Just as it appeared that the Daggers were pulling themselves clear of the Npower League One relegation trap door they were plunged right back into the mire by another late goal at St. James' Park on Saturday writes Ricky Butler.
After working so hard to get their noses in front thanks to Romain Vincelot's 11th goal of the season fifteen minutes from time, John Still's side were caught out by late headers from Matt Taylor and substitute Richard Logan to leave Devon empty-handed once again.
Having seen his sides impressive six match unbeaten run brought to end by leaders Brighton in midweek Still gave young Oliver Lee his first start for the club in midfield, while John Akinde was named on the bench for the first time since his arrival on loan from Bristol City in February.
But it was the hosts who started well with Jamie Cureton twice going close to giving them the lead inside the opening twelve minutes, before he then turned provider for Ryan Harley, who headed over the crossbar from close range when he really should have tested Tony Roberts in the Daggers goal.
Slowly the visitors began to get a foothold in the match and Billy Jones was forced to clear the ball off his own goal-line after a dangerous in-swinging corner from Danny Green midway through the first half, while the Exeter defender was then in the right place again soon after following a scramble in the home penalty area. But the Daggers were forced to hang on a little as the half drew to a close with John O'Flynn and Steve Tully both going close before Roberts then denied Richard Duffy.
Still's men looked far more dangerous in the early stages of the second period and they almost went in front seven minutes after the resumption. Bas Savage looped the ball back across the six yard box for strike partner Jon Nurse at the far post, but his downward header was touched over the bar by scrambling City keeper Ben Hamer.
Nurse had an even better chance ten minutes later when Hamer could only push out an effort from full back Abu Ogogo but the Barbadian, who had scored six times in the previous thirteen matches, saw his weak follow up effort easily saved.
Exeter manager Paul Tisdale then brought on Logan and Daniel Nardiello in a bid to win the match and it nearly brought instant reward when Harley struck the outside of the post with a free kick from 25 yards. Still responded by giving Akinde his debut and the Bristol City loanee nearly scored the goal of the season four minutes after his introduction. Brushing past challenge after challenge on a thrilling solo run into the home penalty area his finish unfortunately did not match his fine approach play as he chipped the ball harmlessly over the top.
It did not appear to matter when the Daggers did grab the lead they had been threatening fifteen minutes from time. Green's corner to the far post was headed back across the goal by Peter Gain for the late-arriving Vincelot to plant a powerful header past Hamer from six yards.
It looked to be a massive goal as, with other results going their way, the Daggers were briefly up to 18th place, but their joy lasted barely four minutes. A free kick from David Noble out on the left caught the Daggers defence dozing and Taylor ghosted in at the far post to loop a header over the stranded Roberts and into the top corner of the net to bring the hosts level.
The evergreen Daggers keeper then did well to keep out a drive from Jake Thompson but it merely delayed the inevitable as Nardiello whipped the ball from left for fellow substitute Logan to gleefully head home from close range with just three minutes remaining.
The Daggers threw everything forward in the closing stages in a desperate attempt to grab a point but they were unable to find an equaliser and slipped to a second damaging defeat in the space of four days, although they still remain one point clear of the bottom four.
Still was understandably downbeat at the end saying, "I am disappointed because I think we did enough to win the game. At 1-0, I think we had the initiative, but it was two lacks of discipline that have cost us.'
"We had plenty of chances before we got the goal and a few scrambles. Football being what it is doesn't always work as it should do, but we will go back and work on it again this week," he added.
Attendance; 4,598 (133 Daggers)