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Match Report


Posted Sun 07 Aug 11 at 17:50 PM

Daggers Open with a Win

A single second half strike from Medy Elito was just enough to give ten-man Daggers the perfect start to their League Two campaign at Moss Rose on Saturday.

The former Colchester United winger was on hand to knock the ball home from close range after skipper Mark Arber had headed a left wing free kick from Gavin Tomlin back across the six yard box on the hour.

But it took a desperate late rear guard action to secure the points following the controversial sending off of goalkeeper Chris Lewington twelve minutes from time. Referee Dean Whitestone produced a red card after he ruled the young Daggers stopper had deliberately handed outside his penalty area when racing off his line to deny Ross Draper.

For their first match back in League Two after a one year hiatus in the dizzy heights of League One, manager John Still gave club debuts to ex-Lincoln midfielder Luke Howell and former Yeovil striker Sam Williams, while Elito and Ollie Lee returned to the side after successful loan spells last season.

The Daggers started well and were close to taking an eighth minute lead when Howell did well on the edge on the Silkmen penalty area but his shot was too close to home keeper Jose Veiga who saved with ease.

Still's men appeared in control for much of the first half but without ever really looking like making the breakthrough. Jon Nurse shot wide following good work from Elito down the right but that was a rare opportunity for the Daggers in a low-key opening forty-five minutes. In fact it was only the reflexes of Lewington that insured the Essex club went in at the break on level terms as he kept out a close range header from home captain Nat Brown.

The Daggers came out looking far more dangerous at the start of the second period, with both Howell and Lee having efforts blocked, before Elito made the breakthrough - touching home from close range after Arber headed Tomlin's free kick back across the goal fifteen minutes after the resumption.

That led to a good spell from the visitors as they looked to seal the points, with Williams in particular looking sharp on his debut, but it was Lewington who came to their rescue again eight minutes later with a superb block to deny home substitute Emile Sinclair.

The Daggers front two of Nurse and Williams then combined well only for Veiga to deny the ex-Yeovil man a debut goal, before Lewington distinguished himself once again with a wonderful save from a close range Ben Tomlinson volley.

But that proved to be his last meaningful contribution. When Arber ducked out of a long ball over the top twelve minutes from time Lewington had to race off of his line to block efforts from first Sinclair and then Draper, but referee Whitestone ruled he had handled outside the area and showed the distraught young keeper a red card.

Goalscorer Elito made way for Shea to make his Daggers debut in goal as the hosts sensed a way back into the match, but despite a late rally the Arsenal loanee was rarely tested as Still's side defended well to hold on for all three points.

''Obviously the first game away from home is always going to be difficult, especially as we have had to chop and change things around due to the injuries,'' said the Daggers boss after the game.

''We've had problems in midfield but some of the injuries are just short term, so getting Ollie (Lee) in has helped. The defence has been the one area we have been able to work on and they were superb today,'' he added.

''With the injuries we have had the group out their today was all we had but they showed they are Daggers which is what we ask.''

''We have lost some good players in the summer, some goal-scoring players, and we have to work hard in training to replace those goals. But we feel we can do that. We have some decent options when everyone is fit but there is a long, hard season in front of us and it was a good battling away performance.''

Attendance; 1,566 ( ??? away)

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