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Match Report


Posted Wed 23 Feb 11 at 11:49 AM

Green Penalty Earns Daggers A Draw

Danny Green smashed home a second-half penalty to ensure a share of the spoils in an enthralling encounter against promotion hopefuls Huddersfield Town, writes Billy Taylor.

Tom Clarke gave the Terriers a well-deserved lead just before the half-hour mark, guiding the ball into the corner of the net after Joey Gudjonsson drilled a cross into the box following a short corner.

However, 15 minutes into the second half, Lee Peltier was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box after Jon Nurse tried to force a cross in. Winger Green stepped up and converted from 12 yards to the delight of the Daggers faithful.

Town boss Lee Clark was furious with the decision, but football has a habit of its decisions evening themselves out, and Daggers manager John Still was equally irate during the opening minutes when referee Graham Scott scandalously waved away penalty appeals after Romain Vincelot's header deflected off of the raised arm of Gudjonsson.

That early set-back riled the Daggers. Vincelot and Mark Arber both went close from a corner and free-kick respectively but failed to test goalkeeper Ian Bennett, making his return to the club.

Huddersfield began to settle; with pacey winger Anthony Pilkington causing young left-back Femi all sorts of problems down the right. A Danny Cadamarteri cross was met by the head of Chris Atkinson who forced a superb save from Tony Roberts, the veteran diving low to his right to deny the Terriers.

Just seconds later, Pilkington once again received the ball on the right, cutting in and beating several Daggers defenders before firing a shot which was saved by Roberts - the loose ball scrambled to safety.

The deadlock was eventually broken after 28 minutes. Clarke applied the finishing touch to a well-worked corner routine. The goal had been coming, and immediately after Still hauled off Femi and replaced him with Irish left-back Damien McCrory, aiming to tie-down Pilkington who was vastly influential in the majority of Terriers' attacks.

The Daggers responded well to going a goal down and were on the front foot for the rest of the half. Nurse had a chance to equalise at the back post but was unable to adjust his feet and get a shot away. Green received the ball 25 yards out and drilled a low shot just wide of the right hand post minutes later.

A high tempo and end-to-end first half was bought to an end with Huddersfield having created the more clear-cut opportunities, deservedly holding the 1-0 lead.

The opening minutes of the second half were quiet, with both sides probing. However, proceedings were once again bought to life 10 minutes in when a deep cross from right-back Jack Hunt was met on the volley at the back post by Gary Roberts, his effort cannoning off the foot of the post with namesake Roberts beaten.

The end-to-end action which had been so prominent during the opening 45 minutes was once again evident before the Daggers found the equaliser from the spot, much to the disgust of those seated in the Marcus James Stand.

The impetus was now with Still's side who were firmly in the ascendency. Nurse drilled a near-perfect cross into the box which marginally evaded a touch from either one of the onrushing pair of Darren Currie and Bas Savage.

There was movement on the benches, Lee Clark replacing the tiring Danny Cadamarteri with England youth international Benik Afobe before Still bought off Bas Savage for Marvin Morgan.

The Daggers kept up the onslaught on the Terriers goal, Arber turning and pulling the trigger only to see his shot rise over the bar before some fantastic play from defender Scott Doe at both ends. The youngster broke forward and fed Morgan down the right, only for his cross to be collected by Bennett, before chasing back to make an outstanding last-ditch challenge on Afobe who looked set to smash home.

Clark made a second substitution, former Ipswich Town man Jordan Rhodes thrown on in place of midfielder Chris Atkinson.

The action was becoming fast and furious with Afobe and Rhodes providing more pace through the middle. A Daggers corner, headed at goal by Arber, was saved well by Bennett before Town broke forward themselves. Afobe met Roberts' cross from the left but Roberts acrobatically tipped the ball over, another fantastic save.

The chance gave Huddersfield confidence we hadn't really seen since the first half. McCrory stood off of Roberts who hit a curling effort towards goal, hitting the post, before Afobe's follow up went narrowly wide. Substitute Rhodes collected the ball and ran at the Daggers backline and, as Arber stumbled, fired a shot which Roberts tipped wide at full-stretch.

The Daggers looked threatening on the counter attack in a truly frantic finale. A late Green corner led to a goalmouth scramble with the ball forced agonisingly against the bar, only for the Huddersfield defence to clear, allowing referee Scott to bring a halt to the game.

Fans of both sides could finally catch their breath after what was certainly one of the most entertaining games so far this season at the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham Stadium.

Both sides had the chances to earn all three points with the Daggers faithful probably slightly disappointed that they were unable to get the win after a terrific second-half performance.

Huddersfield stay in 3rd and the Daggers move to within 2 points of 20th place Swindon Town having played 3 games less. The game against Swindon at the County Ground on March 12th could be all-important in the fight for League One survival but with Plymouth's unfortunate points deduction, the plight of Still's side looks far more positive than it did just weeks ago.

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