22 September 2003.
Dagenham and Redbridge (a)
Exeter City 1
Dagenham and Redbridge 1.
Monday 22 September 2003.
Referee: K Woolmer
Manager Eamonn Dolan made three changes. from the side beaten at Gravesend & Northfleet two days earlier with Alex Jeannin coming in for utility-man Barry McConnell and Les Afful and Sean Devine in the starting line-up for this televised fixture. Within thirty seconds, clever interplay between Devine and Steve Flack sent the home fanspulses racing. As James Coppinger whipped in an inviting cross, Afful could not quite angle the ball past Dagenham stopper James Pullen. Minutes later Devine again found Coppinger with an opportunist reverse pass, but from the return ball he shot wastefully wide. The Dagenham players showed that they were not around merely to make up the numbers, as Lenny Piper burst through, only to see James Bittner dive bravely at his feet before Anthony Scully hit an ambitious effort over from all of 30 yards. Just as the visitors seemed to have settled, it was the home side who drew first blood. An intelligent quick free kick from Jeannin picked out Afful superbly and, with the youngster baring down on goal, ex-Grecians defender Alan Kimble could only lash out, giving Referee Andy Woolmer no choice but to point to the spot. and show the red card. Devine stepped up to send Pullen the wrong way and send the crowd into raptures. "One nil to the Exeter! Are you watching Sky Sports One!" With this, the visitors began to claw their way back into the game. Scully began to pull the strings in midfield and, before long, a right- wing Piper cross found Danny Shipp unmarked at the far post. His backward header was inches from connecting with Mark Bentley's acrobatic overhead kick before Shipp sent his volley sailing over. Meanwhile, City livewire Afful was causing trouble at the other end. Lee Matthews could only scythe him down as he rode three challenges before sending Devine free and it took a cynical challenge from Dagenham's Longest serving player, Tim Cole, to subdue the young forward. Afful sadly could not shake off the resulting knee injury and did not re-emerge for the second half. The Grecians were still very much in control as a Jeannin throw found Devine in space. His audacious flick teed up Coppinger, whose powerful drive stung Pullen's hands. However, after 36 minutes came the moment all City fans had feared, despite watching their team command the opening exchanges. Scully swung in a corner from the right and Cole lost his man to plant a bullet header past a stranded Bittner. Kwame Ampadu emerged as Afful's replacement for the second period and former Grecian Leon Braithwaite entered the fray for Dagenham in place of Tarkan Mustafa. The visitors had their 'keeper to thank, however, minutes later as he plucked the ball away from Coppinger after the winger had murdered Matthews for pace and the visiting glovesman dived at Ampadu's feet when many would have opted for self-preservation. The turning point came as Piper trotted off to be replaced by former Tottenham trainee Mark Janney. The visitors began to dig in and seize total control of the midfield as Janney got straight into the action with successive crosses that unlocked the Exeter rearguard. So into added time, the three points were still there for the taking. City went in search of the decisive goal as Hiley launched a free kick into the Daggers' box causing chaos. As the ball was hacked off Devine's boot, the visitors surged forward. Janney's cross was met by Braithwaite's diving header and Bittner's lightning reflexes saved the day.
BBC match summary and information
Dagenham shrugged off the early dismissal of Alan Kimble to battle back for a point against Exeter at St James Park. Kimble saw red for a professional foul in the 12th minute, but Tim Cole cancelled out the resulting spot-kick from Sean Devine and the 10-man Daggers nearly stole all three points. Exeter could have gone ahead as early as the first minute when a slick passing move culminated in Leslie Afful volleying James Coppinger's cross into the grateful arms of Daggers keeper James Pullen.
Afful was instrumental as the hosts took the lead, the lively striker clumsily brought down by Kimble as he chased a long clearance into the penalty area. After Kimble trudged off Devine stepped up to send Pullen the wrong way from the spot, but defender Cole dragged Dagenham level 10 minutes before the interval with a towering near-post header from Anthony Scully's corner. Exeter could not find a way through in the second half, and it was the visitors who came closest to securing the victory when Leon Braithwaite's close-range diving header brought an instinctive injury-time save from James Bittner.
Exeter: Bittner, Hiley, Jeannin, Gaia, Todd, Coppinger, Afful, Cronin, Lee, Flack, Devine. Subs: Rice, Moor, McConnell, Canham, Ampadu.
Dag & Red: Pullen, Mustafa, Kimble, Cole, Matthews, Scully, Bentley, Chris Piper, Lenny Piper, Shipp, Bruce. Subs: Wilmot, Vickers, Janney, Hill, Braithwaite.