Dagenham & Redbridge 0 Pompey 0

Ryan Taylor does his best to direct a header towards goal. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ryan Taylor does his best to direct a header towards goal. Picture: Joe Pepler
Plymouth Argyle's Remi Matthews. Picture: PA Images

Plymouth’s goalkeeping crisis ahead of Pompey clash

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Pompey’s momentum continued – yet at Dagenham & Redbridge it was a grinding progress rather than fluent.

Andy Awford’s men headed to Victoria Road on the back of a draw and a victory since switching to a wing-back system.

Last night’s fixture yielded another point courtesy of a goalless draw, although it was far from a pleasing spectacle for the vocal 885 away followers.

Only goal difference separated the sides in the league table beforehand and certainly there was not much to divide them on the football pitch.

The match may have been an end-to-end affair but neither team could muster a meaningful shot on target during a comfortable night for the keepers.

It was disappointing from Pompey considering recent improved showings, with only a glancing Joe Devera header and a blocked shot from James Dunne threatening.

Similarly, the Daggers – led by the evergreen Jamie Cureton – challenged on the counter but also failed to put Paul Jones under any meaningful pressure.

So the sides played out an honourable draw, neither deserving victory although sharing in the largely uninspiring play throughout.

Awford will point to a third successive clean sheet during this three-match unbeaten run which has yielded five points.

Nonetheless, it remained a below-par showing in a fixture many would have been expecting the Blues to have come a lot closer to winning.

There were no changes by Awford for the visit to Victoria Road as he stuck with the XI which defeated Hartlepool.

It was a decision made more comfortable with Ben Chorley still sidelined by the ankle injury he picked up at Wycombe.

The bench was also unchanged, once more no place for veteran Nicky Shorey for the third match in succession, while Paul McCallum remains suspended.

Meanwhile, Patrick Agyemang was again left out of the match-day 18 as he struggles to break into the squad following his loan return from the Daggers.

The striker made four appearances for last night’s opponents but failed to find the net and struggled to impress supporters, ensuring his stay was not extended beyond the turn of the year.

When the match kicked off, a Pompey corner routine failed to come off, sparking a threatening Daggers counter-attack.

The ball was swung over to the left to release Ashley Hemmings on last-man Josh Passley and the winger crashed in a cross-cum-shot which just missed the far corner of the net.

Moments later, Cureton twisted and turned inside the penalty area and tumbled under a challenge from Paul Robinson, sparking calls for a spot-kick.

Referee Trevor Kettle, however, was not interested – much to the fury of Cureton who clearly felt he had a case.

Pompey were also having their moments, putting early pressure on the home goal, winning several corners and prompting some frantic defending at times.

On 11 minutes, Robinson poleaxed Cureton following a clever flick but Hemmings’ free-kick from 20 yards curled comfortably wide.

Next up, Luke Howell screwed a left-foot shot from distance well wide as the hosts started to enjoy steady possession in the Blues’ half.

In the 17th minute, a long throw from the right by Danny Hollands glanced off the head of Devera but Mark Cousins collected it at his near post.

Wallace, who was having a quiet start, did get on the ball on 23 minutes and clipped a right-foot pass through the middle but Abu Ogogo was tracking back to intervene and Cousins gathered.

The match remained an end-to-end affair and Alex Jakubiak wriggled between two Pompey defenders inside the box to discover space and crash a right-foot shot wide.

The Daggers were on the front foot again when Andre Boucaud’s dangerous cross was steered back towards his own keeper by Robinson and Jones panicked and sliced it into touch.

On 36 minutes, Wallace won a free-kick 25 yards out following a push by Boucaud but when the ball was delivered by the midfielder the offside flag was raised and the promising position petered out.

Wallace then threaded a pass through to Matt Tubbs inside the box but Ayo Obileye came across to thwart him and clear the ball for a corner.

The resulting set-piece saw Wallace cross from the left and Jack Whatmough steamed in to plant a low, free header wide of the target.

Hemmings drove in a shot from long range down the left on 43 minutes which keeper Jones got down comfortably to save.

On the stroke of half-time, Jones sparked a scare when he badly sliced a clearance which barely left the penalty area – although the hosts couldn’t get a clean shot and he gathered again.

The start to the second half was scrappy – with little in the way of quality as both sides fought to gain a foothold in proceedings.

On 54 minutes, though, Howell did draw a stop from Jones when he produced a flying half-volley after Cureton’s pass had found its way through to him.

It was far from inspiring stuff from the visitors but the away fans were noisily sticking by their team, urging them forwards for the breakthrough.

Joe Widdowson won a corner down the left in the 62nd minute and from Boucaud’s delivery Obileye missed his header for what was a glorious opportunity right in front of goal.

Still the Daggers suggested they were the more likely to score and when Jakubiak pulled the ball back, Boucaud unleashed a ferocious 30-yard drive which whistled past the right-hand post.

It prompted Awford to make his first substitution, with the below-par Wallace withdrawn in favour of Nigel Atangana in the 66th minute.

Sarcastic cheers from the away fans greeted Dunne’s blocked effort on 74 minutes as the ball bounced gently towards Jones during a rare Blues attempt on goal.

The outstanding Robinson was booked after clattering Jakubiak as the game entered the final 10 minutes goalless.

And that was the way it stayed, despite both sides striving to find the breakthrough, and Awford chalked up a third match unbeaten.