Hawkins grateful for first Daggers start

13:30 16 February 2016

Oliver Hawkins of Dagenham & Redbridge tussles with Kieran Parselle of Newport County earlier in the season (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

Oliver Hawkins of Dagenham & Redbridge tussles with Kieran Parselle of Newport County earlier in the season (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Striker pleased to make full Dagenham & Redbridge debut, but upset it ended with defeat at home to Barnet

Dagenham & Redbridge attacker Oliver Hawkins was thankful for the help he received from strike partner Jamie Cureton after making his first start for his new club on Saturday.

Hawkins joined Daggers from National League South side Hemel Hempstead Town in January and while he has featured in every game since then, the home defeat against Barnet was the first time he played from the off.

It was Hawkins’ debut in the Football League, but alongside him was a man at the other end of the spectrum with Cureton chasing down his target of 400 career goals.

But neither player was able to find a way past Jamie Stephens in the Bees goal, while Luke Gambin and Michael Nelson netted at the other end to consign the hosts to a 15th straight home league game without a win.

While Hawkins admits the result was not the one he would have wanted on such an important day for him, he was pleased to finally make his first start for his new club.

“I’m very proud of my first start, the last four games I’ve come on and been wanting to start. Today getting the chance was good and I am proud, but not about the result,” said Hawkins.

“Jamie is a great striker and there’s a lot I can learn from him. He was doing everything throughout the game, telling me what to do and he does that in training too. He’s been helping me out and he’s great to learn from.”

After an even opening, Gambin’s goal in the 24th minute appeared to suck all the life out of Daggers as they struggled to create any real chances of note for an equaliser they desperately needed.

Try as he might, Hawkins was unable to supply his team mates with the necessary knock downs needed in and around the box with Barnet defenders Bondz N’Gala and Nelson marking him tightly.

And the striker admits it was tough at times in attack, but hopes to improve over the coming weeks as he adapts to life in the Football League.

“It was a bit difficult up top, but every game for me is a battle because of my height,” he added. “It sort of crept away at the end with the chances we created.

“It was hard for me because every time the ball came to me, it was a fight. That’s my job really, but it was unlucky about the result.”

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