Dagenham & Redbridge busted their losing streak last night with a 3-1 win
over struggling Kettering Town in a result that was eventually clear cut, after
a fiercely contested and open first half.
The Daggers welcomed back Lee Matthews after his knee injury that saw him
miss the whole of the 2001/02 season, and played with a back three of Vickers,
Potts and Matthews. Steve Heffer returned to start in midfield, Ross Johnson and
the injured Lee Goodwin being the players to drop out from Saturday's team.
With the infamous Mr Kettle offiiciating, the first yellow card came as early
as the 8th minute, Steve Heffer booked, the first of seven on the night, in a
game that was by no means nasty at all. Other Daggers to see Mr Kettle's card
were Mark Stein, Junior McDougald, and inevitably, Ashley Vickers.
The first footballing incident of note on the night was when Danny Hill had a
shot that smacked back off the post in the 10th minute after a good build up. Kettering's
Boston reject Gez Murphy then had a shot well saved by Tony Roberts and Mark
Stein was just over shortly after.
The Daggers had the best of the early exchanges though and a
fine move in the 21st minute completely opened up the Poppies defence, slick
passing eventually resulting in a cross to Paul Terry (right) who headed home. Terry,
the subject of mindless abuse by a section of the crowd on Saturday looked to
enjoy milking his moment, and had another chance just a minute later, this shot
being more typically dragged wide.
Kettering came back at the Daggers though and looked threatening. From one
break in the 28th minute it looked like they were through on goal only for that
man Paul Terry to get in a great tackle. Unfortunately the ball broke to the
Poppies Danny Walsh and he had the simplest of tasks to beat Robbo and even the
Both sides had good chances after that, the Daggers going close through Steve
Heffer and Junior McDougald before in the 41st minute Danny Hill's cross-shot
was turned in by Mark Stein. Stein (left, with Junior) should have had another shortly after but hit
the post with just the keeper to beat.
As the half ended the Poppies top scorer form 2001/02 Dale Watkins was
carried off to be replaced by another Boston reject David Town and then their
other main striker, Murphy failed to take the field for the second half. As a
result of losing their first choice strike force Kettering's threat was somewhat
muted in the second period and it seemed like only a matter of time before the
Daggers made the game safe.
Danny Hill went close with a shot from the edge of the area before the
breakthrough came. Junior McDougald was clearly held by Craig Norman and Mr
Kettle pointed to the spot. To Junior's credit he immediately took
responsibility for the penalty himself (right) and after the last two had been missed
this one found the back of the net, albeit after Ian Bowling got a hand to the
spot-kick which was firmly struck to his right..
The Daggers looked for more and had several chances that went close as they
dominated the remainder of the game, Mark Stein unlucky with a shot on the turn
in particular late on.
Lee Matthews was replaced by Steve West to a rousing ovation in the 77th
minute and it was a much happier Daggers crowd that applauded the team on their
"disrespectful lap of honour" (left) as the game ended.
The result sees the Daggers shoot up the table to 7th and with all of the top
five only drawing the Conference looks like being very tight this season.
With nine games having been played by most sides now Morecambe in 6th have 13
points, just one win ahead of Leigh RMI with 10 points in 19th place.
There is a long way to go yet.