DALE DEALT A BLOW BY DAGGERS
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.”
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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