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Britannia

Daggers Heartbreak
by Hardy on 12/05/2003

The Daggers go down to the Golden Goal at the Britannia Stadium as Doncaster Rovers are promoted. Report with crowd pictures from Hardy.

Doncaster Rovers
3

AET
Doncaster win 3-2 on Golden Goal

Dagenham & Redbridge
2

Green 39
Morley 55
Tierney 110

Stein 63
Mustafa 78

Nationwide Conference
Play-Off Final

Britannia Stadium, Stoke
Saturday 10th May 2003
2:30pm
So near and yet so far
For the second year running the Daggers went so close to promotion that they could taste it only to have the dream ripped away at the last moment as they went down to a golden goal winner to Doncaster Rovers at Stoke City's Britannia Stadium.

The first ever Nationwide Conference play off final will be remembered for s great game though, and it has to be said that the best team on the day won it. Not the best supporters though, as several pitch invasions by the Doncaster fans marred the day and a number of arrests were made. More of that later.

The Daggers fielded the same starting eleven as in both games against Morecambe but changed the bench a little, Ashley Vickers and Danny Hill (left) replacing Steve Potts and Jason Broom. There was still no place for Junior McDougald whose back injury obviously beat him in the end.

The early exchanges were all Doncaster as they used the width of the pitch to press the Daggers back. Paterson had the first effort on target, caught by Tony Roberts (right) in the 7th minute. In the 15th minute again Paterson found some space for a shot and Roberts again took the ball with no problems, then Barnes got away and should have opened the scoring only for Roberts to save with his feet.

It took until the 20th minute for the Daggers to create a chance, Janney putting Stein (left) in but the great man, stretching, was unable to get his shot on target.

Back came Donny and threatening again, Whitman's cross well taken then Barnes forcing another save out of Roberts.

The Daggers best chance of the half came from a corner from the left in the 25th minute which found Lee Goodwin (right). His header goalward was probably going to be cleared off the line but Stein got a foot to it and was unfortunate to see the ball go over the bar.

Ravenhill and Whitman both had shots before Donny finally took a deserved lead in the 38th minute, Tim Ryan's cross met by Paul Green whose header looped over Roberts and in. The goal was greeted by outpourings of delight from the Doncaster fans which spilt over into a minor pitch invasion.

Almost immediately after the resumption Lee Matthews (left) was booked for a crunching challenge on the goalscorer Green, then a couple of minutes later another attack ended in a typical Daggers v Donny brawl, Ravenhill eventually booked after the referee consulted his assistant.

The half ended with the score just 1-0, poor reward for Doncaster's superiority.

The second half began as the first had ended with Paterson getting in a couple of shots, both saved well by Roberts, the second at the expense of a corner. Tierney swung the ball in and Morley got his head to it. Roberts threw himself once again and got a hand to it but could only push the ball onto the post and then in. 55 minutes gone and 2-0 down. All over surely?

Again the Doncaster fans excitement saw them invade the pitch despite repeated appeals for them not to. As the noise from their end became a crescendo the Daggers began to fight back at last, seeming once again to be at their most dangerous when behind.

Steve West's header was tipped over as they started to find some room going forward, then on 63 minutes Mark Stein picked up West's headed flick and controlling the ball with what looked afterwards on TV may have been a hand, slammed the ball home to silence the Doncaster fans.

With the momentum of the match turned the Daggers went after an equaliser, Shipp's shot tipped away by Warrington. Barnes got away briefly and forced another save from Roberts before Tarkan Mustafa capped a great display with the goal of the game.

Put in the clear by Paul Terry with 12 minutes left in the game he picked the ball up wide right and ran at the Doncaster defence which had no answer to him. From an angle Tarkan shot across Warrington and in at the far post before being engulfed in his team mates in celebration.

As the Daggers fans raised the roof of the Signal Radio Stand for the remainder of the 90 the Daggers looked for a winner. Mark Janney (right) went closest shooting wide from the edge of the area before time was up and it was golden goal extra time for both teams once again.

With the momentum still with them the Daggers had the better of the first period. In the 95th minute Tarkan Mustafa again getting away and crossing for Steve West who just could not get enough on a header to score. As the Daggers fans held their heads in disbelief most missed that the assistant had flagged for offside anyway.

Mark Janney found space before shooting wide again before the end of the first period of extra time.

Tired legs were showing at the game moved into a second fifteen minutes extra time. Many were just starting to think of penalties when Doncaster managed to grab a priceless golden goal. Paul Barnes, conference top scorer this season was this time the provider, getting away down Doncaster's left. His precise pass picked out Francis Tierney who had the easiest of tasks to side foot Donny back into the Football League.

Once again the Doncaster celebrations spilled over, a significant minority of their fans heading the length of the pitch to taunt the Daggers fans in their moment of despair. Despite repeated pleas to move away back to the stands so the presentations could take place it took at least ten minutes to do so, during which a number of arrests were made. An unsavoury end to the day and the season.

So the Daggers miss out again in the cruellest of manners. Garry Hill (left) looks sure to change the team significantly in the summer in an effort to try once more for the elusive prize and it seems inevitable that for several of the team on Saturday that was the last time they will be seen in a Daggers shirt.

Teams


DONCASTER ROVERS


DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE

1 Andy Warrington
2 Simon Marples
3 Tim Ryan
4 David Morley
7 Francis Tierney
9 Paul Barnes
11 Jamie Paterson (off 83 mins)
16 Tristram Whitman (off 83 mins)
19 Ricky Ravenhill
20 Paul Green
23 Steve Foster

Substitutes
5 John Doolan
6 Mark Albrighton
13 Stuart Nelson
26 Gregg Blundell (on 83 mins)
30 Jason Blunt (on 83 mins)

1 Tony Roberts
2 Tim Cole
17 Lee Matthews
19 Tarkan Mustafa
4 Lee Goodwin (off 71 mins)
8 Paul Terry (off 81 mins)
26 John McGrath (off 70 mins)
7 Mark Janney
10 Mark Stein
9 Danny Shipp
15 Steve West

Substitutes
3 Ashley Vickers (on 71 mins)
5 Mark Smith (on 70 mins)
6 Steve Heffer (on 81 mins)
14 Danny Hill
18 Paul Gothard

Referee: Mr A Marriner
Attendance: 13,092

DiggerDagger's Man Of The Match

Tarkan Mustafa

Ran all day and a great goal

Match Photos


The teams are presented to Sammy McIlroy (apparently the Queen was busy)


Daggers fans in the Signal Radio Stand


Daggers fans in the John Smiths Stand (lower tier)


The Britannia Stadium - magnificent venue


After the Golden Goal the players wait for the pitch to be cleared


 

 

 

 

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