On such a wet, blustery night, it was good to see a decent crowd at Dean
Court for this top-of-the-table clash. But if they were hoping to see decent
football, they were to be disappointed, at least in the first half.
The Cherries were forced to make changes from the Macclesfield game, with
Robinson taking the place of the suspended Bradbury at right back and Igoe
returning after injury.
It soon became apparent that the swirling wind was going to be a major
factor on the night, though neither side helped themselves by keeping the
ball on the deck. After prolonged bouts of aimless head tennis and misplaced
passes, the home side finally managed to work the ball to Igoe on the left
wing, but his excellent cross was fluffed by Feeney.
At the other end, the game's first bit of skill saw Benson tee up Currie for
a shot that went narrowly over.
When we could get the ball to him, our most promising attacking option was
Feeney on the right flank, but no real chances accrued from his trickery. In
fact, Jalal was the busier of the two keepers, and it took a brilliantly
timed tackle by Bartley inside our box to thwart the visitors.
Plenty of endeavour by both sides, but half time came with the Cherries not
having had a single shot and the Daggers only marginally better in that
Fortunately, somewhat better fare was offered in the second half, with
neither defence as dominant as in the first. Once again the best chances
fell to the visitors, particularly from corners, and Jalal was kept busy. A
number of last-ditch blocks were required to keep the score goalless and the
away side managing to miss a sitter.
At the other end, we at last had a shot on target with Roberts saving
comfortably from Robinson. The Daggers' keeper had more to do mid-way
through the half when he reacted smartly to keep out a deflected effort from
the otherwise disappointing Pitman.
As usual, Fletcher replaced Connell with 20 minutes to go. This was greeted
with loud cheers from the home fans - not that Connell had been having bad
game. However, in his 700th league game, the Big Man's most significant
contributions were in helping out an increasingly beleaguered defence as the
visitors began to play some joined-up football.
With the introduction of McQuoid late on, it was the Cherries turn to put
pressure on the Dagenham defence, but the momentum was lost when Pitman
wasted a number of corners by failing to allow for the wind. When a good
delivery was forthcoming, Pearce headed over when well placed.
In the end, we did well to get a point from this game, as the well-organized
visitors finished the stronger. Although he had a good game at full back, we
needed Robinson in midfield. Hollands and Bartley grafted all night, but
never created much. How we could do with a fit Molesley with his surging
runs! But on the positive side, a clean sheet and we're still top of the
Jalal 7 - handled well and made a couple of vital saves
Robinson 7 - not his best position, but defended well
Cummings 6 - generally solid performance
Pearce 8 - MOM - a tower of strength as usual
Garry 6 - generally sound
Igoe 6 - did OK for first game back
Bartley 7 - combative performance
Hollands 6 - worked hard without a lot to show for it
Feeney 6 - some good runs, but faded later
Connell 6 - some clever touches
Pitman 5 - can't be brilliant very time!
Fletcher 7 - showed his defensive usefulness
McQuoid 7 - made things happen
AFCB: Jalal, Robinson, Garry, Pearce, Cummings, Feeney, Bartley, Igoe, Hollands, Pitman, Connell
Subs: Thomas, Goulding, Partington, Fletcher (for Connell, 68 mins), McQuoid (for Feeney, 79 mins)
Ellis Griffin, Chertsey