Daggers down by Cullen treble
21:43 21 October 2014
Dave Simpson/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football Leagu
Sky Bet League Two: Luton Town 3 Dagenham & Redbridge 1
Former manager John Still haunted his old club at Kenilworth Road as his side easily defeated Dagenham & Redbridge to consign the Victoria Road club to a second consecutive loss.
Mark Cullen was the hero for Luton, as he fired a hat-trick, but the visitors were left to rue conceding twice during the final three minutes of the first half.
Daggers had more than matched the Hatters in the opening 45 and Cureton had twice gone close but it mattered little in the end as they lost for an eighth time in the league.
Manager Wayne Burnett made five changes to the team that started against Newport County last weekend with regulars Jamie Cureton and Andre Boucaud returning.
Nathan Green, Matt Partridge and Billy Bingham also came into the team with the latter two lining up in midfield alongside Boucaud.
Daggers gave away two needless free kicks during the opening ten minutes but Luton couldn’t capitalise on either opportunity.
Cureton had a decent chance for the visitors after 12 minutes but angled an effort just wide of Mark Tyler’s goal, after a good cutback from Partridge.
That passage of football helped Burnett’s team get a foothold in the game and with Partridge impressing in midfield, they continued to match Luton.
More good work from the former Reading man set up Ashley Chambers but his deflected shot was held by Tyler.
Shortly afterwards Partridge and Cureton linked up again in identical fashion to the forward’s earlier chance but he couldn’t beat Tyler.
Although the hosts had various set pieces during the first period they never tested Daggers too much, although Jonathan Smith did have a weak effort easily held by Mark Cousins.
However, three minutes before half time and all the visitors good work beforehand went to waste as Cullen headed in the opening goal.
Adam Drury got to the byline too easily and cut back for Cullen, who had evaded his marker, and he nodded past Cousin to make it 1-0 to the Hatters.
Two minutes later and things got worst for Burnett’s side when they tried to play Cullen offside but got it horribly wrong.
Scott Doe stepped up but Brian Saah was deep alongside Damian Batt and Cullen raced onto Michael Harriman’s through ball, rounded Cousins and slotted in to double Luton’s advantage.
Daggers started the second period with good intent and Partridge got himself into a good position but could only fire a weak effort at goal.
Cureton then latched onto a poor back pass from Harriman but Tyler was able to poke his effort wide with his feet, although the officials gave a goal kick.
Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu nearly scored a stunning third for Luton but after a breathtakingly quick break, he smashed over the bar.
Burnett introduced both George Porter and Christian Doidge but it couldn’t help inspire a way back into the game for his side and the Hatters added a third in the 69th minute.
Ruddock Mpanzu tricked his way past two players before he found Cullen free near the penalty spot and the Luton forward smashed in off the crossbar to make it 3-0.
Cureton had a header easily saved by Tyler before the hosts came close to making it 4-0 through Smith.
Doe’s clearance to the edge of the box went straight to Smith but his well struck shot smashed off the post and away to safety.
Daggers 166 supporters were given a moment to celebrate three minutes from time when Doidge reduced the arrears.
The Welsh forward brilliantly headed into the corner after good play from Porter on the right for his first official goal for the club.
That boosted the visitors and Cureton had a header cleared off the line deep into injury time before the full time whistle followed and Burnett’s side were left to reflect on the fact that they lost the game in the final minutes of the first half.
Luton Town: Tyler, Smith, McNulty, Drury, Griffiths, Cullen (Walker 86), Ruddock Mpanzu, Miller (Benson 55), Harriman, Doyle, Wilkinson.
Unused substitutes: Lacey, Wall, Justham, Guttridge, Stevenson.
Dagenham & Redbridge: Cousins, Batt, Doe, Saah, Bingham, Cureton, Chambers (Hemmings 71), Green, Partridge, Yusuff (Porter 53), Boucaud (Doidge 63).
Unused substitutes: O’Brien, Connors, Gayle, Raymond.
Attendance: 7,746 (166 Daggers supporters).