Stevenage unhappy but Howell’s goal earns Daggers another wonderful win
17:09 21 March 2015
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: Stevenage 0 Dagenham & Redbridge 1
Luke Howell scored the only goal of the game at Lamex Stadium to earn Dagenham & Redbridge a wonderful win over their rivals Stevenage.
The goal was showered in controversy with the home team stopping assuming Joss Labadie would be offside, but the flag didn’t come and Howell was able to score.
It was exactly what Wayne Burnett’s team deserved after a battling display that saw Mark Cousins have hardly any saves to make.
Burnett made two changes to the team that defeated Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday night with Christian Doidge making a surprise return to the team.
The 22-year-old only returned from a two-month loan spell with Dartford this week, but was thrust straight back into the action at Lamex.
Jamie Cureton made way, taking a place on the bench, and another hero from midweek Ashley Chambers was also among the substitutes.
Joss Labadie replaced Chambers as Daggers lined up with five in midfield and Doidge on his own up top.
Stevenage had a decent opportunity early on when Scott Doe brought down Tom Pett on the edge of his own box. Dave Martin took the free kick, but it went way over the bar.
The visitors had a chance of their own when Labadie was fouled near the corner flag, but Billy Bingham cross went out for a goal kick.
With quarter of an hour played Burnett’s team had their first shot at goal when Doidge battled for the ball near the centre circle.
It dropped for Labadie, he brought it forward and ran into the Boro box, but fired into the side netting. Although he might have done better, it showed the away side could be a real threat on the break.
Daggers were lacking sharpness, though, and Stevenage should have at least tested Mark Cousins in the 21st minute.
They allowed a long free kick to bounce inside the box and Pett hooked the ball in and despite being unmarked, Charlie Lee headed over the bar.
With half an hour gone Burnett was shouting at his team not to give away so many fouls because it was giving the hosts far too many opportunities to get the ball into their box.
It seemed to work as the home team didn’t get too many free kicks for the remainder of the half and Daggers were starting to really impose themselves on the match.
They were passing it as best they could on the poor pitch and three minutes before half time fashioned a chance for Labadie.
Andre Boucaud was prominent passing it out to Ashley Hemmings, before the ball came to Labadie and his drive was deflected slightly to make it a little easier for Chris Day in the Stevenage goal.
Nevertheless it was encouraging for Burnett’s team as the home supporters began to grow slightly restless.
Neither team was able to make the most of one minute of stoppage time and it remained all square at half time.
Hemmings had the first effort after the break as he run past two Stevenage players, but off balance he sliced wide of goal.
But in the 52nd minute Daggers did take the lead when Bingham crossed for Howell to tap into the net.
There was controversy, though, as linesman Mark Pottage had put his flag up for offside because Labadie had been in an offside position.
Bingham had knocked the ball forward and although Labadie was in an offside position he didn’t touch the ball, Stevenage players stopped.
But Bingham didn’t he raced onto the loose ball, delivered across goal and Howell was on hand to tap home.
Referee Dean Whitestone and linesman Pottage came together for a lengthy chat afterwards and despite all the home players and supporters urging offside to be given, the goal was awarded.
Boro manager Graham Westley was furious, but Labadie wasn’t interfering with play and the goal was correctly given.
The home team immediately put the pressure on, but Daggers weathered the storm and Doidge was working incredibly hard up front to release the pressure off his side.
He was running the patience of the referee, though, after picking up a booking early in the second half and it was no surprise when Cureton replaced him in the 69th minute.
Doidge had worked incredibly hard, though, and could be proud of his efforts.
Stevenage were increasing the pressure now and numerous crosses were coming into the box, but Daggers were defending extremely well.
Matt Partridge was introduced to add more bulk to midfield, and with Bingham tiring, and it was another move that seemed to work.
Five minutes were added on, but Burnett’s team were so strong and won all the headers and matched Stevenage all the way.
Boro substitute Bruno Andrade did force Cousins into a excellent save deep into stoppage time, but the full time whistle followed, but unfortunately the players from both sets of teams came together and it was an ugly end to a joyous day for Daggers.
This result moves them 12 points clear of the relegation places with eight matches remaining, it isn’t mathematically assured, but Dagenham & Redbridge will be a League Two club next season.
Stevenage: Day, Dembele (Andrade 86), Pett (Kennedy 69), Parrett, Wells, Lee, Okimo, Henry, Keane, Lisbie, Martin (Whelpdale 46).
Unused substitutes: Beasant, Bond, Johnson,.
Dagenham & Redbridge: Cousins, Ogogo, Doe, Obileye, Widdowson, Howell, Boucaud, Bingham (Partridge 79), Labadie, Hemmings, Doidge (Cureton 69).
Unused substitutes: Moore, Chambers, Gayle, Yusuff, Jakubiak.
Attendance: 2,795 (219 Daggers supporters).