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Match Report


Posted Sun 08 Aug 10 at 15:58 PM

Daggers Beaten But Not Down

The Daggers historic first match in Npower League One ended in disappointing defeat at Hillsborough but John Still and his team can be very proud of their performance on an emotional day for the club.

The game saw a match up of clubs from totally different ends of the football spectrum - former Premier League club Wednesday with their famous 40,000 capacity stadium and rich history against one of the youngest clubs in the Football League. But now they were starting on level terms.

Despite injury concerns over Scott Doe and Paul Benson both started in a Daggers line up showing just two changes from the Play-off final victory over Rotherham in May. New signing Stuart Lewis partnered Romain Vincelot in the centre of midfield, with Peter Gain moving out to the left, while fellow new boy Gavin Tomlin, scorer of five goals in pre-season, replaced Josh Scott up front. The only other change from Wembley was in the kit as The Daggers gave a first league outing to their new green away strip.

In front of a passionate crowd of 23,081, the biggest ever to watch Dagenham in a League fixture, the visitors started well and almost got off to a dream start when Vincelot shot narrowly wide inside the opening minute following a great cross from Gain.

The Daggers looked to take advantage of their fast start and Vincelot was again in the thick of the action six minutes later with a strong run and cross from the left that only just eluded Danny Green in the centre.

But the bright start was brought to an abrupt end as Wednesday scored twice in two minutes. They opened their account for the season in the 12th minute when a corner from debutante Gary Teale caused confusion in the Daggers defence and when Giles Coke poked the ball goalwards Doe inadvertently deflected it past Tony Roberts from close range.

John Still's men barely had time to recover from that setback when the hosts doubled their advantage. Teale was again the architect as he whipped in a dangerous ball from the left and Chris Sedgewick nodded it down for Clinton Morrison to mark his Wednesday debut with a neat shot on the turn that again gave Roberts no chance.

The hosts were now in total control and Roberts was twice forced into action to keep the visitors in it. He got down smartly to his right to deny Morrison in the 21st minute before then doing even better to tip a header from Marcus Tudgay over the bar eight minutes later.

But The Daggers weathered the storm to finish the half on top. Danger man Vincelot dragged a shot just wide from the edge of the area after a loose defensive header from Mark Beavers six minutes before the break while a free kick from an otherwise subdued Green was tipped to safety by home keeper Nicky Weaver in the final minute of the half.

The Daggers started the second period as they had finished the first with Tomlin going close in the opening minute of the half while Lewis then tested Weaver from 25 yards five minutes later.

But despite enjoying more of the possession the visitors rarely looked capable of stretching The Owls defence and the hosts never really looked like surrendering their advantage.

The Daggers hopes appeared to be all but over with more then twenty minutes still to play when Wednesday substitute Neil Mellor was sent clear by Coke but just as he looked certain to make it 3-0 captain Mark Arber was quickly across to block the former Liverpool strikers effort.

With time running out Still threw on Jon Nurse for Green while Josh Scott replaced the tiring Tomlin and the changes finally gave the Daggers some much needed attacking impetus.

Nurse could have put them right back in it with fourteen minutes remaining when a left wing corner from McCrory found the Wembley hero unmarked at the far post but his downward header bounced up and over the crossbar. Wednesday defender Beavers was then forced to head behind with Benson waiting to pounce following an inviting left wing cross from Gain.

It was Gain himself who came closest to setting up a frantic finale when his 81st minute chip from 25 yards had Weaver wrong-footed but the former Manchester City keeper frantically back-peddled to tip the ball to safety.

That proved to be The Daggers last chance. Tudgay was inches away from adding a third for the hosts with a late header that flew narrowly over the top but that would have been harsh on a Daggers side who showed they will be no push overs in League One this season.

Manager Still was satisfied with his teams performance if not the result. 'We were a little apprehensive in the first half which was understandable as most of the lads have never played in an atmosphere like that before. But we overcame that difficult fifteen minute spell in the first half to finish the game well which shows the character we have here.'

Away Att: 640

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