The Daggers season is arguably now over after an embarrassing defeat at the
hands of a team two divisions below them in the football pyramid who over the
two games thoroughly deserved their moment of glory.
Daggers lined up with a number of changes from the first game as seems almost
compulsory this season. Mark Janney was dropped to the bench with Danny Hill
coming in to the heart of midfield and Chris Piper (right) inexplicably moving
to the right hand side.
Roberts (left) made a welcome return in goal and Alan Kimble played left back
with Jimmy Jackson moving up to left midfield replacing Paul Bruce. Also on the
bench was Steve Watts who is rumoured to be back after his move to Singapore
fell through and John Higgs.
Once again the Daggers got off to the perfect start which should have settled
all nerves on another blustery and occasionally wet night. They forced a couple
of early corners and from the second the ball in from Chris Piper looked to have
gone straight in but Matt Rees was credited with getting a final touch.
The battling never-say-die style of Arlesey that was so evident on Saturday
surfaced once again and they charged back at the Daggers in a style that used to
be the visitors own trademark.
Craig Mackail-Smith, who was excellent once more, weaved his way forward and
forced Tony Roberts made a finger tip save, then from the resulting corner
Mackail-Smith put the ball over the bar from close range.
The Daggers pushed up again, once more leaving themselves exposed to fast
counter attacks from the Blues, seemingly not having learnt anything from the
The game was level after just 9 minutes when another corner forced by a Lee Tekell free
kick was flicked on and then headed in by Mackail-Smith.
The Daggers continued to leave themselves open to fast breaks and on 22
minutes Arlesey got their reward. Again it was Lee Tekell that made the
goal, and Mackail-Smith that finished it following a quick break.
The Daggers kept pressing forward but Arlesey coped well with the pressure,
and continued to raid forward whenever the opportunity arose and they increased
the lead when another break into the area ended up with Leon Gutzmore grabbing a
third on 32 minutes.
The Daggers continued to have most of the ball and the pressure but it
continued to be Arlesey that looked the more dangerous up to half time when the
visitors headed in to the dressing room for 15 minutes of harsh words with their
The game was over though within four minutes of the restart when Lee Tekell
hopeful free kick caught Robbo in no-mans land and Matt Corbould's glancing header flew into the net.
At 4-1 and surely no way back Garry Hill finally shuffled his pack a little,
bringing on Mark Janney and Steve Watts. The visitors forced a number of chances
but could not make them count while Arlesey continued to rattle their defence at
Daggers gave the score a degree of respectability and rekindled a little hope
when they finally pulled one back, Danny Shipp scoring from 15 yards when
the ball broke to him in the area with a little less than 30 minutes left on the
Daggers were suddenly well on top and forced a number of good openings only to
finish poorly although Steve Watts (left) was denied an obvious penalty that
would have set up a grandstand finish when pulled back in the area.
As the game drew to a close the Daggers continued to batter away in vain as
the excitement around the ground grew and at the end of the game the Arlesey
players and supporters celebrated a famous and deserved victory. They will now
look forward to a trip to either Exeter City or Kings Lynn in the last 16 on
Valentines Day while the Daggers fans can look forward to taking wives and
girlfriends to the shops.
the Daggers it is recriminations and a very interesting fans forum for Garry
Hill this Thursday. The forum takes place in the club starting at 8pm and will
allow fans to put questions to Garry Hill (right) and Dave Andrew.