DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE (2) 2
ALTRINCHAM (3) 4
Nationwide Conference Game
played on Tuesday, 11 April 2006, at 7.45pm.
In an entertaining first half, Alty, who had previously scored just 10 times in 18 games on the road, took a 3-0 lead. Firstly, Colin Potts fired a freekick into the top corner from 25 yards (8 mins). Then Ged Murphy made it 2-0 after 32 minutes when he fired home from the edge of the box before centre-back Peter Band pounced to make it 3-0 after 37 minutes. However, the Daggers' Paul Bruce made it 3-1 with a fine 30 yard shot (39 mins). Then Scott Griffiths made it 3-2 on the stroke of half time. After the whistle had been blown for half time, Bruce and Alty's Warren Peyton were involved in a skirmish and the Dagenham man was sent off. Despite plenty of pressure from the ten men, Alty made it 4-2 when the Dagenham keeper Tony Roberts dropped a Potts cross and the ball went into the net off a startled Colin Little (69 mins). Dagenham finished with nine men when Blackett was sent off near the end for a "last-man" foul on McFadden, whose late introduction caused the Daggers problems. This was a superb team performance from Alty and lifts them eight points above the relegation places. And the supporters' performance was pretty exceptional too - especially after a long journey caused by traffic chaos on the M25 which meant the supporters' bus only arrived 10 minutes before kick off.
REFEREE: Mr. D. Cann
After the huge disappointment of conceding a draw to Gravesend last Saturday through a last-minute penalty, as well as a run of eight games without a win and a threat of an 18-point deduction hanging over Alty for the failure of James Robinson's previous club to secure his international clearance, Graham Heathcote and Dalton Steele might have faced a difficult job in lifting their team of part-time players for this game against a full-time outfit who had turned them over 5-0 at Moss Lane earlier this season. And the evening itself was not helped by horrendous traffic on the 200 mile trip from Altrincham. But the travelling Alty fans need have held no fears as the team gave a superb performance to inch nearer to Conference survival on the lowest budget in the league.
Mark Maddox continued his suspension whilst Val Owen was out injured for the second successive game. Left-back Chris Adams was only fit to be on the bench, so Gary Scott played in that position, with Steve Aspinall moving from midfield to right-back. Colin Potts retained his place in the starting line-up.
Dagenham were unchanged from the side which drew with Hereford United recently.
DAGENHAM AND REDBRIDGE (Red shirts and socks, white shorts): 1. Tony ROBERTS, 12. Scott GRIFFITHS, 5. Shane BECKETT, 2. Tim COLE, 15. Anwar UDDIN, 7. Sam SAUNDERS, 22. Paul BRUCE, 8. Glen SOUTHAM, 19. Danny FOSTER, 23. Chris MOORE, 10. Craig MACKAIL-SMITH. Subs: 26. Dave HOGAN (gk), 3. Ashley VICKERS, 9. Cliff AKURANG, 14. Paul BENSON, 17. Bas Nai LETTEJALLOW.
ALTRINCHAM (Pale blue shirts and socks, dark blue shorts) 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Steve ASPINALL, 15. Peter BAND, 5. Gary TALBOT, 11. Gary SCOTT, 7. Colin POTTS, 37. Ged MURPHY, 12. Warren PEYTON, 14. Lewis CHALMERS, 9. Colin LITTLE, 10. Rod THORNLEY. Subs: 3. Chris ADAMS, 17. Karl MUNROE, 18. Blake NORTON, 21. Kieran LUGSDEN, 28. Pat McFADDEN.
After a six hour journey through dreadful traffic, Alty's supporters' coach arrived at The Glyn just minutes before kick-off. The final minor delay came half a mile from the ground when the bizarre spectacle of a broken-down fire engine in the middle of the road, being topped up with petrol from a billy-can, momentarily delayed our progress but its stranded crew helpfully confirmed directions to the Glyn Hopkin Stadium. Alty brought supporters numbering well into three figures, a great turn out for such a long midweek trip - and they gave excellent support throughout. It was also good that the crowd was not segregated, a rarity these days.
Alty kicked off on a soft pitch and started the game well with Thornley looking lively up front and Murphy working hard in midfield. After an early Alty corner had been cleared, Band was fouled 25 yards out well to the left of the Daggers' goal. Potts's well-struck right-footed free-kick arrowed into the far top corner to put Alty one up. With the Alty fans in good voice, Moore and Bruce were spoken to by the referee and then Potts also earned a lecture, for a late challenge (12 mins).
