A late Rene Howe penalty denied the Daggers 3 points and Wayne Burnett his first home win as the game finished in a 2-2 draw
After manager Wayne Burnett’s first win for the club Saturday there was only one change to the starting eleven, Billy Bingham
replacing Kevin Maher
in the midfield.
The visitors, who have lost eight of the last nine, also only opted for one change after a 3-1 home defeat to the hands of Oxford United, Kevin Nicholson making way for Thomas Cruise a fellow ex-Arsenal youth product like Daggers skipper Abu Ogogo
and Gavin Hoyte.
It was Burnett’s men who took were first in on goal after Torquay skipper, Lee Mansell, headed back and Daggers captain Abu Ogogo
took advantage. However, the home sides’ leader was pulled down by last man Aaron Downes and referee Kevin Stroud sent the Gulls centre half off with just four minutes on the clock. Up stepped Medy Elito
, who had found himself in a newly found central forwards role, confidently placed home to send the home fans into raptures, 1-0.
Caretaker manager Alan Knill instantly made a change bringing on Angus MacDonald for Elliot Benyon. As Daggers started taking control of possession thanks to the advantage of the extra man, in the 16th minute Elito was found on the right hand side and cut in to send an in swinging cross towards Josh Scott
. The forward managed to steer a looping header towards the top right hand corner and it looked as if it was going in, but Gulls keeper Michael Poke pulled off a spectacular save to tip it over the bar.
Torquay did manage to muster an attempt after a free kick from Cruise on the right found Ryan Jarvis who’s header bounced comfortably into Chris Lewington
In the 23rd minute Daggers should have increased their lead, Scott this time was found in the right side channel and crossed to pick out the unmarked Bingham at the back post. The left midfielder just had to pick his spot but his resulting attempt ended just wide of the top left corner, let off for Torquay frustration for Daggers and mainly Bingham.
Despite Daggers having two brilliant chances scuppered, they were still in charge of the match but failed to create any clear cut chances. Despite a Saunders corner finding Scott Doe
at the near post that was flicked into the side netting the half fizzled out at 1-0 to the home side.
Start of the second half and Burnett’s team talk had had an impact on his players who flew out of the blocks looking to kill the game off. Three minutes in Scott found Medy from the left but Daggers number 12 could only slide in and put it wide.
A minute later and this time Oluwafemi Ilesanmi found Elito with time in the box, however Medys bending effort into the bottom right corner just goes wide and another good chance goes missingWith the home side missing good chances, the relegation battlers started to apply pressure on the Daggers defence and as the snow started falling in Dagenham so did the Daggers play as the nerves started to show.
A resulting free kick from the pressure, in the 70th minute, is crossed in from the left hand side is crossed in by Cruise and finds the towering figure of Brian Saah who must have thought his header was in. But Lewington had other ideas and pulled off a spectacular save which resulted in a Gulls corner. Mansell corner found the presence of Saah again who put it back into the six yard box for Joss Labadie to tap in, 1-1.
Four minutes later and Knills men pushed to take the lead. This time a Joe Oastler cross finds Bodin whose headed attempt falls at the feet of Lewington with no problem.
Ryan Jarvis was replaced by Lloyd Macklin as Torquay looked to go for a winner, and it was that man who was involved in the away side’s next chance. The lively Bodin found the substitute with a great ball in behind the Daggers defence but a last ditch sliding tackle from Femi
kept the scores level.
In the 82nd minute Torquay received a free kick on the edge of the Daggers box and Labadie stepped up fancying his second of the match. With his bending effort having Lewington scrambling across but was relieved to just see the stanchion wobbling.
Despite the fight of the relegation battlers the next chance fell to the home side, Saunders whipped a cross from the right of the box and it found Scott free at the back stick who’s diving header was fired into the net to give Burnett’s men the lead again in the 85th minute, 2-1.
But the relegation battlers didn’t give up and with only a few minutes left on the clock were rewarded with a penalty after Luke Wilkinson
brought down substitute Macklin in the box. Up stepped Rene Howe who sent Lewington the wrong way for his 15th of the season and a vital point for the Gulls.
Dagenham & Redbridge: Lewington, Ilesanmi, Doe, Wilkinson, Hoyte, Saunders, Howell (Strevens 69), Ogogo, Bingham (Green 80), Elito, Scott.
Substitutes not used: Seabright, Reed, Maher, Dennis, Gracco.
Attendance: 1,227 (124 Torquay fans)