Torquay United 1 Daggers 0
A goal from Lee Mansell five minutes before the break condemned the Daggers to another damaging defeat at Plainmoor on Tuesday evening, as a good performance was once again not enough to bring home any points.
This was the Daggers game in hand on the teams around them at the bottom, so it was an opportunity to move clear of the relegation zone, but the difference in form could not have been greater. While the Gulls had won every match of 2012, John Still's men were yet to taste victory since a 2-1 success against Gilligham on December 30th.
In a now all too familiar tale, the Daggers were on top for long periods, particularly in the first half, but were unable to turn their superiority into goals and points, and made the long trip home from Devon empty-handed.
Another recurring theme - injuries - had again played a part, as top scorer Brian Woodall and winger Dominic Green were both missing after picking up knocks in the weekend defeat at Crewe. But there was some good news as club captain Mark Arber returned after a long lay-off - Mickey Spillane moving into midfield - while Adam Cunnington was given an opportunity up front in place of Woodall.
After an uninspired start to the match, it was the Daggers who soon began to get on top. Cristian Montano fired an early chance wide, before Jon Nurse, who was only in the side after passing a late fitness, brought a smart save from Gulls' Austrian goalkeeper Robert Olejnik with a low drive from 20 yards.
Spillane came close twice in quick succession, as he first saw an effort roll agonisingly across the face of the goal following a corner from Montano in the 14th minute, before his 30 yard free kick flew into the grateful arms of Olejnik.
It look almost half an hour for the hosts to threaten - Kevin Nicholson shooting over the top after linking well with Mansell - while Danny Stevens then fired into the side netting.
But the Daggers came close again eight minutes before the break. Nurse did well down the left and his dangerous cross was cleared by a crucial intervention of defender Chris Robertson with Montano waiting to pounce.
Just how crucial that was became clear less than three minutes later. The Daggers failed to deal with a quick free kick down the right and the ball fell invitingly for Gulls' captain Mansell to smash home from the edge of the penalty area.
It could have been even worse for the Daggers - Stevens firing wide after a strong run soon after - but there was no denying that Still's side were unfortunate to be behind at the break.
The promotion-chasing Gulls finally began to show glimpses of the form that has seen them move into the play-off places in the second half, but chances at either end were at a premium.
However, it was the Daggers who came close to an equaliser just past the hour mark. Cunnington was fouled by Robertson 25 yards from goal and Spillane curled a wonderful free kick around the wall. But, unlike his effort at Burton just before Christmas, he was left frustrated this time by a scrambling save from Olejnik.
Despite the arrival of young Jake Reed from the bench - replacing Billy Bingham with fifteen minutes left - that proved to be the last chance for Still's men. In fact it was the hosts who came closest to sealing points in the closing stages.
Stevens brought a fabulous save from Lewington with nine minutes left, before substitute Taiwo Atieno then headed the resulting corner from Eunan O'Kane wide of the near post.
As the game moved into injury time Reed tried his luck with a shot from the edge of the area, but the ball flew harmlessly wide of Olejnik's right-hand post to leave the Daggers still rooted in the bottom two.
Attendance; 2,280 (39 away)