Daggers count cost of missed chances in Plymouth defeat
John Still’s men lose lead despite dominating Peter Reid’s side
GAVIN TOMLIN’S first league goal for Dagenham & Redbridge proved in vain on Tuesday night as they fell to defeat at fellow strugglers Plymouth Argyle.
Boss John Still could not have asked for a better time to travel to Home Park, with the Pilgrims having lost their previous four games, three of which were at home.
Plymouth had also braced themselves for their lowest fan turnout in years with supporter unrest growing by the game and pressure mounting on under-fire boss Peter Reid.
Daggers’ preparations were unsettled in the warm up when goalkeeper Chris Lewington pulled a muscle when practicing a routine kicking drill and had to be replaced by regular number one Tony Roberts, who is nearing full fitness after a groin strain.
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This also meant a surprise place on the bench for Damien McCrory against his old club, while Liverpool loanee Victor Palsson replaced Solomon Taiwo, who injured his back in training on Monday.
It was another replacement who made an instant impact however, when Medy Elito went on a dashing run down the wing and picked out Tomlin, starting in place of Jon Nurse, whose superb glancing left-foot shot flew into the net on nine minutes.
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New Zealand’s World Cup striker Rory Fallon was the first to test Roberts with a header, but Daggers remained on top and Tomlin nearly doubled the lead, but for a fine save from Romain Larrieu.
The former Yeovil Town man then curled a shot over the bar before the break as the hosts walked off to a rendition of “what a load of rubbish” from their fans.
The succession of spurned chances was ominous to travelling supporters who have seen leads surrendered more than once this season and their nerves soon became more frayed.
When on-loan Chelsea midfielder Conor Clifford lost the ball, Green played in Kayleden Brown who bore down on goal, but lashed a shot wide of the left-hand post.
French midfielder Romain Vincelot then seemed certain to score, only for his effort to be blocked by fellow countryman Stephane Zubar.
With the hosts devoid of ideas and League One top scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips innocuous, Reid replaced Fallon with Rory Patterson and changed the game.
Craig Noone levelled two minutes later having run past Will Antwi, before the Ghanaian international headed over when presented with a good chance to regain the lead.
Vincelot missed another chance and Green’s sprint down the right wing was followed by a low ball into the box, which the despairing Tomlin could not quite reach to turn into the net.
Predictably, Patterson was not as wasteful on 86 minutes when he blasted a winner past Roberts as the visitors sunk to the floor in dejection.
A dramatic equaliser was not forthcoming and Still’s men walked off the pitch knowing their impressive display was no consolation for moving six points adrift of safety at the bottom of the table.
Daggers: Roberts, Antwi, Arber, Vincelot, Ilefanmi, Green, Brown (Nurse, 72 mins), Palsson, Ogogo, Elito, Tomlin (Savage, 88 mins). Subs not used: McCrory, Currie, Bingham, Gain, Pinney.