Dagenham & Redbridge fail to Cash in on Matty’s first goal
PUBLISHED: 16:54 12 March 2016 | UPDATED: 16:54 12 March 2016
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Sky Bet League Two: Hartlepool United 3 Dagenham & Redbridge 1
Dagenham & Redbridge failed to capitalise on a first goal for Matty Cash as their League Two survival hopes suffered a major blow with defeat at Hartlepool United.
The visitors started slowly and were two down inside 20 minutes, but looked to be buoyed by scoring against the run of play.
Daggers started the second half brightly, but failed to capitalise on it before Pools struck their all-important third goal.
John Still made no changes for the visitors following Tuesday’s goalless draw at home to Carlisle United.
That meant Andre Boucaud retained both the armband and a starting berth in central midfield as Joss Labadie served the second of a two-game suspension.
Despite finding the post more often than the net in the past three games, Still kept the faith with Christian Doidge in attack after another tireless display against Carlisle.
The visitors were on the back foot in the opening minutes, culminating in Joe Widdowson bundling into the back of Luke James in the box in the fourth minute.
Referee Darren England pointed to the spot, with Daggers keeper Liam O’Brien sent the wrong why by Pools skipper Billy Paynter for the game’s opener.
Daggers continued to struggle finding a foothold in the match and fell further behind just nine minutes later.
Widdowson handled the ball out on the left flank, allowing Nathan Thomas to whip in a free kick that was nodded in by Jake Carroll to compound the visitors’ woe.
In terms of goalmouth action, it was mostly involving the end where O’Brien was positioned, with the keeper called into action in the 24th minute.
The ball broke to Hartlepool midfielder Thomas 25 yards out and he let fly first time, spinning a low effort that O’Brien comfortably saved.
Daggers were still coming under vast swathes of pressure, with Rob Jones next to go close in the 30th minute, narrowly heading wide from another Thomas free kick.
Having already set one up, Thomas clearly wanted to get on the scoresheet, forcing O’Brien into action again in two minutes later.
But Daggers were given a glimmer of hope less than 60 seconds later through Cash, who was making just his second start after joining on loan.
The Nottingham Forest youngster shot from a central position around 30 yards out with the ball speeding into the net to halve the deficit.
And the visitors perhaps should have been level just five minutes before half time when Doidge broke down the left.
The Welshman played the ball into Josh Passley, whose shot from close range, but his effort was cleared off the line by Carroll.
Passley continued to be a meance in the second half, seeing a half volley deflected narrowly wide in the 47th minute after good work on the right by Justin Hoyte.
The visitors had come out firing in the second half, with Doidge firing wide when he should have score after the ball broke to him inside the box five minutes later.
It would prove a costly miss as with the next attack, Hartlepool restored their two-goal advantage less than 60 seconds later.
Jake Gray went on a mazy run from his own half before firing low past O’Brien into the bottom right corner.
Daggers, though, were almost offered another route back in six minutes later when Boucaud played in Passley.
The right midfielder was one-on-one with Trevor Carson and looked odd on to score, but the goalkeeper pushed the effort away for a corner.
From the resulting set piece, the visitors kept the pressure up with Oliver Muldoon eventually crossing for replacement Oliver Hawkins, who headed wide.
Even though the game was in danger of petering out, Daggers went attacking in their search of a route back with Jamie Cureton replacing Boucaud.
The veteran striker went close 12 minutes from time, narrowly heading over from the six yard box after Cash had crossed from the right.
Hawkins was making a nuisance of himself in attack and with five minutes to go header Ashley Chambers’ corner at goal, but Carson was behind the effort.
With their inability to find the net again, Daggers slipped to a first defeat in three and nine points adrift of safety.
Hartlepool: Carson, Magnay, Bates, Jones (Jackson 46), Carroll, Featherstone (Walker 74), James, Gray (Bingham 82), Hawkins, Thomas, Paynter.
Unused subs: Bartlett, Oates, Woods, Richards
Daggers: O’Brien; Hoyte, Worrall, Dikamona, Widdowson; Passley, Boucaud (Cureton 67), Cash, Muldoon, Hemmings (Chambers 60); Doidge (Hawkins 56)
Unused subs: Cousins, McClure, Jones, Shepherd
Attendance: 3,947 (including 88 Daggers fans)
Referee: Darren England