Dagenham & Redbridge 1 Huddersfield Town 1
A CONTROVERSIAL second-half penalty earned the Daggers a point in a thrilling game with promotion-chasing Huddersfield.
The home side were denied what appeared to be a certain spot kick in the second minute, when referee Graham Scott waved away appeals after Romain Vincelot’s header was blocked by the hand of Joey Gudjonsson.
However, Scott appeased the Victoria Road crowd on 58 minutes, pointing to the spot after Lee Peltier was penalised for blocking Jon Nurse’s effort with his arm, despite the defender being just a few yards from the forward.
Danny Green made no mistake from 12 yards, to secure a well deserved draw from a match both camps felt they could have won.
The first clear cut chance of the match fell to the visitors on 14 minutes, when Danny Cadamarteri crossed for debutant Chris Atkinson, who forced a fine save from Tony Roberts and the loose ball was lashed over the crossbar by namesake Gary Roberts.
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Just a minute later Anthony Pilkington powered his way through virtually the entire Dagenham defence, but again was denied by keeper Tony Roberts.
On 28 minutes the visitors got the goal their potent attacking play deserved when Gudjonsson fired a low effort across goal that was helped in by Tom Clarke for his first goal of the season.
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The Huddersfield wide men, Gary Roberts and Pilkington, were devastating going forward and Daggers boss John Still spared left-back Femi Ilesanmi from further punishment, replacing him with Damien McCrory on the half hour.
While Lee Clark’s men were good value for their half-time lead, they hadn’t had it all their own way, with Green at the heart of the home side’s best efforts, forcing two smart saves from Ian Bennett.
The first half was a tense affair, with both sides made to work hard for goal-scoring opportunities, but the second half was an open, exciting contest with the pair desperate to record a much-needed win to aid their respective battles at the top and bottom of League One.
On 54 minutes Jack Hunt’s deep cross was met perfectly by the excellent Gary Roberts, but the former Ipswich man volleyed against the near post.
However, the game turned in Daggers favour three minutes later, with the award of the penalty that Green duly dispatched.
The goal lifted the home crowd and the players responded, with Vincelot and Mark Arber both going close, while at the other end defender Scott Doe made an excellent last ditch tackle to deny substitute Benik Afobe.
Both sides had chances to nick it in the final 10 minutes. First Arber forced a save with a header from Green’s corner, then Afobe was denied by a spectacular save from Tony Roberts.
With four minutes remaining Gary Roberts rattled the post for a second time, but the final chance fell to the home side deep into injury time, when Green’s free-kick led to a goalmouth scramble, which was poked wide by Marvin Morgan.
Despite both managers’ frustration at their respective teams failure to score a second goal, this was certainly a point gained for Still’s side rather than two dropped, as they moved to within two points from safety with games in hand on those around them.
Dag & Red: Roberts, Ogogo, Doe, Arber, Ilesanmi (McCrory 30), Green, Vincelot, Taiwo, Currie, Savage (Morgan 66), Nurse. Subs not used: Lewington, Tomlin, Ifil, Bingham, Walsh.