The eager young Daggers faced their biggest test of the season so far – and came through it with flying colours.
Rochdale arrived at Victoria Road as league leaders and with the impressive record of eight wins from their last nine games.
But they were cut down to size by three superb goals, with the impressive Medy Elito
scoring twice and Rhys Murphy
grabbing his eighth goal of the season
Wayne Burnett is doing a great job as manager, moulding the Daggers into a real force to be reckoned with. And he was full of praise for his players after what must rank as their best win of a promising campaign.
“I’m absolutely delighted with the result, because Rochdale are the best team we have played by some distance,” said Burnett.
“The players worked hard to stick to our game plan and I could not have asked for more from them.
“It was fantastic result from a young team who play without fear. Things are going well, but it is still work in progress and won’t get carried away.”
It all ended well, but could have started disastrously for the Daggers, with Rochdale going close after just ten seconds.
Straight from the kick off they carved the home side open and Jamie Allen beat Chris Lewington
with a shot that scraped the crossbar and went over.
The Daggers made the most of that by taking the lead with a well made goal in the ninth minute. Elito threaded a pass to Murphy, whose crisp finish beat Rochdale keeper Josh Lillis on his near post.
Rochdale created another opening midway through the first half, when George Donnelly made space for a shot with Lewington out of his goal but was way off target.
Elito doubled the Daggers six minutes after the break with brilliant opportunism as a long clearance from Lewington landed in the Rochdale half.
Murphy, coming back from an offside position, made no attempt to play the ball so remained inactive. The Rochdale defence left it for Lillis to deal with – but Elito surged past them, got there before the keeper and hooked it over him and into the net.
The Daggers went through a sticky spell after Gary Dicker put Rochdale back in it, scoring from close range in a goalmouth scramble, with a linesman deciding the ball had crossed the line.
But with the game deep in injury time Elito made sure of the points that lifted his team into eighth place in the table with a low left footer from the edge of the area.
Lewington, Doe, Saah, Bingham, Elito, Ogogo, Murphy, Howell, Hoyte, Connors, Hines
Subs: Seabright, Ilesanmi, Scott, Obafemi, Dickson, Shields, Gayle
1,742 (180 away)