Daggers last night showed more of the fighting spirit they have become known
for, being held to a 1-1 draw at St James Park against Exeter City.
Daggers' manager, Garry Hill, elected to play both the Piper brothers with
Lenny Piper (left) and Danny Ship leading the front line.
The match started well with the Daggers having marginally the better of the
opening exchanges before disaster struck.
home side did have early chances though, with Devine only able to put
Coppinger's cross straight at James Pullen (right) in the Daggers' goal within
the first minute.
Devine also had a chance in the 3rd minute, but put his shot wide.
For the Daggers, Danny Shipp and Lenny Piper were linking up well and created
a lot of attacking play without actually threatening James Bittner's goal.
The Daggers started to wrest control of the game and Exeter seemed content to
try and catch the Daggers on the break. It was on one of these attacks
that the match turned.
great through ball found Les Afful in plenty of space and he controlled the ball
well and burst through into the box. Alan Kimble (left) attempted to cut
Afful off, but the City player was too fast and was going to be clear through on
goal. Kimble seemed to suffer a rush of blood to the head when and felled
Afful in the area. In truth, felled is something of an understatement - he
pulled the City player to the ground by the neck and left the referee with
absolutely no option but to give him his marching orders.
To make matters worse, the resulting penalty was converted by Devine, sending
Pullen the wrong way and Daggers found themselves a man and a goal behind with
only 14 minutes on the clock.
To their credit, though, the visitors' disadvantage never showed and the Daggers
continued to put pressure on the Exeter defence.
nine minutes remaining until the interval, the Daggers got the equaliser they
deserved when Tim Cole (right) headed powerfully home from a Tony Scully corner.
After the interval, the Daggers continued to put pressure on the Exeter goal
and Tony Scully almost put the visitors in front when James Bittner misjudged
his cross but the ball whistled past the post.
Braithwaite (left) was unfortunate not to score his first goal for the Daggers
when he headed goalbound, only to see Chris Todd clear off the line.
He again came desperately close when Janney put in a fantastic chipped cross
into the area and Braithwaite did everything right with a brilliant diving
header, only for it to hit Bittner's legs.
In defence, Tim Cole was impressive, making a number of great tackles to
thwart City's attacks.
time rapidly running out, Mark Bentley (right) went on a jinking run before
unleashing a shot which clattered into an Exeter defender and deflected just
wide of the post with Bittner stranded.
This was a much better performance from the Daggers and they showed a great
deal of fighting spirit and teamwork. The passing movement was some of the
best seen by the Daggers for a long time and this can only give heart to Garry
Hill, especially following the recent turbulence within the squad.
However, with Tim Cole and Alan Kimble both facing suspensions in time for the
Chester City match, there now appears to be something of a weakness in the