Daggers rocked by on-song Robins

THE fact that manager John Still opted to have his say with the players in the sanctuary of the dressing room rather than their usual post-match huddle on the pitch, spoke volumes about his view on their poor performance against Cheltenham Town on Monday.

COCA-COLA LEAGUE TWO

Daggers 0 Cheltenham 2

by MIKE SIMMONDS

THE fact that manager John Still opted to have his say with the players in the sanctuary of the dressing room rather than their usual post-match huddle on the pitch, spoke volumes about his view on their poor performance against Cheltenham Town on Monday.


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Coming into the match, the visitors' record had been for want a of a better word, shambolic.

Without a league victory since September 12, a run stretching 15 games, they had recently appointed Robins legend Mark Yates as boss, and his first game was a 1-0 home defeat to Bournemouth.

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Convincing

But, despite their lowly position, they were far too good for a well below-par Daggers and could have run out more convincing winners.

Earlier in the season, Still's men had a habit of steamrollering their opponents from the first minute, swinging crosses into the box and making life generally horrible for the visiting side.

But there was nothing of that this time and there will rarely be a more comfortable 90 minutes for any side that travels to Victoria Road this campaign.

Daggers were lacking any kind of spark and the Robins could have been ahead in the opening moments as first Justin Richards forced an excellent full-length save from Tony Roberts, while Andy Gallinagh saw his header smack against the crossbar.

There were a few brief moments of alarm for the Robins defence, but nothing that Michael Townsend and Ashley Eastham couldn't cope with.

The hosts only really looked dangerous when striker Josh Scott was on the ball, as once again he hustled and harried as best he could, setting up Danny Green for a shooting chance that sailed over.

Nana Ofori-Twumasi also tried his luck from distance, but Scott Brown clung on, and the game degenerated into a frustrating affair, with Cheltenham forwards Justin Richards and Julian Alsop caught offside at literally every opportunity.

Substitute Michael Pook should have done better with a half volley from inside the box, but to sum up the opening period, Mark Arber did well to win possession before hitting the ball behind Green and straight out of play.

Daggers' best chance came when Adam Miller took the ball down well, and his cross was deflected into the path of the unmarked Paul Benson, but he put his header straight at Brown.

Clawed

Pook saw another effort clawed away by Roberts, but just when it looked like Daggers might go into half time on level terms, the Robins struck.

Alsop was left in acres of space on the right flank and his pinpoint cross was headed home by Richards.

The hosts trundled off, no doubt ready for a tongue-lashing from their manager, and to their credit, they looked to have the stomach for the fight in the second period.

Far from sitting on their lead though, Cheltenham also showed their intentions to press forward and Richards saw his shot graze the outside of the post.

Scott almost grabbed an equaliser, but his toe-poke from Ofori-Twumasi's cross was palmed to safety by Brown.

Roberts then went one better at the other end as after initially misjudging Alsop's looping header, he acrobatically finger-tipped the ball to safety.

Although Daggers had quite obviously upped the tempo, the quality still wasn't there, as Green yet again turned the chance to cut in and shoot, preferring to frustratingly try and beat his man on the outside.

As the hosts pushed men forward though, they left spaces open at the back and it proved costly on 66 minutes.

Challenge

Ofori-Twumasi lost possession, Spiller dived in and missed his challenge, and when Jamie Day criminally tried to play offside, the excellent David Hutton played in Josh Low, who drove forward and dinked the ball over the advancing Roberts.

By now Darren Currie had been introduced in place of Jon Nurse, and he showed a fine array of passing, chipping a delightful ball to Scott, who turned his defender and beat Brown with an angled drive, only for David Bird to clear off the line.

Wes Thomas was also thrown on to try and unsettle the visitors with his pace, but the Robins easily coped with the threat and confidently ended their lengthy losing run.

Daggers: Tony Roberts, Nana Ofori-Twumasi, Jamie Day, Mark Arber, Scott Doe, Danny Green (Wesley Thomas 75), Danny Spiller, Adam Miller, Jon Nurse (Darren Currie 63), Josh Scott, Paul Benson.

Subs not used: Chris Lewington, Tommy Tejan-Sie, Abu Ogogo, Graeme Montgomery, Billy Bingham.

Attendance: 2,028.

The Post is now on Twitter, so if you follow twitter.com/Post_DagRed then you will get up to the minute updates on goings on at Victoria Road.

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