Daggers now four points adrift of safety after Northampton reverse
League Two: Dagenham & Redbridge 0 Northampton Town 1
Dagenham & Redbridge moved four points adrift of safety with a narrow defeat to relegation rivals Northampton in a crunch game at the bottom of League Two.
Toni Silva, on loan from Liverpool, struck the vital goal on 62 minutes to ease the Cobblers relegation fears and leave Daggers’ Football League status hanging by a thread.
Boss John Still handed debuts to defender Mathieu Baudry and midfielder Josh Parker, while Chris Lewington was recalled in goal and Luke Howell started after six months out with a knee injury.
The much-changed Daggers side took a while to settle, with Northampton firmly on the front foot in the opening exchanges.
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Michael Jacobs burst past three defenders on the left flank, but was denied a shot at goal by a last-ditch tackle from the ever-reliable Michael Spillane.
Adebayo Akinfenwa, who used his large frame to his full advantage all night, was just inches wide with a speculative shot from the outside of his right foot.
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But Daggers slowly found their feet and Brian Woodall tested the handling of keeper Matt Duke, while Spillane volleyed wide after Northampton had failed to clear a free-kick.
But Northampton regained the ascendancy and dominated through to half time.
Daggers, to their credit, defended well against the various ways Northampton looked to score.
Silva exploded into the life on the right and drew an excellent save from keeper Lewington, then set up Akinfenwa who fired over, but should have done better from 12 yards.
On the stroke of half time skipper Mark Arber got on the end of McCrory’s free-kick, but his half volley was brilliantly pushed over the top by keeper Matt Duke.
After a first half full of chances, the second period took a long time to spark into life, but with the first real effort of the half Northampton took the lead.
Jacobs fierce low shot was parried across goal by Lewington and Silva was well placed to tap in the loose ball.
Spillane and the lively Parker shot wide soon after the goal, as Daggers desperately tried to claw their way back into the game.
But with Northampton firmly camped inside their own half in the final 10 minutes, Daggers were unable to break them down.
Parker went close with a header deep into stoppage time, but Duke saved to condemn the home side to their third straight defeat.
Daggers: Lewington, Spillane, Baudry, Arber, McCrory, Parker, Ogogo, Howell, Elito (Green 76), Nurse, Woodall (Edmans 70). Subs not used: Bond, Rose, Bingham.
Northampton: Duke, Johnson, Carlisle, Langmead, Adams, Silva (Williams 75), Tozer, Harding, Jacobs, Guttridge, Akinfenwa (Webster 82). Subs not used: Kitson, Young, Robinson.
Attendance: 2,164 (669 away).