SILKMENS PLAY-OFF CHANCES KNIFED BY THE DAGGERS!
By crazyjoe
Saturday 27 May 2017 21:35:00
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A second half capitulation at the Moss Rose saw the Daggers extinguish any lingering hopes the Silkmen had of reaching the play-offs. John Askey brought in Browne who had missed the Southport game in midweek due to illness in place of an unlucky Jack Mackreth, who I felt had had a good game on Tuesday night. Instead Jack took his place on the bench alongside the returning George Pilkington, with Askey keeping faith in the McCombe / Byrne partnership. John Still also rang the changes, bringing in Williams, Guttridge and Benson to their starting line-up. The Silkmen started brightly, with Summerfield seeing plenty of the ball and using it to intelligently switch play from side to side to try and bring Browne in particular into the game. On the left; Danny Whitaker, ably supported by David Fitzpatrick also asked questions of the Daggers defence. It was no more than the Silkmen deserved when following a period of pressure, the ball broke to Mitch Hancox, who manoeuvred the ball onto his favoured left foot; advanced towards the box and drilled a shot low to Justham's left, to beat the despairing keeper's dive, before going in off the post.

It was the perfect start for the Silkmen in their quest to keep up the pressure for a play-off spot. Soon afterwards, Danny Whitaker should have added to the lead when a Norburn miskick found its way through to the Silkman stalwart just inside the six yard box. All that was needed to double the lead was a decent connection, but to the despair of the Star Lane, Danny swung his trusty right boot, but made little or no contact and Justham gathered easily. Anthony Dudley also had a couple of dangerous runs which came to nought as the loan striker seemed to lack conviction and was easily robbed as he dithered.

Having survived these scares, the Daggers came more into the game and forced a series of corners, one of which was headed over from close range by Robson who should have done better. There were several other dangerous moments in the Silkmen penalty area and Benson shot well wide when well-placed and skipper Halls made a couple of desperate blocks as the Daggers sought an equaliser. It wasn't long in coming. A controversial free kick awarded just outside the box, was bent easily around the wall by Guttridge and into the bottom corner with Flinders conspicuous by his absence. It will be interesting to view the video footage of this goal, as there were those around me who felt Flinders hadn't set up the wall correctly and was too far over towards the other side of the goal when the kick was taken. It was however a well taken free kick. As a result of the goal, the pendulum swung in favour of the Daggers and they ended the half in the ascendency.

Half-Time: Macclesfield Town 1 Dagenham & Redbridge 1

The discussion at half-time was the hope that John Askey and Steve Watson had emphasised the importance of the next 45 minutes as it was felt on the terraces that a win was vital. The half however started as the last one had ended with the Daggers looking more likely to break the deadlock. The initial control which Summerfield, Hancox and Norburn had established in the first half hour had disappeared and the Daggers with Robson more prominent began to ask serious questions of the Silkmen defence. A series of corners were desperately defended by the Silkmen and Benson should have done better from one as he lost his marker but headed wide. The breakthrough when it came also saw the Silkmen reduced to 10 men. The ball was played back to Scott Flinders who made a complete Horlicks of his clearance, presenting the ball to Benson just inside the box. As the Dagenham striker was about to shoot he was tugged back by a despairing Neill Byrne, who being the last man received his marching orders. The culprit was unable to make amends as Whiteley sent Flinders the wrong way from the spot.

John Askey almost immediately made changes, bringing on Pilkington for McCombe as the Silkmen went three at the back. I was amongst many who questioned the manager's logic here. Yes I agreed we needed to stay with three at the back, but it seemed to me a waste of a substitute to bring on a like for like defender, when what we now needed were goals. Danny Whitehead also came on to replace Summerfield and immediately took a more forward role. Both Fitzpatrick and Hancox also pushed forward and this almost brought about an equaliser. Hancox slipped the ball into the path of Norburn inside the area and when it seemed as if all he had to do was get a decent contact to equalise, he somehow failed to do so and the ball ended up in the grateful arms of Justham.

