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Match Report


Posted Sun 04 Mar 12 at 14:17 PM

Daggers 1-0 Bradford


Matthew Saunders completed a superb week for the Daggers with the goal that won a hard fought match, writes Jack Steggles.

And what a cracker it was - a scorching free kick from 25 yards to give John Still's men a second straight win and a haul of seven precious points from three matches.

But Saunders damaged an ankle as he unloaded his match winner and the Daggers are sweating on his fitness for Tuesday's trip to leaders Swindon - and a re-union with old boy Paul Benson.

A lot of work has been done since the 5-0 mauling by Cheltenham two weeks earlier. And on the evidence of recent encouraging displays it is clearly paying off.

A re-organised back four - with Mickey Spillane at centre-half, Scott Doe at right-back and Damien McCrory replacing Femi on the other flank - looks much more solid.

Josh Scott, who has suffered a horrendous season with injury, is now getting back to his best and so is Medy Elito. So Still no longer has to patch up and send out players not really ready for the job.

In their current situation the Daggers can't afford to carry passengers. They need 100% from every player - and they got that here. Although recent results have given everyone a lift there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure survival in League Two.

Bradford arrived in town on a good run, with only one defeat in seven matches. And they had no intention of doing the home side any favours.

Bradford full-back Matt Fry set his stall out in the opening minutes, with a lunging challenge on Doe that earned his a booking. And they caused an early scare with a mad goalmouth scramble from a corner that the Daggers somehow managed to get clear.

The visitors also had the best chance of the first half when Lee Bullock, given a free header from a left-wing cross, put the ball over the top. He should have done better and he Daggers were grateful he did not.

At the other end Doe fired a ball across the face of goal with no one able to get the vital finishing touch and Jon Nurse and skipper Mark Arber headed over.

The Daggers got on top when Brian Woodall replaced Ben Reeves with an hour gone and they made the vital breakthough in the 71st minute with Saunders wonder strike when the Daggers won a free kick to the left of the penalty area.

McCrory dummied over the ball, leaving Saunders to lash it home with an explosive shot. But he turned an ankle doing it and was carried back to the dressing room by two of the medical staff.

Bradford hit back in a bid to get something from the game. But the Daggers held out and twice went close to increasing their lead through Woodall.

One shot from the lively striker was stopped by keeper John McLaughlin's outstretched leg, another brought a full length save.

Things are most certainly looking up. But the Daggers are still a long way from safety and have to keep the good work going.

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