REPORT: Bristol Rovers 0 Dagenham & Redbridge 2
Danny Green and Romain Vincelot are on target, as Daggers win crucial ‘six-pointer’.
IT CERTAINLY wasn’t pretty, but the Daggers showed all their battling qualities to pick up a vital three points at the Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
A match that was low on quality turned in the visitors favour on the stroke of half time, when Jerel Ifil - brother of Dagenham right-back Phil – lunged at Romain Vincelot on the edge of the Rovers penalty area and received a straight red card for his troubles.
The home team’s misery was compounded when Danny Green lashed the resulting free-kick beyond a helpless Conrad Logan and into the top corner of the net.
Games turn on such moments and the east Londoners’ season could too.
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The result may well have been different had Rovers top scorer Will Hoskins made more of his 13th minute opportunity to add to his season’s tally of 15 league goals.
With the Daggers defenders expecting the referee to penalise Damien McCrory for a late challenge, Gavin Williams took advantage of their hesitation to send in a deep cross, met by the head of Danny Coles at the far post.
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The Rovers captain was denied expertly by Tony Roberts and the loose ball was struck straight at the veteran stopper by Rene Howe, but with Daggers still unable to clear, Hoskins could only poke the ball against the crossbar from point-blank range.
Daggers responded, going close twice within a minute, firstly through Solomon Taiwo who headed over Green’s cross when he should have hit the target and then through Mark Arber, but the skipper’s looping header nestled harmlessly onto the roof of the net.
It was a lacklustre first half, with both sides seemingly focused on not losing rather than winning, but on 44 minutes Green’s thumping 20-yard free-kick gave the visitors a half-time lead.
The home crowd were despondent and let their players know exactly what they thought of the first half performance, but Rovers responded well in the second period and were unfortunate not to level through Hoskins and Howe, as both had goals disallowed for offside.
The longer the contest went on without an equaliser, the more the confidence and belief visibly drained from the home side’s players and Daggers sensed their opportunity to claim a fourth win away from Victoria Road this season.
On 69 minutes, the outstanding Green exchanged passes with Ifil, before crossing for Jon Nurse, who volleyed over the crossbar.
Moments later, substitute Bas Savage fired low on the turn and was denied by Logan, but on 83 minutes the win was sealed.
Green’s corner found Vincelot inexplicably unmarked and the Frenchman headed home his tenth goal of the season, to earn Dagenham their first win in four games and boost their survival hopes.
It was a hard-fought win, but one they fully deserved and should Dagenham & Redbridge be successful in their pursuit of League One safety, they may look back to a windy afternoon in Bristol as the defining game in their season.