Dagenham & Redbridge battle hard for draw
PUBLISHED: 21:42 01 March 2016 | UPDATED: 21:42 01 March 2016
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SKy Bet League Two: Notts County 0 Dagenham & Redbridge 0
Dagenham & Redbridge fought hard for a draw at Notts County to offer a faint glimmer of hope in their bid to avoid relegation from League Two.
Both teams struggled in a game that was lacking quality, although there were pockets of play when the fixture came to life.
The point did at least allow the east Londoners to close the gap to safety to just seven ahead of Saturday’s crunch tie at home to York City.
Daggers made three changes from the defeat at home to Yeovil Town with Justin Hoyte, Oliver Hawkins and Matt McClure all dropping to the bench.
In their place came Ashley Chambers, Ashley Hemmings and Christian Doidge with Joss Labadie captaining the visitors against his former side.
Like the previous meeting between the sides in September, the game did not start like a classic and it took until the ninth minute for the first bit of goalmouth action.
Josh Passley saw County winger Jason Banton burst past him and into the box, but a superb last ditch challenge from Dom Hyam prevented Jon Stead from connecting with the ball.
Three minutes later and there was another let off for the visitors when Matt Richards looked to foul Ronan Murray from behind in the box.
By now, Daggers were on the back foot and needed Liam O’Brien to produce a simply outrageous save to deny Stead from close range in the 13th minute.
After briefly seeming to spark into life, the game then went quiet until eight minutes later when Daggers tested Scott Loach properly for the first time.
Oliver Muldoon burst down the left before crossing, with his ball taking a deflection on its way into the box.
Doidge was the only Dagger in the area and shot first time from the penalty spot with his weaker left foot, scuffing an effort that Loach could easily gather.
Five minutes later and it was Daggers under pressure with the ball dropping kindly to Adam Campbell on the edge of the area, but the County winger blazed over.
This was possibly the most action-packed period of the half so far, with Daggers having another shot in the 29th minute.
Hemmings received the ball in a central area 25 yards out from goal and tried his luck, but his effort was always curling wide of the left upright.
Two minutes later and the east Londoners went forward again, this time down the right through Passley.
The right back crossed first time, but his effort was heading towards goal rather than to a team mate and was nervously pushed away by Loach before being cleared.
Proceedings had now become somewhat end to end, with Daggers breathing a sigh of relief less than 60 seconds later when Armstrong narrowly curled an effort wide.
The visitors had the ball in the net with 12 minutes remaining the half when Doidge tucked home after Chambers’ initial effort was spilled, but the Welshman was offside.
Daggers continued to press forward before the break with Muldoon winning a corner that was headed just wide by Joe Worrall three minutes later.
With three minutes remaining in the half, Passley put another ball in from the right, but Hemmings’ tame header was comfortable for Loach.
Daggers continued that pressure into the second half, with Passley again crossing from the right four minutes after the restart, but Doidge struggled to get any purchase on his header.
Sadly the game regressed after that into a dull fixture with both sides working hard for little reward in the minutes that followed.
That saw the home fans become restless, and the visitors almost took full advantage with 19 minutes remaining.
A lovely interchange in midfield between Doidge and Chambers set up Passley from the edge of the area, but the defender’s effort was clutched at the second attempt by Loach.
Once more that seemed to spark things into life, with Hemmings testing Loach from distance five minutes later.
The hosts too were having one or two shots themselves, with Stead testing O’Brien from close range in the 81st minute.
With three minutes remaining, Passley put another superb delivery in from the right which was met by Doidge at the far post, but it was just clawed away by Loach and behind for a corner that was dealt with.
A late free kick from Richards was tipped onto the bar by Loach in the final minute of the match while Ashley Chambers also hit the woodwork in time added on, but Daggers were unable to find a way through as the match ended in a draw.
County: Loach, Adams, Hollis, Murray (Burke 88), Milsom (Noble 46), Thompson, Hewitt, Campbell, Banton (McLeod 78), Atkinson, Stead
Unused subs: Carroll, Smith, Sharpe, Audel
Daggers: O’Brien; Passley, Worrall, Hyam, Widdowson; Labadie, Muldoon (Hoyte 65), Richards; Chambers, Doidge, Hemmings
Unused subs: Cousins, Dikamona, Cureton, McClure, Hawkins, Jones, Hoyte
Attendance: 3,147 (including 81 Daggers fans)
Referee: Mark Haywood