Superb late goals from Medy Elito and Danny Green capped a perfect away performance from the Daggers at Brunton Park on Saturday which made their longest journey of the season a very happy one writes Ricky Butler.
After nearly three weeks without a game due to the bad weather manager John Still made two changes from the side that had lost at Plymouth last time out; Bas Savage replacing the injured Gavin Tomlin up front while Solomon Taiwo returned in place of Liverpool loanee Victor Palsson in the heart of the midfield.
There was also a return to the squad for Scott Doe after injury and he was joined on the bench by new loan signing Eddie Oshodi, who joined from Watford last week, but there was no place in the 18 for Peter Gain or Damien McCrory.
However the biggest change was in the formation as Still switched to a more compact 4-5-1 which saw Green starting in a central role behind lone striker Savage, with Elito and Kayleden Brown supporting from the wings.
It looked set to be a long day for the Daggers when only an outstanding save from Tony Roberts prevented the Cumbrians going in front in the 3rd minute. Top scorer Gary Madine spotted the run Ben Marshall inside full back Abu Ogogo but the veteran Daggers keeper reacted superbly to deny the Stoke loanee, while Francois Zoko then blasted the rebound over the crossbar from close range.
But the visitors soon settled and began to create chances of their own. Brown did well down the left in the 12th minute and his cross to the far post was headed back across goal by Savage but home captain Paul Thirwell just managed to scramble the ball away from the lurking Romain Vincelot.
The Daggers had another good opportunity to break the deadlock midway through the first half when Brown again did well down the left and his cross was flicked on by Savage for Elito, but the Colchester loanee fired wildly over the bar from eight yards when he really ought to have tested home keeper Adam Collin.
It was all Daggers now and Elito cut in from the right onto his favoured left foot only to see his shot deflected harmlessly into the arms of Collin, while Brown then saw an effort scrambled behind for a corner.
But the hosts were always a threat on the break with the pace of Madine and Marshall and it was the winger, on loan from Stoke, who shot just wide in the 26th minute, while defender Lubomir Michalik then fizzed a shot narrowly over Roberts crossbar from fully 35 yards two minutes later.
The hosts had a half-hearted penalty appeal turned down soon after when ex-Chelsea midfielder Tom Taiwo tumbled in the area under a challenge from Femi Ilefanmi but referee Chris Boyeson was unimpressed.
However Still's side were soon on the attack again and leading scorer Vincelot should have given them the lead ten minutes before the break. Another lovely move saw Abu Ogogo whip a dangerous ball in from the right but the Frenchman could only fire into the side-netting with a half-volley from the left hand corner of the six yard box.
After being pegged back for long periods of the first half the hosts came out with all guns blazing at the start of the second period, and they should have been in front within three minutes of the restart. Zoko flicked on a cross from Taiwo and Madine arrived with a free header six yards out, but he completely lost his bearings and inexplicably placed the ball well wide of the left hand upright.
But the visitors soon resumed their earlier control and Savage beat Collin after a lovely reverse pass from Green in the 53rd minute only to see the ball roll agonisingly wide of the far post, while the big striker was then denied by the Blues keeper after a rasping drive from the edge of the area five minutes later.
Carlisle continued to threaten on the break and Roberts did well to deflect a shot from Marshall behind for a corner while the tricky winger then fired wide after linking well with Madine again on the hour.
However the Daggers began to look the more likely winners in the closing stages and they were close to grabbing a precious lead thirteen minutes from time. Collin could not hold a cross from Green under pressure from Will Antwi and when Brown drilled the loose ball back across the face of the goal the big defender was just a whisker away from turning it into the empty net.
But just as it was looking like a familiar tale of missed chances for the Daggers they finally made one count with eight minutes left. Brown burst clear down the left yet again and his low cross was slide in at the near post by the late-arriving Elito for his second Daggers goal in four appearances since he arrived on loan from Colchester last month.
A vital second away win of the season was then sealed in the final minute with a goal of real quality. Again Brown was at the heart of its creation with another good ball in from left which Elito let run, giving Green the opportunity to smash powerful shot into the top left hand corner of the net from the edge of the area, which even had the home fans on their feet in appreciation.
So while the Daggers remain in the bottom four, and still four points from safety, a performance of this quality suggests they will not be there for long. Still, nominated for the BBC London Sports Personality of the Year award, felt his side deserved the points. 'It was another very good performance following on from the one we gave at Plymouth, but we need to remember they are a young team who are learning and developing all the time.'
Attendance; 4,380 (109 away).