The Daggers tonight came back from a goal behind to win 2-1 at Stonebridge Road
against Gravesend & Northfleet. The win is the first time the Daggers have
turned over a deficit this season and hopefully marks a turnaround in fortunes.
Hill once again changed the line up significantly. Forced into leaving Ashley
Vickers out due to suspension the team lined up with three at the back and wing
backs, Lee Goodwin, Lee Matthews and Tim Cole the three with Tarkan Mustafa on
the right and Paul Bruce (right) recalled on the left, where he had a good game
Scully was dropped in a midfield of Danny Shipp, Chris Piper and Mark Bentley,
returning to his old club and strangely booed by a section of the Fleet support.
Up front Tris Whitman joined new signing Chris Moore on the bench with Rob Gill
and Steve Watts the chosen front two.
The game started brightly for the Daggers and for the first five minutes it
was one way traffic. The Fleet started to get the measure of the visitors after
that though and began to exploit the space on the Daggers right where Tarkan
Mustafa, so reliable at right back, was drifting out of position.
crosses rained in on the Daggers Dennis Oli, on loan from QPR, collided with Lee Matthews
(right) and both needed lengthy treatment, Matthews suffered a cracked tooth while Oli left the field to have his head bandaged after suffering a nasty
While both sides were down to ten the Fleet got their noses in front in the
simplest of manners. Ben Walshe's corner to the far post was headed down for Andrew Drury to
slam home from close range.
The Daggers continued to struggle throughout the rest of the first half. When
they managed to string passes together they never looked like penetrating and
the alternative of a long ball was being coped with easily by the Fleet defence.
Luckily Tony Roberts was in his usual fine form, making a couple of good saves
to deny Steve McKimm while Gravesend generally failed to capitalise on the
confusion in the Daggers ranks.
second half was oh so different though, and for the first time in a while it was
like watching the Daggers play. After 15 minutes of gloom and despondency among
the 300 or so visiting fans, Garry Hill changed things two minutes into the
second half, Tim Cole replaced by Mark Janney (left) as the Daggers reverted to
a familiar 4-4-2. Immediately things looked better with Janners the out ball
time and time again.
equaliser was a joy to watch, fast passing along the floor between a number of
players eventually putting Steve Watts in space. With everyone expecting a shot
Wattsy slipped the ball inside to Chris Piper (right) who had time to control
and pick his spot from twelve yards.
it was all Dagenham after that and it was a surprise that the winner was so slow
in coming. When it did, as late as the 89th minute, it was another simple headed
finish from a corner taken by Paul Bruce on the right. Wattsy (left) celebrated
in style and the Daggers fans joined in from the terraces.
Somehow referee Melin found four minutes of added time and the Daggers nearly
made it three when new signing Chris Moore, on for Rob Gill, was put clear. His
shot unfortunately struck Paul Wilkerson's ample backside and went wide.
at the death though ex-Dagger Steve Perkins (right) had a great chance to
equalise for the Fleet but somehow he managed to chip the ball over when it
looked easier to score. That was probably a more significant contribution to the
Daggers cause than any he made wearing the shirt.
The result sees the Daggers up to 14th which is still not great, but
significantly they are now just four points off 7th and have now taken ten
points from the last twelve. Most significantly though, the second half display
last night is the best the side have played for a long time.