Recalled trio breath fresh life into Dagenham & Redbridge against Brentford
Fan favourite forward scores twice to inflict misery on under-fire Brentford boss
BEING a football manager must sometimes seem like more hassle than it is worth. Brentford’s Andy Scott will be able to testify to that at the moment.
When these sides first met on New Year’s Day, a late winner added gloss to his already shiny status as a young boss on the rise and he was among the favourites for the vacant role at Championship side Sheffield United.
Exactly a month on, the Bees have lost six of seven league games and his owns fans are taunting him with chants of “Scott out” and “you’re getting sacked in the morning”.
Sometimes though, a big win directly influenced by decisions you have made - as John Still experienced last night - must make management feel like the best occupation in the world.
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The 60-year-old surprised many by dropping Gavin Tomlin for Jon Nurse, while Damian Scannell - who has not played since missing an open goal against Leyton Orient in November - was plucked out of obscurity to start on the left wing.
Scannell, whose raw ability is not always reflected in his performances, suddenly he looked like the player the management hoped to he would be when signing him from Southend United in the summer.
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Although right-footed, he tormented the experienced Stephen Wright, cutting inside and out, and was instrumental in setting up both of Nurse’s goals.
Even on the right wing, where Still was forced into a change with Danny Green suspended, he made the right choice in opting for Darren Currie who, although lacking acceleration these days, still boasts a classy technique and passing range which is clear for all to see.
Whereas in previous games Daggers have had a tendency to panic at stages in games, the wily 36-year-old was a calming presence, playing his way out danger and retaining possession with ease.
It was another old head in Peter Gain whose cross forced a fumble from stand-in Bees keeper Simon Royce on 19 minutes and Nurse was in the right place as the ball hit him and bobbled over the line.
The hosts could have been further ahead by half time, with Scannell forcing a save from Royce, while Romain Vincelot skewed a header from the winger’s inviting cross.
Scott Doe had to be alert immediately after the restart to block Charlie MacDonald’s close-range effort, but Daggers wrapped up the game in the whirlwind 20 minutes which followed.
First Karleigh Osborne headed into his own goal in comedic fashion after pressure from Marvin Morgan, before Daggers turned into attack in the blink of an eye to make it three.
Following a Brentford corner, Scannell chose not to pump the ball long, but instead carried it the length of the pitch at pace, declining the opportunity to square to Nurse four times before eventually putting it on a plate for him to poke home.
Less than 60 seconds later, Vincelot contorted his neck at an almost impossible angle to head past Royce and the shell-shocked visitors were four behind and watching their own fans walk out in disgust.
Events conspired for Daggers against a Bees side who appeared desperately low on confidence and a defence which lacked authority without first choice goalkeeper Richard Lee.
However it will be a relief to supporters that for once they were ruthless in exploiting a weakness and produced the kind of morale-boosting result which can prove the turning point in a season.
MacDonald did pull one back for Brentford with the last kick of the game, but the night belonged to fan favourite Nurse, who received a standing ovation when substituted near the end of the game.
Daggers spent all of January looking for a striker to help prove the difference against sides around them in the table. Few would have guessed that, on the day after the transfer deadline, the answer was under their nose all along.