The Daggers won a fiercely contested Essex derby at home last night to get themselves right back in the thick of the Conference play off race.
John Still was able to name the same starting eleven as had done so well against Gravesend at the weekend and had the added bonus of naming Craig Mackail-Smith on the bench giving him a little bit of experience there too.
The first half was pretty non-descript with both sides crashing the ball about and steaming full speed ahead. What was obvious though was the Daggers full speed was a couple of yards faster than Canvey's
both defensively and attacking where both Tony Boot and Chris Moore (right) presented a real handful for the Gulls back four.
Peter Smith, on his first return to the Glyn since he was sent off in the
2001 ESC final, should have been cautioned early on for a nasty cynical trip as Boot threatened to get away but amazingly the Mr Phillips decided it was early and a talking to would do. Smith took this as a signal that he could do pretty much as he liked throughout the game. More of that later.
The Daggers were on top early on without seriously looking like scoring, then Canvey had a period where they reigned balls in on the home goal, winning a string of corners. Again it all came to nothing very much and it was no real
surprise when it was 0-0 at the break.
It soon changed after the half time cuppa though. On 49 minutes the ball dropped in the Canvey penalty area and the Daggers had to score it seemed. Chris Moore's shot from close range was saved by Potter but the ball dropped to his strike partner Tony Boot
(left) who prodded it in.
The goal opened the game up as Canvey had to start opening up a little and this made room for the Daggers to start running at them. Smith made himself a target for Daggers boos when he tangled with Ashley Vickers as the Gulls pressed forward. He quite obviously tried to stamp on Ash right in front of the Sieve and when jogging back to his defensive station after again getting away with it, taunted the crowd.
The Daggers had the last laugh on Smith though when he gave away the decisive second goal shortly after this incident. The ball was played long behind Smith up the Daggers left and it was
thoroughbred Glen Southam (right) chasing down carthorse Smith for the ball. Smith got there just first but decided to slide the ball back to Potter rather than stick it in the Carling Stand and Southam
was on it in a flash. With Potter stranded two on one Glen drew him out and slid the ball to Chris Moore in the middle for a tap in. 2-0.
Canvey headed back upfield looking to get back into the game. Chris Duffy had been a threat
throughout on the Canvey left and he started to get a lot of possession with Paul Bruce getting pulled inside too often. After a couple of near misses the Gulls got a goal back with 12 minutes left on the clock when a half cleared ball fell to Neil Midgley on the edge of
the area and his well struck volley flew past Robbo's right hand.
It was a nervous few minutes for the home fans as they watched the clock which seemed to have slowed completely. Robbo tipped another shot from the edge of the area over the bar and Canvey again had a string of corners but John Still had the answer, sending on fit again Craig Mackail-Smith for Tony Boot. On 89 minutes he wrapped up the game when Jake Leberl's half blocked shot fell to him in the area and he smashed it in from ten yards, the ball pinging off a defender on the way.
It was game over and the Canvey fans streamed for the gates as Robbo
(left) danced for the fans in the sieve. The crowd was a better one at 1,542 and they will have been encouraged by a battling performance in what was admittedly a scrappy match as local
derby's so often are.
The win lifts the Daggers up to 11th and in the top half for the first time since October. The race is so tight that the Daggers will jump eight places and go 3rd on Saturday if they can get a two goal win over Farnborough Town.