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Accrington Stanley 0 Dagenham 2

Just when it was believed that Stanley had finally taken one step forward, they again took a step back as their struggle for consistency continues.

THE NOT SO GOOD OLD DAYS . . . Stanley supporters in 1960

Just when it was believed that Stanley had finally taken one step forward, they again took a step back as their struggle for consistency continues.

The victory over promotion-chasing Chesterfield on New Year’s Day was one to gain confidence from and build on, especially considering it was out-of-form Dagenham next up last Saturday.

The Daggers should have been there for the taking, having lost their last three games and selling striker Dwight Gayle to Peterborough with boss John Still once again having to watch his best players leave and build a new team – as he has done over many a season.

But the visitors brushed their troubles aside to happily leave the Crown Ground with a comfortable three points while Stanley left the pitch to a chorus of boos.

A goal in each half made it easy for Dagenham but, apart from a Padraig Amond shot in the first minutes and then late pressure with the introduction of Bohan Dixon and Luke Clark, Stanley seemed lacklustre and unable to take confidence from what had been their first three points in 10 games.

Boss Leam Richardson had suffered a late setback with right-back Nicky Hunt pulling out with injury at lunchtime but, still, he was the only change from the Spireites victory and the fact his players couldn’t carry the winning mentality through left the Reds manager frustrated.

He said: "I couldn’t be more disappointed than I am at the minute, the lads are the same, there is not much you can say on the performance and the result reflects that.

"I agree with the result – we didn’t deserve much out of the game.

"We did okay for the first 15 or 20 minutes but then we conceded a terrible goal.

"In the second half we put them under a lot of pressure but the final ball or the final decision wasn’t great but fair play to Dagenham, they could drop off and play deep as they were winning 2-0.

"Dagenham do things well, with no airs and graces about them. They do it properly and they do it to their strengths and they did that throughout Saturday.

"We didn’t test their keeper until the second half, we put passes around their box but we didn’t really hurt them and they have been and done a job on us."

With only one change, Richardson admitted he is scratching his head as to how a team could perform like they did on Tuesday – being up for the game, creating chances and standing firm at the back – and then the opposite four days later.

"It was a blow to lose Nicky," said the Reds boss. "He has got experience and gave us balance but Laurie filled in on the right.

"We have gone from Chesterfield which was a very very good performance to a Dagenham performance that was not great in a matter of hours..

"I think Christmas has taken its toll a little bit but it’s important we don’t get too down as we have a good month ahead of us and we will work hard and get the results.

"At the minute, we have had some good performances without the results and some results without performances and they are a young group who need educating and pushing forward and in the main, from where we started, they have done smashing.

"It is disappointing but it’s important we don’t get too down as we didn’t get too up when we won on Tuesday.

"We need to be consistent and believe in what we do."

Richardson did have to juggle things around putting left-footed new signing Laurie Wilson into the right back role to replace Hunt.

But it didn’t look like it would be too much of a problem when Rommy Boco fed Amond in the early minute.

Although the striker ballooned over, it was surely just a taster of what was to come.

Instead the Daggers then took control and never relinquished it with Medy Elito causing problems for the Reds’ defence on their left and Matthew Saunders pressing the right.

It was Elito who played in a neat ball which the unmarked Saunders dived onto to head past Cameron Belford for the opener on 21 minutes.

Once again, like too many times this season, Stanley were chasing the game and, having not come from behind to win since October 2011, the pressure was on.

But it was then an out-of-sorts show from the Reds who never got going with it being more about the Daggers going for the second than Stanley equalising.

Their next best effort fell to Sam Williams but Belford denied him while visiting keeper Chris Lewington had little to do.

Even after a half-time talk, the Reds couldn’t up the tempo and it was more of the same with Luke Howell, who turned 26 on Saturday, celebrating his birthday in style with a goal seven minutes after the restart after a swift passing move cut open the defence to kill the game.

Still’s side could then afford to sit back and invite pressure and the introuduction of Dixon and Clark did add a new spark to the Reds.

But though they helped to pass the ball around the edge of the Daggers’ area, Lewington was hardly threatened.

It made for a frustrating afternoon – one that Richardson will be keen to put behind them while hoping the rest of January reflects Tuesday and not Saturday.

 

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