The Daggers snatched defeat from the jaws of victory last tonight in an eventful game under the floodlights at the Glyn Hopkin Stadium.
Still kept faith with the eleven that won so convincingly at Tamworth, Ashley
Vickers (right) returning from suspension but only on the bench.
Exeter, playing their first game since winning the FA Cup jackpot of a game
at Old Trafford started fast and had three shots at goal in the first nine
minutes of the game. The third, a long range pot shot from Gareth Sheldon after
Lee Goodwin had gifted him the ball was brilliantly tipped over by Tony Roberts
at full stretch.
From the resulting corner though the Grecians took the lead when Santos Gaia
scored his ninth goal of the season from centre half, heading home Jeannin's
corner. Five minutes later it was 0-2, Gareth Sheldon applying a great finish to a fine City
regrouped and looked to be having a lot of success with route one, long kicks
from Roberts repeatedly finding Moore and Mackail-Smith. They hauled themselves back into the game on 22
minutes when Mark Janney (left) and Chris Moore found space up the Daggers right
and Janney's cross flicked off a City defender and dropped to Craig Mackail-Smith
on the edge of the area. In a blur the ball was buried past Martin Rice and it
was 1-2. Game on!
The Daggers thought they had pulled level just before half time when Chris
Moore headed in a Lee Goodwin cross, but the linesman's flag was raised
immediately. The Daggers were caught offside far too often throughout the game
The game was really end to end throughout but the Daggers were just about good value for their
equaliser which came after 59 minutes. The decision for the penalty looked a little
generous though when Jeannin was judged to have pushed Chris Moore in the
box. Moore picked himself up and scored from the spot, although the finish was less than convincing.
Suddenly it was only one team that was going to win the game as the Daggers
steamed forward. The game turned on a second penalty decision with 20 minutes
left in the game. This time it was a clear penalty as Martin Rice brought down Mackail-Smith who was through on
goal having found all sorts of space through the heart of Exeter's defence.
After an age of debating with half the City team Rice was shown the red card
by referee Beck for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity and on came sub keeper 18 year old Paul Jones for his debut for the Grecians.
Having had to wait forever to take the spot kick Moore's shot was ok but a good
height for Jones and he pushed it round the post.
The Daggers had several more chances to win the game, Paul Bruce
(left) in particular guilty of a miss from close range when the ball dropped to
him in the six yard box but on his right foot, the shot screwed wide. Shortly
after this Mackail-Smith's shot looked to be in for half the crowd but was in
the side netting.
the Daggers chasing the win John Still made the bizarre decision to replace
Chris Moore with the less than prolific Stuart Douglas on 79 minutes. If Moore
was not injured, and he looked fine, this decision conceded the momentum of the
game and John should be looking hard at himself this morning.
To make things worse, Exeter then broke out of defence and could have gone
ahead when their ten men had a man over against the Daggers eleven but Devine's
shot was saved by Roberts. Almost immediately though they did score the winner
when Wayne O'Sullivan was allowed room to turn in the 81st minute and he found the bottom corner of Tony Roberts goal with a great left footed finish.
Still's reaction to that was to haul off the natural left sider Paul Bruce and
send on Tony Boot (left) to look for the win, the by-product of that one being
Mackail-Smith moving out wide when he was terrorising the Grecians through the
Boot did have a chance which Jones saved but it was not to be and the Daggers
kissed goodbye to three points that they should have had in the bag.
To make matters worse, right at the death man of the match Craig Mackail-Smith picked up a nasty looking knock and it is to be hoped that it is not serious.