressing the Brewers back and had a major breakthrough as
early as the third minute. After something of a scramble in the Burton area the
ball was hooked towards goal and struck the raised arm of Steve Evans (no not
that one). Referee Green pointed to the spot, waving away strong Burton
protests. Mark Stein stepped up to take the kick and struck his shot firmly to
keepers right but saw it crash back off the post and away to safety.
Despite the disappointment the Daggers continued to press Burton back,
spreading the ball and setting the forwards free in some of the better football
played this season so far. It seemed inevitable that the home team would take
the lead and sure enough in the 18th minute they did. Junior McDougald headed
Lee Goodwin's cross at the goal and Duke parried but only as far as Mark Stein
who nodded the ball home.
Shortly after Stein had another great attempt when he hooked a shot from the
edge of the area. It looked in all the way until Duke managed to tip it round
the post in what was an important save in the context of the match.
The Daggers continued to dominate the game up to the half time whistle
without creating another really clear cut chance with the visitors limited to a
couple of half chances from corners.
The second half was very different though. Whether player/manager Nigel Clough (right, taking on Lee Goodwin) fired his
team up or the Daggers backed off, the game had a completely different pattern
as the Brewers started to press the home team back.
The equaliser came in controversial style though, with the ball breaking
forward to two Burton forwards on the edge of the area in the 58th minute, both
of whom looked well offside. The flag didn't come though and Nigel Clough calmly
beat Tony Roberts.
Burton dominated the following exchanges having a series of corners as they
took the game to the home team. In the 65th minute Glasser's shot struck the post and was cleared
for a corner by Paul Terry who had to receive treatment. When the corner was
eventually taken by Aaron Webster it was missed by everyone and squeezed in at
the near post to give Burton the lead.
Garry Hill reacted by making wholesale changes to the team. In the 73rd
minute off went Bruce, Janney and Hill to be replaced by Steve West, Steve
Heffer and Danny Shipp. Nothing significantly changed though and despite
pressing forward it was still Burton that looked the most likely, Christian
Moore in particular a threat on the break.
The home crowd grew restless and for some unknown reason picked on Paul Terry
(left) as the target for booing at every touch. Exactly why Terry, a long
serving player who never gives less than his all to the cause, was picked on is
not clear. The boo boys don't help though and a team that is obviously
struggling needs support not to have one of its number singled out for abuse.
With just a minute remaining Lee Goodwin was carried off on a stretcher with what looked to be a bad foot injury to deepen the Daggers problems at the back and complete a thoroughly disappointing day.