The Daggers lost to a better side on Saturday, beaten 3-0 by the team obviously
quicker and sharper in all departments.
Perhaps a little surprisingly, given all the close season signings the
Daggers starting line up had a very much last season feel about it, only Leon
Braithwaite getting a start of the new boys, plus triallist Pullen in for Robbo.
starting line up saw Braithwaite and Mark Stein paired up front, Janney and
Bruce wide of midfield and Shipp and Terry (right) through the middle. At the
back Tarkan took right back, Ashley Vickers left with Tim Cole and Lee Matthews
in the heart of defence. Between the sticks Robbo was again missing against the
team he is goalkeeper coach for, James Pullen wearing 13.
Pretty much everyone else in the squad was on the bench with the exception of
Jimmy Jackson, nowhere to be seen.
Rangers played three up and all three had pace in abundance. This was
graphically demonstrated on 10 minutes when the ball was played over Matthews.
Richard Paquette made up 10 yards on Lee over 30 and calmly slotted the ball
away. The result was the Daggers back four dropped deeper allowing space in
front of them. This also negated Tarkan as the attacking outlet he usually is
down the right.
Daggers had their chances though, but Mark Stein kept being caught offside time
and again. When finally he managed to stay onside, Terry's pass finding him in
space his first shot was parried by Culkin who somehow scrambled Stein's second
effort away too. Braithwaite (left) showed some neat touches and a couple of
times threatened to get away from the Rangers defence.
It was mostly one way traffic though and James Pullen will have done his cause
no harm at all with several good saves including a great take when faced one on
one with Eric Sabin. The Daggers will have been a little relieved to only be one
down at half time.
The pattern continued in the second half. Rangers brought in triallists
Christopher Kanu (another "brother of") and John Bailey, both of whom
looked good, and continued to terrorise the Daggers with their pace.
Matthews should have scored from a Paul Bruce (right) cross heading over
from a couple of yards out, then Paul Terry had a chance from a Janney cross
before the game was ended as a contest by Richard Paquette's second in similar
vein to the first.
then on the visitors dominated as the Daggers called the changes, only Pullen's
performance in goal keeping it remotely respectable. Chris Piper (left) did will
in his 30 minutes on the field while his brother Lenny, given just 20 looked a
little off the pace.
on Keith Scott (right) came in to try to make it more physical for QPR but he
failed to make much impact, while Alex Meechan also showed his intelligent
running without getting a sniff.
With 12 minutes left Paul Furlong grabbed a third for Rangers to give the
scoreline a realistic feel on the balance of play on the day.
All in all there was little for the Daggers fans to look at optimistically
from the game. QPR looked what they are, a good Second Division team, and the
Daggers are far from settled yet. With pre-season now over, there will be some
pondering in the Daggers camp over what the starting line up will be a