A look ahead to tomorrow's game
On Saturday Bristol Rovers face Dagenham and Redbridge for just the eighth time. In the same fixture last season Rovers, on an inspired run under John Ward, had an empathic 4-2 victory with Oumare Tounkara terrorizing Daggers keeper John Miles.
Rovers are looking to pick up their first points on the road this season. Rovers’ second half performance in the Bristol derby at Ashton Gate led many Gasheads to believe that their team had found some away form.
Whilst Rovers were going down to Plymouth the Daggers were held 1-1 at home by Exeter. The Essex team controlled the first half and on 20 minutes were rewarded. Exeter keeper Artur Krysiak miskicked his clearance, allowing Josh Scott to fire into an empty net from 25 yards.
Krysiak made up for his earlier error by saving well from Abu Agogo and Zavon Hines either side of the break. Exeter came into the game and leveled when Sam Parkin headed in Matt Oakley's cross for his second of the season.
Daggers boss Wayne Burnett felt his side’s inability to kill off Exeter ultimately cost them as they had to settle for a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw at Victoria Road on Saturday.
“Our goal was probably a little fortunate but we pressed them very well in the first half and created some real good goalscoring opportunities and could have had two or three goals.
“For the next 10-15 minutes after we scored we had some fantastic opportunities but when you are on top you have to capitalise on those opportunities and we never did. When you only have a one goal lead the other team always has an opportunity to get back in it, They have got a danger in Parkin; they get the ball forward to him with little diagonals.
“We found it difficult to cope with at times but we did have chances and if you don’t see the game out they are always in with an opportunity and I felt we started to creep just a little bit too deep in the second half and they’ve scored a well taken goal.
“To be fair to Exeter they made two substitutions at the break and they came out, pressed us, worked hard and kept the ball very nicely.”
Rovers’ first visit to Victoria Road was on 18 September 2010 and a Jeff Hughes hat-trick brought all three points back to Bristol. The following season after a very successful run under Mark McGhee, the Gas finished their campaign in Essex and went back with their tail between their legs with a 4-0 thrashing.
The high scoring in this fixture was continued last season as a spectacular start saw Rovers go 2-0 up within 6 minutes with goals by John-Joe O’Toole and Oumare Tounkara. Danny Woodards made the game safe for Rovers on 20 minutes before Ben Strevens pulled on back for the Daggers.
The game then went 40 minutes without a goal before Tounkara notched his second; Jake Reed gave the result some respectability for the Daggers who finished well beaten.
One player impressing for the Essex team this season is former West Ham youngster Zavon Hines and defender Brian Saah is pleased he is not facing him.
“Zavon is a big asset for us with the way he plays and the way he carries the ball,” said Saah. “He takes a lot of pressure off the team and it’s important we continue to give him the ball. I’m definitely pleased I don’t have to come up against him on a match day.”
Saah did express his frustration about not being to kill off the Devon team “It’s very disappointing to not get the three points in the end. After taking the lead at home and having chances to score in the first half you would expect us to go on.
“But by us not taking them chances it gave them confidence and allowed them to still be in the game.
“They put us under a bit of pressure in the second half and I felt we dealt with it okay, but it’s unfortunate and disappointing to concede the goal.”
26 year old Saah went on to talk about his fledgling defensive partnership with Scott Doe, “We are only six games in and Doey is a good player and he is playing well as well. Hopefully we can just keep a few more clean sheets and that’ll give everyone a bit of confidence.
“I am happy with my own performance, but the main thing obviously for us is to keep clean sheets and try and pick up three points each week.
“We have a good squad and you need that in this division if you want to have a successful season. We have got that and got competition for places so everything is going in the right direction.”
Written by Gerry Prewett.