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Dagenham and Redbridge 0 Accrington Stanley 1

"WE only need ten men" is the now familiar cry from the Stanley faithful but the dismissals must be a worry for manager John Coleman.

"WE only need ten men" is the now familiar cry from the Stanley faithful but the dismissals must be a worry for manager John Coleman.

Andy Procter became the fourth man to see red for Accrington this season as he was given his marching orders on 33 minutes.

The local lad was gutted after picking up two needless bookings - and became the victim of an over fussy referee. The first was for a tackle on the keeper in the ninth minute and the second for kicking the ball away.

Coleman, however, was sympathetic to Procter's plight.

"The first tackle wasn't a booking, he ran at that keeper and slammed on his brakes and just fell over the keeper.

"But when you kick the ball away, you run the risk of a booking but it wasn't defiance, he hadn't heard the whistle and was just clearing the ball.

"I think the referee should have used commonsense but I don't want to moan about referee's - I am sick of doing that. It is about us and what we do and we did well again with ten men."

Paul Mullin was once again the Stanley saviour, firing home his third goal of the Conference campaign. As the Daggers pressed, Gordon Armstrong sent Rory Prendergast down the left wing and he took on the defence and played in a perfect cross which Mullin stroked home.

"It was a great goal. I thought Paul was outstanding today. His first touch was excellent. We have also been encouraging Rory to take people on and it came off.

"We showed a great deal of spirit and we stuck to our game plan despite going down to ten men. We were a bit ragged towards the end and we had to take Steve Halford off because he was tiring but he did well to last that long."

Halford was a shock inclusion as Jonathan Smith was struggling with a neck injury. He had neck spasms on the morning of the game and was only ruled out then. However, Halford - an everpresent last season - took his chance in the centre of defence and played a blinder.

"He was Player of the Year last year and has a big future at the club. All the players on the sidelines have to be patient and grab their chance with both hands - he did that," said Coleman.

The Daggers started well and had a couple of early chances through Chris Piper and Takan Mustafa. They were, however, without former Chelsea striker Mark Stein who has handed in a transfer request it seems in the aftermath of an alleged incident where manager Garry Hill was accused of racially abusing Telford's Fitzroy Simpson.

The Daggers held the upper hand in the opening stages and it looked bleak for Stanley when Procter left the field. Mark Bentley had a couple of chances - he headed over the bar twice although Prendergast had Stanley's first real goal-scoring moment on 40 minutes but couldn't chip the ball over the keeper.

After the interval, Halford stopped Alex Meechan charging free, Piper fired a weak shot wide and Jon Kennedy gripped hold of Leon Braithwaite's scrambled strike from six yards out.

The Reds were dependent on catching Dagenham on the break and Armstrong had only been on the pitch three minutes when he sent Prendergast down the wing for Mullin's goal.

It was all Dagenham from then on. Sub Danny Shipp's shot was only inches wide of the far post, Kennedy denied Braithwaite again and, on 85 minutes, a Paul Bruce cross was fired against the crossbar by Shipp. Cavanagh cleared a Bruce effort off the line as Daggers kept on pressing but Tim Cole's sending off on 90 minutes ended their threat. He was dismissed for appearing to lash out at Dean Calcutt.

"It was good to get an away win," said relieved Coleman. And the travelling fans were like the eleventh man for us. It means a lot."


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Bethany English
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Beth Abbit
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Jon Macpherson
Kate Watkins
Reporter specialising in communities
Garth Dawson
Photographer and columnist