The Daggers lost 2-0 to Exeter City on Saturday at The Glyn Hopkin Stadium,
seemingly putting an end to any realistic chance of a play-off place.
With new signings, Kirk Jackson and Matt Rees lining up for the home side,
they started the game with a very attacking style and could easily have taken
the lead on two occasions within the first few minutes.
Under pressure from the Daggers' front line, Alex Jeannin attempted a
clearance but it sailed goalwards and took some sharp reflexes for Bittner to
Shortly after this, some great work from Chris Moore on the right wing saw
the ball fed across to Chris Piper who went for power over accuracy but his shot
clattered into Bittner and bounced to safety.
With the Daggers having by far the better of the play, Exeter were finding
chances at a premium, but they had a great chance when Sean Canham was set free
and his shot was taken well by Danny Naisbitt to keep the scores level.
Then Tim Cole found himself in space, but was unable to get his header on
target from Tarkan Mustafa's cross.
Tarkan Mustafa then brought a fine save from Bittner with a long-range
piledriver and this seemed to cause Exeter to raise their game somewhat.
In the second half, it was a rejuvenated City side that took to the field and
it was the Daggers who were now finding chances hard to come by.
With 55 minutes gone, Santos Gaia shot goalwards, only to see Naisbitt push
the ball onto the post. The ball ricocheted back to Gaia but his follow-up
shot was wide of the target.
The Daggers then had a clear penalty shout turned down - Chris Piper burst
into the box and was clearly hauled down by an Exeter defender but the hosts'
shouts were in vain.
Another mix-up in the Daggers' defence led to Naisbitt parrying a Sean Canham
shot as far as Gareth Sheldon but his effort crashed off the post and to safety.
Canham then attempted to put the ball into the back of the net, but Naisbitt
pounced on the ball. Unfortunately for the Daggers, the ball was adjudged
to have crossed the line and the Grecians were 1-0 up.
With the Daggers still chasing their game, it was game over on 79 minutes
when Leslie Afful conned the referee into awarding a penalty.
Afful burst into the box and knocked the ball wide of Naisbitt before clearly
diving over the Daggers' keeper's outstretched arm. To everyone's
amazement, the referee only booked Naisbitt, casting doubt on his confidence in
his penalty decision.
James Coppinger scored the resulting penalty with some pace, leaving Naisbitt
with no chance.
The Daggers must now rely on the FA Trophy for any form of success this
season and next weekend's home tie against Arlesey is now surely a must-win