John Still also rang the changes, bringing on Howell and the wonderfully named Maguire-Drew as the Daggers sought a third goal to kill the game. They had another gilt edged chance presented to them as Flinders called for a back pass from Fitzpatrick, which wasn't on and under pressure again from Benson, the ball ran loose to Gutteridge just inside the box. However this time the Silkmen stopper made amends for his mistake, saving bravely at Guttridge's feet. Howell then failed to convert a Williams cross from inside the six yard box as Flinders was rooted to the spot. The third goal however wasn't long in coming. With the Silkmen pushing forward and being a man down at the back, Williams crossed from the right and as the Silkmen failed to clear; Maguire-Drew beat Flinders to the ball inside the six yard area to force the ball home. To me he looked offside, but the goal stood and with it the three points disappeared south to effectively confirm Dagenham's place in the play-offs and condemn the Silkmen to National League football for another season. It was left to Maguire-Drew to have the final word as with the game entering time added on he chipped Flinders superbly from 25 yards out, a goal which saw the Star Lane clap in appreciation of a great piece of skill.

Final Score: Macclesfield Town 1 Dagenham & Redbridge 4


CJ Scores on the doors;

Scott Flinders 4.0: You can argue that he was at fault for two or even possibly three of the goals. His distribution continues to be poor, with several clearances ending up in the crowd. I would be very surprised if Craig Ross doesn't play on Tuesday.

Andy Halls 6.0: There was some good work in both defence and attack, with several good blocks in the first half and also got forward to support Browne.

Neill Byrne 5.0: Had looked pretty solid, but it was an obvious penalty and red card.

John McCombe 5.5: Generally ok defensively, but too often he was charged with playing the ball out of defence which is not his strength and it was rather hit and hope!

David Fitzpatrick 6.5: A decent first half and did his best to provide a threat going forward when we were down to 10 men.

Rhys Browne 5.0: Rhys was another who had a decent first 20 minutes or so, but was largely anonymous thereafter.

Luke Summerfield 5.5: Luke started well, excellent distribution during our spell in the ascendency, but largely anonymous after half-time.

Mitch Hancox 6.0: Mitch started well and took his goal well. He kept chipping away in the second half to no avail.

Ollie Norburn 5.5: Ollie was yet another who started well. Could and should have equalised after Byrne was sent off, and had a generally disappointing second half.

Danny Whitaker 5.5: Danny started well, but playing him out of position just doesn't work. A couple of times him and 'Fitz' manufactured positions on the left only for Danny to have to switch back inside to his dominant foot. Second half he seemed to have free reign, but had no impact on proceedings.

Anthony Dudley 5.0: Some nice touches and linked well with the midfield on occasion, but is too lightweight and was easily pushed off the ball on too many occasions. He also lacked conviction on the two occasions he was running at goal and was easily dispossessed. He would be ok with a big target-man, but on his own as a lone frontman, doesn't offer us as much as Holroyd.

Substitutes

George Pilkington 6.0: A hard task to come on when he did, but solid and steady.

Danny Whitehead 5.0: Danny tried to get things going and will be better for the run out.

I can accept losing, but there were too many second half who went missing. Their midfield seemed to have free reign and there was very little tracking back, with the exception of Hancox. I would expect wholesale changes for Tuesday. Isn't it about time Andy Howarth was given a go? The lad is a good player, yet we've hardly seen him.

I also expect to see Ross back in between the sticks. That said, after the way we tamely surrendered, I think there will be many non-season ticket holders who will vote with their feet. As Welsh Comedian Max Boyce once said when asked was he going to watch Neath and said "They never come to see me when I'm bad." I wonder how many will adopt that viewpoint? Given the opposition the one thing which will be certain in my opinion is a sub 1000 crowd.

My Man of the Match on a day of dismal second half performances was David Fitzpatrick, who at least gave 100% both in attack and defence.

Hope you enjoy the read!

crazyjoe 



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