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Match Report


Posted Sat 10 Sep 11 at 16:56 PM

Rotherham gain revenge for Play off fina

The Daggers slumped to a second successive away league defeat at the Don Valley Stadium on Saturday, as they paid the price for some uncharacteristic first half defending, writes Ricky Butler.

Having conceded only once in their opening three away trips, the Daggers arrived in Sheffield on a high following their midweek penalty shoot-out success at Leyton Orient, but Andy Scott's free-scoring Rotherham started the day in third place and were looking for a bit of play-off revenge.

In a first meeting between the sides since that exciting meeting at Wembley last May, John Still's side showed two changes from the cup tie at Orient in midweek - goalkeeper Chris Lewington replacing Arsenal loanee James Shea, while Damien McCrory returned at left back in place of Oluwafemi Ilesanmi. Meanwhile captain Mark Arber and Jon Nurse both returned to the bench having missing the previous three matches due to illness and international duty respectively.

But it appeared Still's men were suffering from their midweek excursions in the early stages as The Millers started strongly. They almost grabbed the lead inside thirty seconds when new signing Alex Revell, on his home debut, met a right wing cross Marcus Marshall at the far post, but Lewington kept his header out.

However that only delayed the inevitable as the hosts did go in front seven minutes later. Again it was Marshall who created the danger with another superb delivery from the right, and the ball fell invitingly for Gareth Evans to drill under Lewington from 12 yards.

The Daggers were struggling to get a foothold in the match at this stage but they dug deep and slowly began to create some chances. Gavin Tomlin fired over from a tight angle in the 12th minute while only a great block from defender Tom Newey denied Sam Williams at the near post.

But the pressure finally paid off in the 21st minute as the visitors got themselves level. Abu Ogogo did well to win a corner down the right and Tomlin's delivery was perfect for Scott Doe to flick a near header past home goalkeeper Conrad Logan - his first-ever Daggers goal.

However, instead of creating a platform for them to go on and seize control, it merely stung the hosts into action instead. Within six minutes the dangerous Marshall had whipped in another pin-point cross from the right and Doe completed an unwanted double - glancing the ball past his own goalkeeper from close range with Lewis Grabban waiting to pounce.

It looked all over ten minutes later when the Millers took advantage of some more uncertain defending to hit a third. Tomlin's pass to Doe was woefully short and Evans nipped in to square for Grabban to smash past Lewington from 15 yards.

Still had seen enough and made changes during the interval in a bid to revitalise his team. Nurse came on for the ineffective Billy Bingham while Arber replaced Walsh at the back in a switch to a more conventional 4-4-2.

The next goal was always going to be crucial and it was the hosts who came close to getting it three minutes after the resumption - full back Dale Tonge hitting the top of the crossbar from 25 yards.

But the Daggers looked far more dangerous in a second period they dominated for long spells. They sensed a way back in when Oliver Lee hit bar from long range after mistake by Ryan Cresswell just past the hour mark, while Peter Gain then had an effort blocked by Michael Raynor.

Still's side were building up a head of steam now and a goal at this stage may well have set up a grandstand finale, but the nearest they came was a shot from Lee which brought a fine save from Logan, while Nurse then saw an effort deflected wide.

But the best chance of all fell to Doe fifteen minutes from time. In a repeat of his earlier effort he arrived to meet a Tomlin cross, but this time he could only direct his header wide of the right hand upright from close range, and the Daggers hopes of a late comeback evaporated.

Coach Wayne Burnett was in a philosophical mood at the end.

"It's always difficult coming here. We knew it would be a tough game and it turned out to be so," he said.

"Chris [Lewington] will be a little disappointed he did not get more on the first one, but they took their chances well and they are a strong team with some very, very good players. But in the end it was individual errors that have cost us.

"We had a big game in midweek and maybe it had taken a bit out of one or two. We have had a lot of players out but we're not looking for excuses," he added.

Despite scoring his first Daggers goal Scott Doe did not really feel in the mood to celebrate.

"Yes it is a relief to finally score," he said. "It was something like my 95th appearance today so it was long overdue, but I can't really think about that too much because of the result.

"It was our own fault for the goals, we let them cross it to easily. It's disappointing, especially after we pulled it back to 1-1, but we'll look forward to Tuesday night now."

With Oxford United the visitors, the Daggers have the perfect opportunity to bounce straight back.

Attendance 3,286 (118 away)

Pictures from the game can be viewed and purchased from www,

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