The Daggers shuffled the pack again on Saturday at Hereford, bringing In John
Keeling for his debut at the expense of Paul Bruce, and playing Steve West up
front alongside Mark Stein. With Ashley Vickers suspended Mark Smith made a
welcome return in a back three with Keeling and Rooney playing wing-backs.
The first half was comfortable for the Daggers with Hereford restricted to
shots from distance mostly although Paul Parry did have a half chance from a
narrow angle that was saved by Tony Roberts.
Paul Terry and John Keeling had chances to score for the Daggers before they
did take the lead in the 41st minute. West and Mark Stein combined in text
book fashion when West won a header and when Stein chested the flick back into
his path 25 yards out, West slammed the shot past Baker in the Hereford goal.
The Daggers will have enjoyed the half time tea more than the home side, but
it wasn't to last as Hereford scored twice in the space of two minutes, both
goals courtesy of defensive errors. The first was a team effort with Lee
Matthews and Mark Rooney (right) both having chances to clear the ball before Michael
Rose found Steve Guinan on the far post for a tap in.
The second was down to Steve Potts
(left) who instead of clearing hesitated letting
Paul Parry in who slipped the ball across to Danny Williams for a tap in.
Having let the lead slip it never looked likely that the Daggers would find a
way back although Danny Hill did have a goalbound shot blocked on the six yard
line. A flurry of late substitutions failed to change the course of the game and
Hereford ran out winners.
The result drops the Daggers into the midst of the bottom half of the table,
in 14th place and for the second year running it is a defeat at Edgar Street
that puts paid to the Daggers title ambitions. Last time round that defeat was
in April though, not October. The Daggers have now lost more games in the first
two months of the season than they did in the whole of 2001/02.
With the play-offs in operation this time around though 5th place will be
enough to give the Daggers a shot at promotion, and that is not out of sight yet
by a long way. They do have to work on concentrating for all 90 minutes though
and, worryingly, on their overall fitness.
At the top of the table Yeovil thrashed Southport 6-0 to stamp their
intentions on the title race and both Chester and Doncaster also won. At the
bottom Kettering lost to Telford to leave them in all sorts of trouble already
while Woking managed to bust their seven game losing streak earning a home draw
with Burton Albion just in time for their visit to Victoria Road on Tuesday.