Calverley keeps his nerve in D’s victory
ESSEX PRESIDENT S SHIELD East London 14 Dagenham 15 A nerveless West Calverley penalty 10 minutes from time was just about enough to squeeze an off-colour Dagenham through to the next round of the President s Shield after being given an almighty scare by
ESSEX PRESIDENT'S SHIELD
East London 14 Dagenham 15
A nerveless West Calverley penalty 10 minutes from time was just about enough to squeeze an off-colour Dagenham through to the next round of the President's Shield after being given an almighty scare by a fired-up East London side on Saturday.
It may sound like something of a cliche but the formbook really did go out of the window in this cup game, as East London belied their poor position.
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Dagenham were forced into another major reshuffle and played like total strangers at times, struggling to really get into the game and play with any continuity.
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The home side took an early lead when their right winger cut through some unusually ordinary Dagenham defence and off-loaded to the supporting second row to crash over.
The visitors knew they were in a game and attempted to come back, showing glimpses of what they are capable of, but all too often, the final pass was inaccurate or a penalty would cost them momentum and ground.
They did find a score midway through the half though, as the ball was moved out to the wings where Chris Carpenter was able to score.
Calverley slotted a fine conversion, and while the D's enjoyed much of the territory and possession for the remainder of the half they could not find another score as they remained locked at 7-7.
The home side started the second period powerfully and moved back in front with a converted score.
Dagenham were back in the game though when Louis Stevens picked up the ball and broke away, before feeding Carpenter who completed his brace.
The kick was pulled just wide to leave the Central Park side two points adrift.
Despite being far from their best, Dagenham did not lack heart and they refused to let up.
The introduction of fresh legs from the replacements bench added fresh impetus.
Debutant Nick Ereira made a mazy run full of pace that took play deep into the home 22.
This seemed to give the D's an extra edge and the pressure finally told on the home side as they conceded a couple of kickable penalties, the second of which Calverley slotted over.
Despite it being a one-point game, this kick seemed to deflate the home side, and Dagenham were able to play out the remaining minutes fairly comfortably and claim their place in the quarter finals.
Coach Mark Collins believed his side had got away with a poor performance, but praised the impact of his younger players.
"We were basically full of error and we let East London play and keep building," he said.
"Luckily enough I had a bench go on there and chance things and that's what happened.
"You could say that they (East London) played their cup final and we used our get out of jail free card on this occasion.
"We have a 30-man squad though and young Nick Ereira came off the bench for 25 minutes and looked very, very quick, so I was pleased with his contribution.
"Billy Davis also played his first full 80 minutes for the first team,
"These are players who have been with the club since 17 and now they are 21 and maturing into young men.
"They are knocking on the door and it's nice to see them coming through.
"When everyone fit and available, then I'm going to have a massive selection problem!