Stevenage too generous to Dagenham in season of goodwill
- Credit: Archant
For a team that still has the ambition of making the play-offs, Stevenage are certainly making a ham-fisted attempt at getting there.
The way they handed the league’s basement side three goals and all three points in today’s League Two encounter will leave fans once again looking over their shoulder rather than upwards towards the top seven places.
All four goals here were scored in a first-half spell of 19 minutes that also saw a tactical substitution from Teddy Sheringham as he hauled off one of his defenders, Mark Hughes, and changed formation to 3-5-2 with striker Armand Gnanduillet coming off the bench.
By that time, though, most of the damage had already been done with Boro trailing 2-0 and Dagenham seemingly creating chances at will.
But in football chances are not created at will, they are often created because of mistakes. And boy, did Stevenage give the visitors a helping hand.
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Defensively they were a shambles – with the back line not helped by a lack of adequate protection in front of them – and Sheringham himself went as far afterwards as saying that he could have taken off any one of four defenders when he replaced Hughes.
To be fair to the Boro boss he is missing two key defenders and had to play a third out of position, but those who are filling in are hardly wet behind the ears and should be performing at a higher standard than what they are.
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After a decent opening 10 minutes, Boro conceded twice in the space of 90 seconds as Dagenham took hold of the game.
Ashley Chambers, the best player on the pitch, put them ahead, before Joss Labadie struck low and hard from the edge of the box to make it 2-0.
But it wasn’t just the goals that were of concern for the hosts – every time Dagenham got the ball in the Boro half, they looked a threat as Stevenage backed off and invited them to test Chris Day.
First Christian Doidge had a shot saved, and then Labadie had two shots both of which missed the target.
Boro pulled a goal back when under pressure at a corner, Doidge flicked a header past his own goalkeeper.
The hosts should have consolidated, but instead Dagenham scored a third when Boro’s defenders were drawn to Chambers inside the box on the left and he squared the ball for Doidge to tap in, unmarked, from a couple of yards.
In the second half Dagenham sat back and hit Boro on the break.
Stevenage hit the post through Michael Tonge, while Dagenham keeper Mark Cousins made an astonishing save from Charlie Lee when, with his weight moving to his right, he adjusted his body to dive left and palm Lee’s header out of play.
However, with goals being leaked at one end and not being scored at the other there remains plenty of work ahead for Sheringham and his men as they enter the New Year beginning with a home game against Leyton Orient on Saturday.
Stevenage: Day, Henry, Franks, Hughes (Gnanduillet 30), McCombe, Cox (Kennedy 75), Tonge, McFadzean (Conlon 60), Lee, Pett, Matt. Subs: Crowe, Gordon, Johnson, Gorman.
Dagenham & Redbridge: Cousins, Passley, Labadie, Dikamona, Chambers (Cureton 82), Doidge (Vassell 67), Raymond, Hemmings, Dunne, Obileye, Hoyte. Subs: O’Brien, Connors, Nosworthy, Boucaud, Jones.