A good ball forward from Chalmers was kept in well by Thornley to the right of goal but his cross curled narrowly out for a goalkick. However, Alty soon won a corner as they remained the better side. Next, Dagenham's Saunders was booked for a foul on Aspinall (25 mins). After half an hour, Peyton played a fine ball to Thornley and his fine cross from the right was just cleared; even the home fans generously applauding an impressive move by the visitors. Little was then booked for protesting about his treatment by Blackett (31 mins). Soon, Alty won another corner and Peyton took an outswinger, from the left, but as Chalmers rose to head it he was flattened in a collision. Nevertheless, play continued with Chalmers prostrate in the box. The corner-ball was half-cleared to Murphy, on the edge of the box, from where he drilled a low shot into the net to make it 2-0 (32 mins).
Alty had let a two-goal lead slip last Saturday so they certainly could not consider the game over yet. But, when Peter Band poked home a third goal from close range, following Little's overhead effort, Alty fans finally dared to think that their 8-game winless run might be about to end (37 mins). However, after some very brief booing of their side by the home side, the Daggers responded with a superb 30-yard shot by Bruce to make it 1-3 (39 mins). Alty immediately won a corner and soon afterwards Little was put clear, with a chance to seal the game, but he uncharacteristically drove his shot badly wide. It looked like it might be a costly miss when, on the stroke of half-time, a ball from the right came to Griffiths, who steered a low shot into the bottom corner from 15 yards to make it 2-3 (45+2 mins). When the allotted three minutes of added time ended, the whistle went but the action continued as Peyton and Bruce clashed and other players waded in. The referee, Mr Cann cautioned Peyton but sent off Bruce, reportedly for a head-butt.
|Half-Time: DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE 2
The referee, Mr Cann, lay in wait for Ged Murphy as the players emerged for the second half and booked him for his role in the pre-interval sending-off incident. Alty should have wrapped the game up when Potts's great cross found Little but he headed the ball into the ground from close range and it bounced up for the keeper to tip over the bar for a corner (47 mins). Potts took the corner poorly but following this, Peyton hooked an awkwardly bouncing ball wide. However, 10-man Dagenham now took the game to Altrincham but when Mackail-Smith slid in late on Coburn as the keeper smothered the ball, both Mackail-Smith and Southam were booked (54 mins). On the break Thornley did very well, making space and firing in a goalbound shot which hit a defender (57 mins). Alty had a narrow escape when Mackail-Smith put in a low cross from the right but Griffiths, arriving at the back post, lifted the ball over the bar (59 mins). Dagenham then wasted a corner before Blackett kept Alty under pressure with a surging run up the middle before lifting a left footed shot over the bar (62 mins). Alty had a let off when Coburn was nudged as he gathered a cross and Foster almost took advantage to score (66 mins).
Akurang now replaced Moore (67 mins) before Alty's McFadden came on for Thornley (68 mins). But within a minute Alty had scored again as Peyton found Potts, on the right, and he whipped in a fast, dipping cross which Roberts failed to gather, near his feet. The ball hit the stumbling Little and he involuntarily helped it over the line to make it 4-2 to Alty (69 mins). Blackett now needed treatment after falling on top of McFadden as the sizeable Alty support sang loudly in support of their side. The unlucky Blackett soon needed treatment again when McFadden was harshly judged to have fouled him. Soon the Daggers won a corner but soon afterwards Saunders fouled Coburn to allow Alty some relief.
Heavy drizzle now started to fall as Chalmers went down injured. He was soon replaced by Munroe in midfield and Benson came on for Dagenham (82 mins). With heavy rain now falling, Coburn made a good catch but pressure continued as the dependable Talbot had to concede a corner. Potts now gave way to Norton (85 mins). McFadden then did well to outpace his marker but his well-hit shot just cleared the bar (87 mins). As the game entered 4 minutes of added time, Blackett fouled McFadden on what was becoming a sodden surface. McFadden soon caused further problems, getting round Blackett, who hauled him down. Referee Cann had to dismiss Blackett as he was the last defender (90+3 mins).
As the sodden Alty fans saluted the players before starting the long journey home, they hoped the 3 points might just have secured their Conference survival. This was a very good team performance when the chips were down, with Ged Murphy having a particularly good game and Colin Potts was also a key factor in the win. The game was a fine advert for Conference football and for a Tuesday night game, 200 miles away, Alty brought good support which certainly did its bit to help the team tonight .
|Full-Time: DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE 2