Dagenham & Redbridge 3 Rotherham United 2: Match Report

Dagenham & Redbridge FC v Rotherham United FC - Npower League 2 - 28th January 2012 - Kieron Cadogan hurdles clear on his debut for the Millers
Dagenham & Redbridge FC v Rotherham United FC - Npower League 2 - 28th January 2012 - Kieron Cadogan hurdles clear on his debut for the Millers
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ANDY Scott talked last week about having a formula that works. As a previous title-winning manager, he should certainly have an idea about that.

ANDY Scott talked last week about having a formula that works. As a previous title-winning manager, he should certainly have an idea about that.

Dagenham & Redbridge FC v Rotherham United FC - Npower League 2 - 28th January 2012 - Michael Raynes is off as he sees his second yellow card

Dagenham & Redbridge FC v Rotherham United FC - Npower League 2 - 28th January 2012 - Michael Raynes is off as he sees his second yellow card

However, they don’t do formulas for losing games like this one. They do phrases though.

Such as “How on earth did we lose that?” and “Just one of those days.”

As for explanations, well, how do you explain the fact that faltering Rotherham United produced their most dominant away performance for ages, played some of their best and most purposeful football away from home for a while yet managed, somehow, to lose to a side second from bottom and struggling?

Having cut the Daggers defence to ribbons so often in the first half and then had them frantically bashing the panic button time after time in the second, how did the Millers manage not to win?

It wasn’t anywhere near as painful as the last 3-2 defeat to the Essex club on a more auspicious occasion in another part of London but it was certainly a darn sight more puzzling.

Anyone in football will tell you that all the formulas in the world, or the finest and most rigorous preparation around, can’t help you if the funny old game decides to have a laugh at your expense.

It sometimes can come down to spirit, dogged, cussed, last-ditch defending and some luck. Dagenham, grateful to be in the game in the second half and taking inspiration from that very fact, had all the above and it proved decisive.

Rotherham couldn’t be faulted when it came down to their own committed effort. They had a go from first minute to last. But they simply wasted a great opportunity to put this game to bed in the first half when they had Dagenham on the rack.

The Millers threatened time after time in the first half, yet it’s a third straight defeat and a fourth in the last five games.

And while ever they continue shedding an average of two goals a game away from home (only Plymouth have a worse defensive record away) they will remain where they are - or worse.

It was yet another different back four (Michael Raynes’ dismissal for a second booking in the last minute means another different one next week) with Mark Bradley, a midfielder, at right-back and Dale Tonge dropped.

Richard Naylor’s first start was for hamstring victim Johnny Mullins and he showed authority and presence but, how ever you want to dress it up, a failure to have anything near a settled defence has undermined the season.

Players develop an understanding and it appeared something was amiss as Jon Nurse got in between Bradley and Naylor to head Dagenham level early in the second half and galvanise a bunch who had been hopelessly second best up to then.

Rotherham should have been out of sight by half-time.

After only eight minutes - and a couple of opportunities already - Lewis Grabban ran completely clear but could not beat the keeper, which was the start of a nearly/almost day for the top scorer whose speed and movement terrorised Dagenham’s central defenders. He seemed to be denied at the last second so many times or had an effort blocked or he was off target.

The 18 yarder that Danny Harrison lofted with precision beyond the keeper was a deserved and overdue lead after 28 minutes.

New right winger Kieron Cadogan had a clever hand in the initial move and his was the cross leading to the goal.

Previously he’d put in a peach of a left-foot cross which was so inviting that both Grabban and Harrison went for it and they impeded each other when a goal seemed likely.

Revell’s 20-yard volley was superbly saved and brilliant work from Cadogan set up a simple six-yard side-footer for Grabban only for Spillane to lunge in from nowhere with a goal-saving block.

More of the same would have guaranteed only one outcome but the Daggers clearly felt better after Nurse stepped in and when Bradley stuck out a leg to divert in an Ogogo shot that seemed harmless it was a reminder how precarious a lead can be no matter how much on top you are.

Rotherham equalised within 60 seconds from a Revell header from a fine cross by ex-Daggers man Scott Griffiths who looked sharper this week. They went for the winner.

Harrison had one taken off the line, Wood had a shot diverted into the side netting and at any moment you expected another Millers goal. But Dagenham kept deflecting efforts or making blocks.

Then, with 13 minutes left, defender Scott Doe flashed in a near-post header afterwhich it didn’t matter whether Dagenham were second bottom, second top or midtable - they were going to cling on.

Even in the last minute of stoppage time Rotherham were anguished when Jason Taylor’s shot got a deflection, taking it outside the far post.

It seems strange to say it after losing to the team who were second bottom, but this was a performance that had more about it than most and offered some brighter hope.

They have to find that winning formula if that hope for the season is not to fade away fairly soon.