Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Daggers 0-0 Plymouth Argyle, Howell Did We Not Score?|

Dagenham & Redbridge's wait for three points and indeed a goal continued on Tuesday night as they were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw at home to Plymouth Argyle. Despite the result, the home side were easily the better side and but for a lack of composure in front of goal, would have come away with all three points.

Before the game I was pessimistic as per usual, I thought this was fair enough as our record against Plymouth in the league was poor at best. There was some positives to take with the fact that the pilgrims lost by a larger margin than us at the weekend, and I felt as though we would have the better team. After meeting Chaz & Bill, I headed into the ground with my plush new season ticket at the ready.

Just as I got in the team's were announced as follows...

Dagenham & Redbridge: Lewington, Hoyte, Doe, Spillane, Femi, Howell, Bingham, Ogogo, Elito, Woodall, Gayle. Subs: Seabright, Wilkinson, DJ Green, Williams, Scott, Reed, Dennis.

John Still opted to keep the exact same squad of 18 that lost 2-0 at Cheltenham on the weekend which also meant the 4-3-3 formation would be unchanged as well.

Plymouth Argyle: Cole, Blanchard, Purse, Bhasera, Nelson, Hourihane, Young, Wotton, Gurrieri, Chadwick, Lecointe. Subs: Chenoweth, Williams, Soukouna, Lennox, Gorman, Cowan-Hall, Feeney.

Carl Feltcher brought Luke Young into the side following the defeat at the weekend, a change which meant Johnny Gorman was forced onto the bench. Young would be starting on the right hand side whilst Gurrieri switched to the left to accomodate the decision. Conor Hourihane, who scored one of the best goals I've ever seen at Victoria Road last season would also be starting once more.

With kick off fast approaching an impressive number of Plymouth fans began to enter the stadium, whilst the Sieve was filling up nicely too. The time approached 19:45 and the teams were led out by Mr Graham Scott, who prior to this encounter had been in charge of five Daggers games, none of which the Daggers had been defeated in - a good omen perhaps?

After all of the pleasantries, the referee finally blew his whistle and we were off. Despite a slow start within the opening five minutes, the home side began to get on top slightly as both Billy Bingham & Medy Elito delivered good looking crosses into the box that were dealt with well by the Plymouth defence. Soon after and the away side probably had their best spell of the match, in which Gurrieri & Chadwick's efforts both cleared the crossbar harmlessly.

From the first set piece of the game, the home side were given the chance to test Jake Cole between the sticks. Billy Bingham whipped in a delightful ball that fell nicely for Abu Ogogo, however the converted midfielder could only contrive to fire over the bar. Bingham was continuing to look like a threat as yet another good ball into the box went to waste, with no player from the home side able to latch on to it.

With just over 20 minutes gone though, a superb move from the Daggers nearly saw the opening goal of the game. Mickey Spillane picked up the ball in his own half before completing a terrific piece of skill that allowed him to chip a ball forward to the onrushing Gayle. The forward took a wonderful diagonal touch on his chest to fool the defence before lashing it towards the roof of the net - unfortunately though Jake Cole was equal to it with his left palm and made a fantastic save to prevent Gayle scoring his first Daggers goal.

Minutes later and the 22 year old almost scored once more, this time though Cole was equal to his header from another pin-point Billy Bingham ball in. With 28 minutes played, Curtis Nelson sythed straight through the back of Abu Ogogo in an attempt to stop the ball going out for a throw in. The challenge probably looked worse than it was considering it looked as though Ogogo slipped on the ball as well - both players were dually booked, Abu could consider himself a little hard done by there I would have thought.

The two sides traded shots once more after the exchange between Ogogo & Nelson, as both Wotton and the aforementioned Ogogo had opportunities saved at either end. Just as we approached half time Luke Howell spurned a wonderful chance to give the home side the lead going into the break. Gavin Hoyte got down the right hand side before flashing a ball across the six yard box that was begging to be turned home, Howell though got his angles all wrong and sailed past the delivery to everyone's frustration.

The final chance of the half though went to Plymouth and in particular 17 year old Matt Lecointe whose low shot went agonisingly wide of the post - that was to be his last involvement in the game as he was taken off for former Woking striker Paris Cowan-Hall at half time.

Going into half time though and I was extremely pleased given that we were dominating the game in all areas. The only thing stopping us from taking the lead was a lack of clinical finishing combined with a gold medal performance from goalkeeper Jake Cole, who was doing his hardest to impress Team GB rower Greg Searle who was in the crowd. With the amount of attempts we'd had, surely it would only be a matter of time...

As the second half begun, Luke Young was quickly booked for a poor challenge that had pulses, and in particular Mickey Spillane racing over to the referee. That was followed by Mickey firing a tame free kick towards Jake Cole who saved with ease, whilst Sam Williams was soon introduced for Brian Woodall once more - a substitution that is becoming increasingly common early on in the second half.

After that change the onslaught began once more as Luke Howell fired a shot just wide of the right hand post to unsettle Jake Cole. With half an hour to go though the Daggers cranked up the pressure even more as the influential Sam Williams cut inside the box and fired a powerful ball across the face of goal that no one was able to get on the end of. Yet more frustration in the Sieve as the home side failed to convert another good opportunity.

Carl Feltcher then opted to make his second change, bringing off waining striker Nick Chadwick for Warren Feeney. The substitution though did nothing to relieve the pressure as the home side continued to attack, this time dangerman Gayle floated a header just wide of the far post to leave heads in hands once more. Scott Doe & Luke Howell were the next two to try their luck, the former saw his shot go wide of the post whilst Blanchard blocked the latter's attempt.

With 70 minutes played the Daggers made an attacking change with Luke Howell withdrawn for the energetic Danny J Green who could use his pace to both support the attack and backtrack to help out the defence in the closing stages.

Lewington Tested
Try as the home side might, they simply just couldn't find the breakthrough. Danny J Green was thwarted once more by Cole late on, whilst several crosses into the Plymouth box were dealt with admirably. The away side came on stronger in the final five minutes though as they tested Lewington from a free kick, and with Cowan-Hall's late attempt that was quite time.

Despite the best efforts and a performance that saw the Daggers dominate throughout, the referee blew his whistle to signal the end to a frustrating encounter. Whilst I would have taken a point before the match, it now seems like two points dropped rather than one gained. Plymouth fans on the other hand will be delighted with the point and disappointed with the performance as their side never really turned up.

Positives to take from the game are that Dwight Gayle looks immense and it's surely only a matter of time before he finds the back of the net. Billy Bingham had an exceptional game, whilst Femi, despite his poor crossing continues to look assured at left back. Mickey Spillane continues to prove to us why he's one of the best defenders in the division, meanwhile Sam Williams is clearly pushing for a start at the weekend against Gillingham.

As for Plymouth, I don't want to sound patronising, but I seriously worry for them after that display. We'll be mid table come the end of the season I think and we gave them a hammering, as I've said, Jake Cole had a sensational game. I think they'll be safe be the end of the season, but they need to drastically improve.

Plymouth fans at Home Park
My last word, as always when we play Plymouth goes to the Green Army. To bring 545 supporters away on a Tuesday evening to a ground 253 miles away really is something special, whilst there are a number of London based supporters it is still fantastic. As always I wish Plymouth the best of luck for the rest of the season and I hope they do us some favours along the way!

As for Dagenham, next up for us is Gillingham at home on Saturday, where not only will we be hoping for our first win...we'll be hoping for our first goal of the new season!

Remember to follow me on Twitter, @NickDRFCMurphy is what you'll need.


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