Dagenham & Redbridge reached the play off's with a comfortable but
un-spectacular win over Northwich Victoria at the Vic.
With Junior McDougald out still after his back injury at Morecambe, the
Daggers started with Mark Stein and Steve West up front and no recognised
attacking back up on the bench. The back four was the 2000/01 first choice of
Goodwin, Matthews, Cole and Vickers, while midfield featured Mustafa and McGrath
out wide with Steve Heffer and Danny Shipp through the middle.
game was less than riveting early on, the best chance falling to Lee Goodwin
(left) after just five minutes, his shot well saved by Parry in the Vic's goal.
The visitors had a chance from a free kick on the edge of the area but Tony
Roberts leapt like a salmon to his right to tip the ball away.
game really came alive just on the half hour. Mark Stein found space in the
Vic's box and slipped the ball to Danny Shipp (right) who shot hard across the
goal and in at the left hand post.
Just a minute later the Daggers found themselves facing 10 men when Jamie
McGuire went way over the box of the ball on Lee Matthews and saw yellow then
red having been booked early on for a petulant stamp.
Possibly believing it was game over already the Daggers visibly took their
foot off the peddle and the game drifted to half time without further
In the second half it was pretty much one way traffic with the Daggers well
on top but not able to put the game away with a second goal. Steve West saw his
header come back off the bar and had several chances go close before Northwich
scared the wits out of the watching Daggers fans by claiming an equaliser. A
shot from distance was in-explicably spilled by Tony Roberts and the rebound
rammed home to the delight of the Vic's bench only for the referee to spot the
linesman's flag raised for offside.
incident seemed to spur the Daggers into life. Steve West saw another shot come
back off the bar as Danny Hill (left), on for Shipp, pulled the strings from
midfield. Tarkan Mustafa, who had a great game, finally split the Vic's defence
open, finding Mark Stein in space to put the game beyond doubt with a well taken
second in the 89th minute.
Even then it could have been three, Stein again running clear and rounding
Parry but lifting his shot too high, seeing it crash back off the bar.
News filtered through as the final whistle blew that Halifax were beating
Hereford, a result that would see the play off spot sealed. The crowd waited
while the result was confirmed and applauded the team on a well deserved warm
Chester City's draw with Woking meant that Yeovil were champions without
kicking a ball, and the late televised win at Doncaster was little more than a
The four play off teams are now confirmed as the Daggers, Doncaster, Chester
and Morecambe who are all now on 71 points. Who plays who is yet to be settled
but the race itself is now over.