Daggers End Pools’ Unbeaten Run

Ryan Donaldson, Dagenham & Redbridge v Hartlepool United

Pools slipped to their first defeat in six games as Dagenham & Redbridge extended their unbeaten run at Victoria Road on Saturday.

Craig Hignett’s men rarely found the same rhythm as they have shown in recent weeks and the concession of some sloppy goals gave a helping hand to Peter Taylor’s in-form Daggers.

The game began at a fair tempo as both sides looked to knock the ball around but it was Pools who enjoyed the majority of the possession in the opening stages.

However, there wasn’t much in the way of opportunities early on, though Joe Quigley did let fly from distance with a shot which lacked the power to trouble Ben Killip.

Gime Toure showed some trademark trickery to engineer a shooting chance from 25 yards but the Frenchman’s firm left-footed effort was held by Daggers keeper Elliot Justham down to his left.

As the half developed it was the hosts who began to look more likely and Pools rode their luck when The Daggers forced a series of corners and tested out the visiting defence.

The pressure told on 24 minutes when an incisive ball forward from the danger man Angelo Balanta set Joan Luque away and he intelligently squared the ball for Quigley and the front man managed to squeeze the ball past Killip and in to the net from twelve yards.

It could have been 2-0 on the half hour when a floating free-kick in to the area wasn’t dealt with by Pools and Balanta forced an effort goalwards which struck the post before being cleared behind.

There was more danger from the resultant corner when defender Manny Onariase – winning everything at the back – came forward to meet the delivery but saw his powerful header clip the bar on its way over.

Killip had to be alert to deny Harry Phipps the second goal nine minutes before the break after more good football sent the midfielder through but the Pools keeper stood tall and saved well with his feet.

Toure had a half chance at the start of the second half but couldn’t generate enough power in his shot to trouble Justham, while there was a scare at the other end when Dobson traded passes with Balanta before rounding Killip only to shoot in to the side netting.

Liam Noble almost caught Justham out when he whipped a 30-yard free-kick over the wall but the home keeper got across to his right to turn the effort over the bar.

With a little over twenty minutes to go Pools were getting on top but they were then hit ruthlessly on the break as Killip raced from his line to clear a through ball only for Balanta to get there first and then finish superbly from a tight angle to make it 2-0.

It could even have been three when Balanta dribbled menacingly along the edge of the box but his shot was blocked by Kerr and substitute Alex McQueen couldn’t force home the rebound.

Killip made an excellent reaction save to deny Quigley after more good work from Balanta on the edge of the Pools penalty area.

With eight minutes left it was suddenly game on again when Pools kept the ball alive inside The Daggers’ box and Donaldson’s drive deflected in to the bottom corner of the net to make it 2-1.

However, just 60 seconds later the hosts scored a third to clinch the points. Substitute Bragasan Graham burst down the left before swinging in a cross which found Balanta and, when his header came down off the bar, Quigley reacted first to fire home.

Donaldson saw another effort blocked wide in injury time before Kioso headed the resultant corner over and with that went any chance of another rally from Pools.

Full Time: Dagenham & Redbridge 3 Pools 1

Dagenham & Redbridge: Justham, Wright, Onariase, Robinson, Croll, Clark, Phipps, Dobson (McQueen 66), Luque (Graham 77), Balanta (Grant 89), Quigley.
Subs not used: Gordon, Eleftheriou.

Pools: Killip, Kioso, Kerr (Hawkes 75), Raynes, Cunningham, Kitching, Mafuta, Kennedy (Kabamba 66), Noble, Donaldson, Toure.
Subs not used: Richardson, Featherstone, Holohan.

Booked: Cunningham (66), Hawkes (86), Donaldson (86).

Attendance: 1,392 (249 Poolies).