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Match Report


Posted Mon 19 Dec 11 at 13:14 PM

Daggers battle to get a point

A superb free kick from Mickey Spillane ensured the Daggers ended a run of nine consecutive league defeats at The Pirelli Stadium on Saturday, although they were a little disappointed not to have come away with all three after dominating for large periods, writes Ricky Butler.

However, their great performance, possibly the best of the season, was overshadowed by the sendings off of Abu Ogogo and coach Wayne Burnett just prior to the hour mark. 'From where I was the reaction of the Burton players made it worse,' said Daggers assistant manager Terry Harris. 'I think the tackle was a yellow at most. If the Burton players hadn't got involved it's a yellow and we get on with it. We were not overly happy with their reaction but these things happen. Wayne (Burnett) just went to get Abu (Ogogo) off the pitch so I'm not really sure what's happened there,' he added.

The Daggers side showed just one change from the gruelling penalty shoot-out success at Walsall in midweek - Cristian Montano replacing Jon Nurse, who dropped down to the bench. Albion have enjoyed a fine start to the season and they began the day in the play-off places, but, after a slow start, it was John Still's strugglers who soon gained control.

In fact it was hard to tell which side were bottom of the league and which were in the top six in a first half largely dominated by the impressive visitors. The first chance arrived after just six minutes when Kevin Maher fired over from the edge of the penalty area after good work from Peter Gain down the left, while a dangerous cross from Montano was then cleared away by Brewers captain John McGrath with Brian Woodall waiting to pounce.

The Daggers front three of Woodall, Montano and Josh Scott were linking well and it almost brought them the opening goal in the 16th minute. Scott and Montano did well down the right to create the opportunity for Woodall to shoot just wide of the far post. Meanwhile, another flowing Daggers move saw Montano find Ogogo on the left, but his shot curled just wide side of the far post with goalkeeper Ross Atkins beaten.

But Still's men did go in front in the 25th minute, although the goal came from a very unlikely source. Woodall was fouled on the edge of the area by Adam Bolder and Mickey Spillane stepped up to curl a wonderful free kick over the wall and into top left-hand corner of Atkins net - a marvellous way for the Brentford loanee to open his Daggers account.

'I take free kicks in training so I fancied having a go, and luckily it went in,' said a happy Spillane afterwards. Still's side continued to dominate and it should have 2-0 eight minutes later when only a fine point-blank save from Atkins denied Scott, after some more great play from Montano and Woodall down the left.

It took the Brewers until nine minutes before the break to finally test Chris Lewington, as Calvin Zola got in behind the Daggers back line, but his effort was cleared away by Scott Doe, and the visitors were fully deserving of their half time advantage.

The second period began with the Daggers still in the ascendancy, and Scott was denied by Atkins again within three minutes of the resumption, but all their good work was undone in the 53rd minute. A corner from the left by Cleveland Taylor should have been dealt with by the Daggers defence, but Zola rose above Spillane to send a looping header beyond Lewington and into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

Despite being the better team, the Daggers hopes of leaving with a even a point were dealt a blow five minutes later when a match that been simmering suddenly boiled over. The tackle by Ogogo on Webster was late but in no way malicious, and did not warrant the reaction of some of the Burton players. Some ran 20 yards to get involved and grabbed Ogogo around the neck as mayhem ensued.

Burnett was quickly on the scene to ensure Ogogo left the pitch safely, but referee Lewis took exception to his actions and sent him to the stands as well. So while Ogogo was shown red, one of the Burton offenders, Stanton, was given a yellow card, while others escaped punishment completely. Once the drama had died down the Daggers were forced into a rearguard action to hold on for the point.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, and the fact they had played extra time in midweek, they kept the hosts at arms length, even after top scorer Billy Kee was introduced as a 71st minute substitute. In fact the nearest the Brewers came to an undeserved winner was a cross from the right by Kee that struck the far post eight minutes from time.

'Yes, I am very happy,' said Harris. 'We've had a tough week so to come here and take the game to them like that was excellent. This system (4-3-3) works better for us. We can play the ball up to the front three and they can hold it up.' When asked about the precarious position the club still find themselves in, he said, 'Yes, we still in trouble, but we have 20 plus games to go so we've got time. We've had a terrible couple of months but we are coming out of that now.''

Captain Scott Doe was equally buoyant. ''It was a very tough game from the start but was a good point away to a side who are much higher than us in the league. We dealt with the late pressure very well, although it was disappointing to concede another soft goal. If we had someone on the near post he would have cleared it, so it is something we need to work on.'

'The last week has been good for us. We beat Walsall and have dominated again today. I can feel a lot of confidence in the team because of these results and the only way is up now.'

Asked about the controversial sending off of Ogogo, he said, 'I don't think it was a red card. I think he got sent off by the reaction of the other players, which is a shame. To be fair to Abu he walked away after the tackle and did not want to get involved.'

Not being involved is something he may have to get used to, as he now faces a suspension over the vital Christmas period.

Attendance; 2,658 (96 Away)

Match Photographs are available on DaggersPics, click here

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