The Daggers and Doncaster Rovers dished up another classic at Victoria Road on
Saturday, not the tight sort of match seen previously when the Rovers have come
to play, but an open attacking game with six goals.
The Daggers went back to a back four bringing in Ashley Vickers for Mark
Smith and pulling Steve Heffer (left) back to right back. Otherwise the team was the
same one that played at Crawley. Gary Fletcher, back from Orient on a second
period on loan took a place on the bench.
The game was competitive throughout, and on several occasions threatened to
go beyond that into nastiness, yet Referee Lee Probert only booked three from
each side as he struggled to keep control. It could have easily been
9 or 10 a side at the end.
Doncaster fullback Simon Marples was carried off on a stretcher as early as
the 9th minute, but despite this it was the visitors that took the lead just 2
minutes later. Steve Heffer made a hash of a simple clearance, giving away a
silly corner and as so often seems to happen it was costly. The ball was headed
back at the far post by Albrighton and Paul Barnes finished well.
The Daggers roared back though. Junior McDougald
(right) brought a spectacular save
out of Andy Warrington, and John McGrath had a free kick that looked bound for
the top corner similarly well saved. The game flowed from end to end though and
Donny always were in it, Robert Gill in particular always a threat.
John McGrath was causing all sorts of problems and it was the loan signing
that made it 1-1. Steve West controlled the ball brilliantly and slipped it on
to Junior who found McGrath. The finish was superb, an unstoppable shot in off
the near post.
The second half continued where the first had left off, but once again it was
Donny that took the lead, again through Barnes. Once again it was a soft goal
from Dagenham's point of view. The ball pinged around on the area and eventually
lobbed high. It looked every inch Robbo's ball (left) l but he let it drop and Barnes
smashed it in to retake the lead.
Within a minute though it was 2-2. This time a passing move up the right ended
with the Doncaster defence completely opened up. Mark Janney's low cross was met
by Steve West who finished easily.
The Daggers steamed forward again and again looking for the winner, with the
challenges getting more and more heated as the temperature of the match
approached boiling point.
The Daggers grabbed the lead they deserved with another great goal in the
70th minute. This time Junior got away down the left. His speed meant he had to
stop and wait for support to arrive, but when it did in the shape of Westy the
cross was perfect and the header as good, right in the top corner.
With the Daggers well on top it looked like job done but Donny had one more
trick up their sleeve. In the 75th minute Mark Janney (right) lost the ball on the half
way line and the visitors attacked up the left. The cross from Barnes was spot on and Robert
Gill rose to head the ball equally as well as Steve West had done.
The game had 15 minutes to run, but despite a few chances at both ends the
scoring was over despite Garry Hill switching to three at the back late on,
bringing on Gary Fletcher for Steve Heffer, and it was honours even at the end, 3 goals and 3 bookings
The result leaves the Daggers 11th and Doncaster 3rd although they lost
ground on the top two who both won, Yeovil winning 2-1 at Northwich and Chester
4-0 at Leigh. Scarborough also won to open a gap on the pack, including the Daggers, chasing the 4th play off spot.
Stevenage Borough have dropped deeper in to the mire by losing
at home to Margate. Stevenage and Kettering are now six points adrift of the
pack in the bottom two places. Woking slipped back into the relegation places on goal difference
losing 5-0 at Edgar Street, Hereford. This is the fifth occasion that the
Cardinals have shipped 5 goals already this season.