DALE DEALT A BLOW BY DAG­GERS

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Alex Lani­gan To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

BOSS Wayne Bur­nett be­lieves Da­gen­ham beat the best team in League Two in Rochdale as they picked up their first away league vic­tory since Oc­to­ber.

Rhys Mur­phy scored the only goal in a game dom­i­nated by the home side to ex­tend Da­gen­ham’s un­beaten run to three games.

And Bur­nett said he was de­lighted with his team’s per­for­mance as they com­pleted a league dou­ble over Rochdale.

He said: “We’ve come to a team that are the best in the league if I am be­ing hon­est, cer­tainly the best team we’ve played all sea­son. I think they were bet­ter than us in the first half but we man­aged to grow into the game and get the goal.

“In the sec­ond half they didn’t re­ally trou­ble us and I felt we had the bet­ter chances. They ab­so­lutely bat­tered us at home but we beat them. It was a closer game and we’re ab­so­lutely de­lighted.

“This is a very dif­fi­cult place to come. They have the best home record in the league so to come here and get the win is a great feat. Hope­fully we can con­tinue this run.”

Rochdale’s Ge­orge Don­nelly came close to open the scor­ing af­ter five min­utes when he fired over from close range and his header was then spec­tac­u­larly saved by Dag­gers’ keeper Chris Lew­ing­ton.

The lively Matt Done also went close for Dale but his drive at the near post was saved again by Lew­ing­ton. A rare ven­ture into the Dale half saw an ef­fort from Mur­phy blocked on the edge of the area be­fore Ian Hen­der­son was just inches away from Don­nelly’s cross for the hosts.

The visi­tors took the lead com­pletely against the run of play in the 62nd minute, Mur­phy turned in a Luke Wilkin­son cross past help­less keeper Josh Lil­lis for his 13th of the sea­son.

Some ex­cel­lent last-ditch de­fend­ing from Wilkin­son pre­vented Scott Ho­gan from get­ting a shot away as Rochdale pressed for an equaliser.

Ho­gan then came close to find­ing that equaliser as Abu Ogogo cleared his header off the line. The Dag­gers al­most sealed the win in the 88th minute when Chris Dick­son hits his ef­fort straight at Lil­lis from two yards.

Rochdale man­ager Keith Hill rued his side’s missed chances but urged the fans to keep get­ting be­hind the team. He said:“We should have made more of our op­por­tu­ni­ties in the first half – when you can’t take your chances you’re vul­ner­a­ble against any team. We’ve won 50 per cent of our games but ex­pec­ta­tion can of­ten lead to dis­ap­point­ment. Just be­cause we go 1-0 down doesn’t mean we are go­ing to play back-to-front foot­ball.

“There needs to be pa­tience and un­der­stand­ing oth­er­wise ev­ery­thing we are try­ing to build will be de­stroyed. “The play­ers have got sup­port from the home fans but they have to be en­cour­aged when things aren’t go­ing our way.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd

HERO: Rhys Mur­phy cel­e­brates his match-win­ning goal for Da­gen­ham

STRUG­GLE: Matthew Lund and Abu Ogogo com­pete

STAR MAN CHRIS LEWING

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