The Daggers roared back with their biggest win of the season against managerless
Gravesend & Northfleet on Saturday, a superb display of finishing leaving
the Fleet watching in wonder.
the game all talk was about the injury crisis at the club. When it came to
it though the Daggers lined up with Scott Griffiths and Danny Foster (right) as
full backs and with Tony Boot partnering Chris Moore up front. Otherwise the
side was pretty much as it has been for much of the season, although the bench
was a little threadbare.
In the end both Foster and Griffiths, our man of the match, were superb
throughout and Boot scored twice. The scoreline was even comfortable enough for
John Still to give a brief Conference debut to Bai Mass Lettejallon. Quite what
had become of recent signing Morgaro Gomis is a mystery though.
The Fleet started well enough, playing under the guidance of joint player
managers Steve McKimm and Paul McCarthy. Throughout the game though, while they
enjoyed lots of possession and passed the ball around well too often it was ten
passes and then nothing as they looked to have no threat at all up front. Roy
Essendoh's sole contribution seemed to be to clatter in to the opposing centre
half at every opportunity and quite why Mr Deadman let him get away with it so
often is a mystery.
half an hour of mostly midfield play it was something of a surprise when the
Daggers suddenly got a chance and found themselves ahead. It was as direct a
goal as you are ever likely to see as Roberts launched it long and Tony Boot
raced on to the ball as it eluded the defence. Ex Daggers loan signing James
Pullen (left) came to meet Boot and may has well flashed a neon sign saying
"LOB ME". Boot obliged and in it flew for 1-0.
The Fleet regrouped and looked for an equaliser and probably should have had
it when Lee Protheroe’s through ball found former Dagger Jimmy Jackson one on
one with Tony Roberts. Unlike Pullen, Robbo stood up and made Jimmy decide what
to do and as a result Jackson shot wide.
As the half went into injury time, it would be fair to think that the
Gravesend management team were planning a team talk about them being well in the
game, not to panic and it would come. That was scrapped though as a result of
Steve Clark who scored an absolute screamer right as time ran out when McCarthy
headed a clearance straight to him about 35 yards out. Clark just hit it and
in it flew, leaving Pullen again scrabbling at thin air. There was barely time
for a kick off before the break.
At 2-0 it was not quite game over, but the Daggers half time tea must have
tasted good, while the crowd mused on whether Clark's goal was better than Anni
Uddin's against Aldershot or Craig Mackail-Smith's against Morecambe.
Pullen saved well from Paul Bruce early on, and Gravesend showed that they
were still in the game when Scott Griffiths was forced to head off the line
after a James Pinnock header from a corner. Roberts also did well to tip over a Ben Surey
shot but all too often the Fleet over elaborated again and again.
they were made to pay when the Daggers ended the game as a contest just after
the hour. Glen Southam found Chris Moore (right) on the edge of the area and he
wriggled past a couple of defenders looking for some space before drilling a
left foot shot past Pullen and into the corner.
this is was just a matter of how many. The fourth came from the boot of Jake
Leberl and was another screamer. Southam (left) fed the ball square to his
midfield partner and again the player just hit it, the ball flying past Pullen
in a blur from 25 yards.
been through the repertoire of shots from outside the box the fifth goal was a
well worked team goal with Chris Moore eventually supplying the cross in to Tony
Boot (right) on the near post who beat Pullen with ease for his second and 5-0.
Boot should have had his hat-trick a couple of minutes later, found in all sorts
of space in the area once again but for about the only time all afternoon the
shot was poor and missed the target.
Add a couple of decent penalty shouts and the result could have been even
worse for the Fleet who's noisy fans were left at the end glad it was only a
short trip home. The one negative on the day is Chris Moore picked up a 5th
yellow for the season for a dopey handball and looks likely to miss next
Saturday's game at home to Farnborough Town as a result.