Late goal costs Rovers at Dagenham
A last minute winner from Scott Doe condemned Forest Green to defeat against promotion rivals Dagenham & Redbridge at Victoria Road, writes Richard Joyce.
The Daggers skipper rose highest at the death to steal a point away from Forest Green in a second against fourth tussle in east London.
In what was a competitive 90 minutes of football Jordan Maguire-Drews’s early second half finish put the hosts in front. But Christian Doidge levelled with a fine header against his old side towards the end, only to see his former teammate Doe claim victory in a cruel way to lose the game.
A frantic first half saw Sam Russell tested early on when he kept out Maguire-Drew’s effort after Dan Wishart had been dispossessed, while Fejiri Okenabirhie dragged wide when he broke through minutes after.
FGR’s first real opportunity was a massive one. Doidge’s great work offered Kaiyne Woolery the chance to fire at an open goal with goalkeeper Elliot Justham stranded, however the on loan Wigan Athletic attacker couldn’t find the net with Doe back on the line to make a heroic block.
Woolery did have the ball in the back of the net midway through the half, but it didn’t count, as the linesman’s flag denied his good finish when he latched onto a forward ball.
Daggers target man Oliver Hawkins saw a great chance go begging on 26 minutes as the end-to-end action continued. He couldn’t find the net with a header from a deep diagonal ball into the FGR area.
Maguire-Drew offered a threat on his left foot for the home side and forced Russell into a good save when he got clear. And the Brighton & Hove Albion loanee came even closer to scoring the games first goal when his rocket was tipped emphatically by Russell onto the crossbar shortly before half time.
The final chance of the half fell to Dagenham’s Trinidad & Tobago international Andre Boucaud, although his dipping long distance strike flew just over the frame of the goal.
Woolery’s volley wide ensured there was an early opening for FGR in the second half, but the hosts would go ahead when Maguire-Drew put them in front.
A fierce low cross from the left was slammed across the face of goal and Maguire-Drew was on hand to slide in.
The home side would have been disappointed not to have added to their lead on the hour mark. Boucaud’s break forward after the ball had been stolen from Wishart in a vulnerable position saw FGR recover in time before Maguire-Drew pulled the trigger.
A string of Forest Green substitutions saw German forward Omar Bugiel attempt to make an immediate impact, but the goal Mark Cooper’s men savoured finally came when Doidge silenced the supporters at his former club with a fine header.
Noble’s lifted delivery into the box was nodded into the back of the net with a powerful header by Doidge for his 19th goal of the season.
Rovers were back on level terms and were now keen to seek the winner. Noble’s free kick from 25 yards though with the clock ticking was gratefully held onto by Justham.
And within a minute it would be Dagenham who would make a free kick count. A fantastic delivery from substitute Frankie Raymond was perfect for Doe, who leapt highest to score the hosts winner.
Another Noble free kick that ended up in the side netting on the wrong side of the post was all FGR could muster in stoppage time, as Dagenham held on to condemn Rovers to defeat for their first of two trips to the capital in four days.
Report: Richard Joyce
Photo: Shane Healey/Pro Sports Images