Little cause for optimism as Daggers are downed by Dale
League One: Dagenham & Redbridge 0 Rochdale 1
TRY as they might to forget it, Dagenham & Redbridge fans may find themselves being reminded of the significance of Saturday’s game over the rest of the season.
A spectacle largely devoid of entertainment, played in frosty temperatures on an uneven surface became worse for the home fans on 79 minutes when Rochdale scored the only goal of thhe afternoon.
After defender Scott Doe backed off and allowed Chris O’Grady space to run into, the striker barely pulled his leg back before slotting the ball through his marker’s legs and past the unsighted Tony Roberts.
A late charge came from the home side as they pushed for an equaliser, but a leveller never looked like coming.
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A week earlier, Daggers gave a spirited performance at Brentford and even Bees supporters agreed they were lucky to escape with the victory after an 88th minute winner from Gary Alexander.
Two days later, despite riding an ongoing wave of pressure for the most part, John Still’s men pulled it back to 2-1 against Southampton before Gavin Tomlin’s free kick thundered off the bar and onto, possibly over, the goal line in the final moments.
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Each of those games left cause for optimism, but on Saturday - a home fixture against another side promoted last season - there was worryingly little to boost the spirits.
It could have all been different had Tomlin scored in the opening 30 seconds after being played in by Danny Green, but goalkeeper Josh Lillis was allowed to save too easily and chances were at a premium afterwards.
Tomlin turned provider before the break, but Bas Savage tamely toe-poked wide from close range as the hosts lacked conviction going forward all afternoon.
New arrival Marvin Morgan added urgency after his arrival, but the first goal always looked like being the winner.
Surprisingly, Roberts came closest to grabbing a point when he headed wide from a corner in injury time, but worryingly few questions were asked of a defence who looked shaky when under pressure at the end of the first period.
A day to forget then for players and fans alike, but, unless home victories begin to materialise, Daggers’ season could be over well before the final ball is kicked.
Dagenham & Redbridge: Roberts, Doe, Arber, Green, Tomlin (Currie 79 mins), Savage (Morgan 65 mins), Ogogo, Vincelot, Ilesanmi, Gain, Elito (Scott 65 mins). Subs not used: Lewington, McCrory, Nurse, Bingham.