Saunders’ stunner lifts Dagenham & Redbridge out of the bottom two
Dagenham & Redbridge 1 Bradford City 0
Dagenham & Redbridge climbed out of the League Two relegation zone, after Matthew Saunders’ second-half goal was enough to earn his side three points.
Manager John Still picked the same starting XI that won 2-1 at Morecambe on Tuesday night – the first time this season he has named an unchanged side in back-to-back matches.
And his players responded with a second straight win to complete a double over Bradford this season and ease their relegation fears.
The Bantams had the game’s first real chance when Lee Bullock’s near post header was blocked on the line by Jon Nurse, back to defend a corner.
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Bullock again went close midway through the half after losing his marker inside the box, but his free header from Kyle Reid’s excellent left-wing cross crept over.
Daggers went close on the stroke of half time when Mark Arber rose highest to meet Damien McCrory’s corner, but the skipper headed over the top.
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After a slow start to the second half, both side’s made changes with striker Brian Woodall introduced to partner Josh Scott in attack.
And the game finally sparked into life with 20 minutes remaining when Saunders curled in brilliantly from 25 yards, after Scott had been fouled by Richie Jones.
Saunders was hurt in the celebrations as he ran to find his family in the crowd and was subsequently carried off and replaced by Billy Bingham.
Bradford introduced Naki Wells from the bench, who almost made an instant impact, but his fierce shot was blocked by Arber.
But Daggers’ lead was rarely threatened in the final minutes and Woodall was presented with two chances to wrap up the points.
First, he latched on to Scott’s long pass forward and ran unchallenged towards goal, but his low shot was saved by the legs of keeper John McLaughlin.
Then, deep into stoppage time, Woodall held off defender Luke Oliver and controlled Arber’s long pass, but his half-volley was pushed away by McLaughlin.
Daggers had done enough though and results elsewhere leave them two points clear of the drop-zone with 13 games to play.
Daggers: Bond, Doe, Spillane, Arber, McCrory, Nurse, Ogogo, Saunders (Bingham 72), Reeves (Woodall 62), Elito, Scott. Unused subs: Lewington, Rose, Dominic Green.
Bradford: McLaughlin, Kozluk, Davies, Oliver, Fry, Smalley (Atkinson 60), Jones (Wells 74), Ravenhill, Bullock, Reid, Fagan (Haworth 85). Unused subs: Annerson, Mitchell.
Attendance: 3,041 (345 away).