Dagenham 0-1 Fleetwood Town
Fleetwood Town made it two wins from two in 2014 with a hard fought victory against Dagenham & Redbridge in South East London this afternoon.
David Ball struck the only goal of the game a quarter of an hour from time as he got on the end of Conor McLaughlin’s cross and spun in the box, before firing a low strike in the bottom corner.
Graham Alexander named an unchanged side from the team that beat Lancashire rivals Accrington Stanley at Highbury on New Year’s Day, with new loan signing Mikael Mandron starting on the substitute’s bench.
Fleetwood started the game brightly and could have taken the lead after just a minute as Jeff Hughes’s low drive went narrowly past Chris Lewington’s far post.
With Town encouraged by the good start, Mark Roberts was next to have a go, but he headed a Jeff Hughes corner just wide after some neat interplay between Jon Parkin, Antoni Sarcevic, Steven Schumacher and David Ball in midfield.
Graham Alexander’s men were totally dominant throughout the first period and midfielder Sarcevic was at the heart of everything for Fleetwood, with the Daggers unable to cope with his mazy, energetic runs.
Jeff Hughes had another chance to put his side ahead midway through the half, but his point blank effort was saved by Lewington.
At the end of the half, a cross from the left reached Antoni Sarcevic at the back post, but he fired a volley over the bar.
A minute into the second period, Mark Roberts produced a fine defensive block to deny former West Ham man Zavon Hines from opening the scoring for Dagenham.
Minutes later, Brian Saah found himself unmarked in the box for the home side but could only head at keeper Scott Davies with the goal gaping.
Dagenham centre back Scott Doe’s header was then cleared off the line as Fleetwood struggled to get a foothold in the game.
New loan signing from Sunderland, Mikael Mandron, was then introduced on 64 minutes for his Fleetwood Town debut as he replaced Jon Parkin.
With a quarter of an hour remaining, Graham Alexander’s men took the lead courtesy of a David Ball strike from inside the box.
Conor McLaughlin crossed in from the right and found striker Ball who turned and found the bottom corner of the net.
Mikael Mandron then raced through on goal with ten minutes to go and dinked keeper Chris Lewington only to scuff his effort wide.
With a minute of normal time remaining, Mark Roberts cleared heroically off the line to deny Rhys Murphy an equalizer.
However, despite a nervy ending the Cod Army managed to hold on to a priceless three points and will head back to Lancashire in buoyant mood.
The win reclaims Fleetwood’s position in the play-off places ahead of next week’s home game against Hartlepool United.