Daggers are through to the First Round of the FA Cup by the skin of their teeth
after this game went right to the death on Saturday.
They lined up as expected with Chris Moore still missing with his knee and
groin problem meaning that Tony Boot got the nod to partner Craig Mackail-Smith.
In goal it was a debut for Paul Bastock to the Daggers eternal shame, showing
that the money from a potential cup run was worth more than their principles.
In the first half it really didn't matter who was in goal as the Daggers
pressed forward from all parts of the pitch. Within the first minute of the game
Mackail-Smith (right) slipped the ball past Dolan and was away, only to be brought
down just outside the box. The referee decided a talking to was enough for Dolan
red card could have been argued for, and would be lenient on reckless Crawley
defending all afternoon in an abject display of officiating once again, even on
With the Crawley keeper Phil Smith doing a Halloween impression of Dracula, any kind of
cross caused mayhem in the heart of their defence. This was graphically
demonstrated when Tony Boot looked to have put the Daggers ahead when Smith came and missed the
cross leaving Boot the simplest of headers into the empty net. The referee decided there has seen a push
though and disallowed it.
The Daggers continued to hammer forward. Janney hit the post from close range after a
great run, the ball rebounding to Boot who hit a defender on the line. Quite how
it took so long to go ahead was a mystery, but at last it was Tony Boot that
gave the home side the lead on 39 minutes when the ball dropped to him on the
edge of the area and he just hit it, the shot flying past Smith.
As half time came it could easily have been three or four nil and Crawley
could have had no complaints, but as so often happens the second half was very
Crawley had to attack now and with Paul Bruce having limped off just before
half time, sub Shane Blackett (left) was very exposed at left back by Lee Flynn who
also looked injured and made way for Lee Goodwin, causing the whole team to
reshuffle with no-one really taking responsibility for the left of midfield. The space up the
Daggers left was exploited by Crawley's Mo Harkin who
tormented Blackett time and time again.
The Daggers defending became more and more desperate as Crawley dominated,
one last ditch tackle by Ashley Vickers saving what looked a certain goal after Tim Cole
(right) misplaced a header back to the keeper letting Marney through on goal. On 76 minutes the inevitable happened and
Crawley drew level. Again it came down the Daggers left, the ball eventually
reaching Allan Tait who turned and smashed the ball in.
The Daggers took a deep breath and set out to win it again. The game was
stretched all over the park now and chances came both ways. This time it was
Blackett who made the last gasp tackle to save a certain goal, then Mackail-Smith
headed just over and then hit the bar with a screamer within a couple of
minutes. As the game headed toward injury time Bastock made a fabulous save to
deny Platel which John Still will point at to justify his selection.
With three minutes of injury time signalled the Daggers gave it one more go
and serial cup hero Mark Janney (left), who scored the late winner last time the two
sides met in the FA Cup was there to slam home a Tony Boot pass with seconds
left and send his team through.
A classic cup tie then, and the Daggers reaped the reward in the draw held
shortly after the game ended. The Daggers applauded their fans as always at the
end, circling the pitch with Bastock in their midst. I thought laps of honour
were only appropriate when you won something Paul?