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Dagenham match report
23 April 2016 18:03 Post ID: #71677
Relegated Dagenham crushed Argyle's automatic promotion hopes with a 3-2 win at Home Park.

Dagenham cruised into a 3-0 half-time lead courtesy of poor defending from the Greens.

Poor first half tactics, poor finishing, poor defending, poor goalkeeping and a lack of composure cost us the game and automatic promotion.

It's really hard to believe that manager Derek Adams went with one striker against three centre-backs for a home game against a relegated team?
The 4-2-3-1 formation just didn't work for the first 45 minutes against a Dagenham back five that had three centre-backs marking Jamille Matt.
Surely Adams knew that Dagenham play with a back five, if he didn't know he should have changed tactics long before half-time.

Too often cross after cross would arrive into the Dagenham penalty area with no Argyle striker anywhere near the ball, although many crosses from winger Gregg Wylde were just hopeful.

We had an incredible 36 attempts on goal but only eight were on target, the lack of composure in front of goal cost us dearly, highlighted by the two late misses from Matt and Peter Hartley when it looked easier to score. We also had 17 corners.

The game had a very strange feeling to it, even before Dagenham tore us apart.

We started the game well with Wylde seeing a lot of the ball on the left, his crosses were hit and miss, sometimes finding a player in a green shirt and sometimes sailing over the bar or out of play but he was causing problems, it's a pity our one and only striker struggled against Dagenham's three centre-backs.

Against the run of play Dagenham took the lead. A simple cross into the box was headed in by Dikamona (real name), just too easy. It looked like we didn't have a goalkeeper but Luke McCormick was actually in goal but doesn't like coming for crosses. Even Jake Cole would have collected that cross.

Meanwhile, at the other end we continued to create chances and head crosses over the bar or shoot wide or have a shot blocked.

Dagenham scored a second and a contender for away goal of the season when Cash chased in and strode through our weak midfield to fire in a 30-yard shot into the top corner. There's nothing McCormick could have done with that although if Carl McHugh was playing he would have closed down Cash before he shot.

Meanwhile, at the other end we continued to create chances and head crosses over the bar or shoot wide or have a shot blocked.

Surely, Adams would change the broken formation? Nope.

Dagenham amazingly took a three goal lead courtesy of poor defending from Hartley and a keeper afraid of crosses.
Dagenham actually scored from our throw-in. Ben Purrington threw the ball to Hartley who got into a mix-up and fouled the Dagenham player. Free-kick and a simple cross into the six-yard box was headed in by Doidge. This time McCormick did attempt to clear the ball but his effort was weak.

Meanwhile, at the other end we continued to create chances and head crosses over the bar or shoot wide or have a shot blocked.

3-0 at half time and boos ringing out around Home Park. It really was a strange and incredible first half.

Thank the Lord, the formation was changed for the second half, Jordon Forster came on and played in a back three to match the Dagenham formation and Craig Tanner played a striker. So now 3-0 down at home we finally play with two strikers.

We needed to score an early goal to give ourselves a chance of rescuing the game and the season, we didn't despite the crowd getting behind the team but the change in formation meant that we were camped in the Dagenham half.

Still chances were created and still chances went begging.

Tyler Harvey replaced Boateng, when it should have been Jordan Houghton, and played just behind Tanner and Matt.

In the 65th minute we did score, at last, and after all the previous efforts it was a simple Graham Carey corner and a simple header from Hartley.

To give ourselves a chances we needed to score a quick second goal, we didn't.

We got the second goal in the 85th minute when Carey fired in an angled beauty from 20 yards. Game on or too late? Even a draw would do.

Harvey had a shot and a header go just wide and in injury time Matt fired over with the goal at his mercy and Hartley header wide when it looked easier to score.

And that was it, the game and automatic promotion was over and we are left to reflect on a crazy and poor first half.

I still can't believe why we played with one striker during those first 45 minutes. In other games this season Adams tactical tinkering has won us points and games but not today.

If only we played with two strikers against the worst defence in League Two.
If only a Wylde cross would find a target.
If only we had a keeper who would collect crosses.
If only we played the first half like the second half.
If only we played the second half of the season like the first half of the season.

If only.....

Man of the match: Carey.

McCormick 3, Mellor 5, Nelson 6, Hartley 5, Purrington 6, Boateng 5, Houghton 4, Carey 7, Jervis 5, Wylde 6, Matt 7. Subs: Tanner 6, Forster 6, Harvey 6.

The best display on the pitch came from the referee James Adcock.
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