AFC Fylde 2 Dagenham and Redbridge 2: Match report and reaction

Jack Muldoon has a shot for Fylde Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN
Jack Muldoon has a shot for Fylde Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN

Draw specialists Fylde were again denied their first win in the National League as Sam Ling’s leveller deep into stoppage time maintained Dagenham and Redbridge’s unbeaten record.

The home side gave an excellent display but had to settle for a fourth draw in five outings as the Daggers equalised in injury time at the end of both halves.

The hosts took the lead early through Henry Jones only for Morgan Ferrier’s breakaway goal to take the teams into the interval all square.

Veteran centre-half Simon Grand thought he had won it with a late goal on his full debut but Ling’s header in the 94th minute left Dave Challinor’s side as one of five National League clubs still awaiting their first win.

The Coasters boss made two changes from the side beaten by Maidenhead on Tuesday, with Grand replacing the suspended Josh Langley and James Hardy replacing Jonny Smith out wide.

The visitors’ physical presence was causing problems early on, but it was the Coasters that carved out the first opportunity when Jack Muldoon’s shot from the edge of the area tested keeper Mark Cousins.

Rowe took aim with a trademark piledriver from 25 yards that Cousins saved well and it was one-way traffic in the opening stages, Muldoon heading over from Sam Finley’s deep cross.

The deadlock was deservedly broken by the hosts in the 14th minute. Stand-in captain Andy Bond whipped in an inviting cross from the right that was flicked on by Rowe for Jones to take a touch before slotting home.

The Coasters were playing some of their best football so far against a club which played in League One six years ago, and only a last-ditch interception prevented Zaine Francis-Angol’s low cross finding Rowe.

Dagenham had to wait until the 35th minute to create an opening of note, when Corey Whiteley crossed from the left and Ferrier’s header bounced straight into the hands of Rhys Taylor.

But just as Fylde looked likely to change ends on top, the Daggers hit them on the break. Finley’s crossfield pass was intercepted and the visitors raced away before Ferrier applied the finishing touch with the final kick of the half.

Fylde continued to pepper the Dagenham goal after the break as Finley’s left-footer from the edge of the box was deflected over and Rowe shot tamely from an inviting position.

The Coasters had strong claims for a penalty from a corner, when Grand appeared to wrestled to the ground by opposite number Bondz N’Gala.

Grand was caught out at the other end moments later, when Michael Cheek skipped past his diving challenge but was twice denied in the area by Taylor.

Despite the hosts’ dominance, Whitely almost caught out Taylor with a clever free-kick when everyone was expecting a cross.

Daggers frontman Ferrier had a glorious chance to turn the game on its head when he latched on to a ball over the top and crashed a thunderous strike against the crossbar after jinking past Jordan Tunnicliffe.

But for all Fylde’s intricacy and neat touches, clear-cut opportunities were elusive, though Jones did see a snap-shot blocked.

The breakthrough came four minutes from time, when Smith’s corner from the right found Grand at the back post and the defender poked the ball home to send Mill Farm into raptures.

However, there was to be one cruel final twist for Fylde. With just one minute of the additional five remaining, a looping cross was nodded into the bottom corner by Sam Ling.

Challinor was again left frustrated by the manner and timing of the goals his AFC Fylde side conceded as their wait for a National League win continues. The Coasters boss said: “I am disappointed and annoyed. It makes no odds how you play if you don’t get the result.

“When you have worked so hard to get into winning positions, to get undone by sloppy play at the end of each half is very frustrating.

“We knew they would be a threat on the break, see first goal, and from set-pieces, see second goal, and we should have had enough experience to deal with that but again people switching off has come back to bite us.

“If a striker jumps four foot in the area and smashes a header into the top corner you can maybe hold your hands up and say, ‘Good goal’, but when the smallest player on the pitch stoops on the edge of our six- yard box to score it is unacceptable.

“It makes the performance before that moment irrelevant because you have to see out games.

“Everyone is a little anxious because we keep conceding so late but we can’t afford to have a hangover from that. We have to put it right.

“Inevitably at the end of each half you are more tired, but we need to be more switched on mentally and more organised on those occasions.”

AFC Fylde: Taylor, Bond, Grand, Tunnicliffe, Francis-Angol, Montrose, Finley, Jones (Blinkhorn 84), Muldoon, Hardy (Smith 74), Rowe; not used: Ezewele, Tasdemir.

Dagenham: Cousins, Pennell, Robson, Robinson, Ferrier, Okenabirhie (Howells 72), N’Gala (White 90), Bouchard, Ling, Cheek (Hawkins 68), Whitely; not used: Justham, Lokko.

Att: 1,590

Ref: Marc Edwards