Regan is spot-on, but another quickfire double leaves Alty empty-handed again

Words John Edwards

Dagenham & Redbridge 3 Altrincham 1

A Regan Linney penalty gave Altrincham some hope, as they went in level at half-time, but conceding one goal after another in quick succession again proved costly as the Robins slipped to a fifth straight Vanarama National League defeat at the Chigwell Construction Stadium this afternoon.

Alty were desperate to halt their losing run and put their play-off campaign back on track, and there was every reason to believe they could be on course for at least a point when Linney picked himself up from being fouled and drilled a nerveless spot-kick into the bottom corner in first-half stoppage time.

The Robins were level, after going behind a couple of minutes earlier, and seemed to have given themselves a platform for ensuring yet another long journey home wasn't undertaken without something to show for their efforts.

But a scrambled second Dagenham goal in the 61st minute and a breakaway third three minutes later undid all that and dropped Alty to ninth in the table, ahead of Tuesday evening's increasingly significant fixture with Dorking Wanderers at The J.Davidson Stadium.

Though clear-cut chances were in short supply in the first half, there was one apiece for either side in quick succession around the quarter-of-an-hour-mark.
First, Matt Gould saved superbly to deny Ryan Hill from a 14th minute corner, then Linney fired narrowly high and wide after Dan Mooney did brilliantly to burst into the Dagenham half and set him up just seconds later.

The deadlock was broken in the 42nd minute when Eddy Jones was adjudged to have fouled Tom Eastman, and Hill stepped up to drill the resulting penalty expertly past Gould.

Shortly after, it was Alty's turn to excel from 12 yards, as Linney sent the Dagenham keeper the wrong way with a coolly-taken spot-kick after a trip halted his advance into the home penalty area.

So, all-square at half-time, and a sense of belief was surely taking shape in the Alty ranks that this could be the day their losing sequence was put behind them and replaced by a much-needed positive result.

There seemed to be good cause for optimism when, soon after a fine save by Gould from Hill in the 51st minute, Chris Conn-Clarke so nearly added another entry into his catalogue of special Alty goals with a deflected effort that smacked against the post.

It wasn't to be, though, as Dagenham regained the lead with a scruffy goal in the 61st minute, a long throw leading to a scramble near the left corner of the six-yard box that ended with Josh Rees forcing the ball over the line, just inside the right-hand post.

Worse followed three minutes later when Harry Phipps broke clear down the left and cut inside a challenge before rifling a clever reverse shot past the advancing Gould and into the bottom corner.

A trip on Dior Angus on the edge of the area provided a presentable opportunity for Alty in the 88th minute, only for Conn-Clarke's free-kick to clear not only the wall but the crossbar, and one final chance of reducing the arrears went the same way in added time when Conn-Clarke blazed over after playing a one-two with Linney.

There is still time for Alty to force their way back into the play-off picture, but taking full advantage of a run of home games, starting on Tuesday, is looking more of a necessity than ever.

Dagenham Justham; Johnson, Tavares, Eastham, Hessenthaler, Hill (Remy, 90'+3), Rees, Phipps (Page, 81'), Kedwell (Lawless, 90'), Ling, Appiah-Forson. Subs not used: Hare.

Altrincham Gould; Banks, E.Jones, Baines, Marriott (c), Linney, Conn-Clarke, Cooper, Wilson, Newby (Kosylo, 68'), Mooney (Angus, 75'). Subs not used: Byrne, Roscoe.

HT 1-1

Goals Hill 42' (pen), Rees 61', Phipps 65' | Linney 45+1' (pen)

Yellows Appiah-Forson 35', Rees 90'+4 | Newby 49', Wilson 76'

Reds None | None

Referee Paul Johnson

Assistants Lee Hartley & Mark Chalkley

Fourth official Jack Bloxham

Attendance 1,449 (98 away)

Next Up

We return home for a three-game run at the J.Davidson Stadium - first up Dorking Wanderers on Tuesday evening - tickets here - followed by an International Women's Day celebration next Saturday against Woking - tickets here - before we round of on Tuesday, March 12 against York City - tickets here - where we welcome March of the Day.

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Altrincham FC

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