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Colin Munford at the Kassam Stadium
Saturday, December 14, 2013
League Two: Oxford United 2 Dagenham & Redbridge 1
Dave Kitson’s stoppage time header denied Daggers a point on their travels at table toppers Oxford.
James Constable’s eighth minute strike put the hosts in a lead they should have extended, but were hit by the sucker punch when Murphy netted his 11th of the season in first half stoppage time.
And it was a backs to the wall job for much of the second half but Wayne Burnett’s side made the journey home pointless again when Kitson slammed home a header in the second minute of stoppage time.
Suspension ruled out Scott Doe, while injuries to Medy Elito and Afolabi Obafemi meant starts for Luke Wilkinson, Reading loanee Lawson D’Ath and Josh Scott.
After a solid opening few minutes it was the hosts who began to press and goalkeeper Chris Lewington did well to tip behind Josh Ruffels’ effort after he’d jinked his way in off the left wing.
Rhys Murphy of all people diverted the resulting corner over the bar, but the league leaders did eventually break the deadlock as a ball across the box from Johnny Mullins found Constable who slotted past Lewington from six yards.
It was a sloppy start from the visitors and Wilkinson was dispossessed on the edge of the area by Dave Kitson, though no-one was able to get on the end of his dangerous delivery into the box.
Lewington again was called into action after some good link up down the left saw Ruffels and Kitson combine for Constable ton unleash another fierce effort on goal, which the Daggers stopper was able to hold.
Time in the Oxford half and been severely limited for the visitors, with Zavon Hines forcing the first save for home goalkeeper Ryan Clarke to make, as he got down well to keep a 20-yard shot out.
The Daggers did manage to regroup and looked more comfortable as the half wore on.
A lovely chipped ball over the top from Rhys Murphy found the run of D’Ath but Clarke was able to gather, though it did look as though the U’s keeper was outside the area.
But against the run of play the Daggers did level and it was that man Murphy who came to the rescue once again.
With the ball on the left hand edge of the area he delicately lofted the ball over Clarke and into the top right hand corner for his 11th of the campaign.
It was a much better start to the second half from Burnett’s side, with a great run from Hines, coming in off the left, but his end product was poor, with his shot blocked and subsequently cleared.
Oxford began to up the tempo once again and a good piece of play saw Kitson find Constable who played the ball across for Williams, however Femi Ilesanmi got a great block in to deny the goalbound effort.
D’Ath was showing his attacking intent, regularly going beyond Murphy down the centre and he almost got on the end of a lovely throughball, only for Clarke to just beat him to the ball.
The hosts certainly looked the more likelier to go on and find a winner, but to their credit the Daggers defence, led by Saah, managed to head and clear most things away from danger.
Constable managed to find time and space in the box with 10 minutes remaining but directed a header straight at a thankful Lewington.
And just as the Daggers looked to be on the verge of sealing a point, Kitson thumped home a close range header to deny Wayne Burnett’s side as they fell to their third 2-1 away defeat of the season.
Oxford United: Clarke, Hunt, Mullins, Wright, Newey, Williams (Smalley 84), Hall, Rose, Ruffels (Rigg 67), Kitson, Constable (Raynes 92)
Unused substitutes: Davies, Marsh, Crocombe, Long.
Dagenham & Redbridge: Lewington, Ilesanmi, Wilkinson, Saah, Hoyte, Ogogo, Howell, D’Ath, Hines, Murphy, Scott (Dickson 84).
Unused substitutes: Seabright, Connors, Shields. Saunders, Edgar.
Attendance: 4,901 (194 Daggers fans)