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23.01.2007 @ 19:45 The Recreation Ground Crowd: 1504
Grays Athletic 0 - 1 Dagenham & Redbridge
Referee: G Scott (Devon) Conference National-Match

Goalscorers
None Craig Mackail-Smith (11)
Starting Line-ups
Ashley Bayes
Andy Sambrook
Jamie Stuart
Abdou El-Kholti
Gavin Cowan
Tom Williamson
Glenn Poole
Ben Harding
Aaron O'Connor
Lee Boylan
Matt Bodkin
Tony Roberts
Scott Griffiths
Anwar Uddin
Danny Foster
Jake Leberl
David Rainford
Glen Southam
Shane Blackett
Paul Benson
Sam Saunders
Craig Mackail-Smith
Substitutes
Danny Knowles
Jay Smith
John Martin
Ashley Nicholls
John Turner
David Hogan
Tim Cole
Sam Sloma
Cliff Akurang
Ben Strevens
Substitutions
John Turner -> Aaron O'Connor (67)
John Martin -> Matt Bodkin (73)
Cliff Akurang -> Paul Benson (60)
Ben Strevens -> Craig Mackail-Smith (81)
Sam Sloma -> Sam Saunders (87)
Yellow cards
Ben Harding (86)
Tony Roberts (57)
David Rainford (93)
Red cards
None None
Match report |
Table-topping Dagenham and Redbridge march on after Tuesday's narrow victory at the New Rec but while their sights are firmly on elevation to the Football League, Grays boss Justin Edinburgh must be casting a nervous eye over his shoulder at the relegation zone as his side remain without a Conference win since their 6-0 away demolition of St Albans on October 21.

Grays are just four points and five places from the drop zone and were overhauled by several clubs in what was generally a good night for the struggling sides.

And with a trip to promotion-chasing third-placed York to come on Saturday Blues could find themselves in dire straits by the time their folowing Conference match - a trip to Aldershot on Tuesday, February 6 - comes around.

After a poor night in front of goal, where several good chances went begging, Edinburgh will be keen to secure the new striker signings promised by chairman Mick Woodward.

Dagenham, who are now six points clear of Oxford who lost 1-0 at Woking, opened their account on 11 minutes and it was something of a gift for midfielder Craig Mackail-Smith who broke free of a static defence and was able to lob the ball over onrushing keeper Ashley Bayes.

Despite the disappointment, Grays rallied strongly and spent much of the rest of the first half on the attack, with Lee Boylan proving an effective spearhead to the attack, though he met his match in veteran Daggers stopper Tony Roberts who produced a number of good saves to keep his side's clean sheet at half time.

The second half was evenly contested, though Grays looked slightly the more potent force in the early stages with young striker Aaron O'Connor particularly prominent.

He got in an early second half shot that Roberts saved but then was involved in an incident which saw the keeper booked.

Matt Bodkin played a wide forward ball to the youngster who drew Roberts outside his box to challenge for the ball and then knocked it past him, only to be fouled by the keeper, whose unsporting antics, while not quite preventing a goalscoring opportunity brought him a yellow card.

Dagenham boss John Still made the first change of the match on the hour, replacing prolific striker Paul Benson with Cliff Akurang.

It was a big disappointment for the former White Ensign striker who, having scored in the three previous matches, might have expected to add to his 18 goals this season on the day he was awarded a one year extension to his contract. He is now tied to Daggers until 2009.

O'Connor was replaced by John Turner on 67 minutes and Bodkin by John Martin six minutes later as Edinburgh rang the changes.

They had little effect though and Grays found themselves short on ideas, relying on the long ball, which Roberts usually effectively swept up.

In the closing stages it looked more likely that daggers would add to the scoring, with Mackail-Smith going close a couple of times, once rounding Bayes only for Jamie Stuart to clear his goal-bound effort and Sam Sloma, who was the game's final substitution replacing Sam Saunders three minutes from time, almost rounded things off with a shot that drifted just over the bar

Thanks to the Thurrock Gazette for the report.