Daggers defeated but reach Wembley

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:10

Daggers defeated but reach Wembley

Dagenham booked their place in the play-off final against Rotherham at Wembley on May 30 as Morecambe bade an emotional and victorious farewell to Christie Park.
The tie was effectively over after John Still’s men recorded a thumping 6-0 first-leg victory last Sunday – but Morecambe refused to lie down in front of their own supporters.
An 81st-minute volley from midfielder Mark Duffy put them ahead and, after the Daggers drew level four minutes later through Paul Benson, Dave Artell headed home the last-ever goal at the stadium that Morecambe have called home since 1921.
Sammy McIlroy’s side, who entered the Football League for the first time three years ago, therefore had cause to celebrate at the final whistle as several of the 4,972 spectators invaded the pitch.
Morecambe’s fourth-placed finish in League Two was their highest-ever placing and provided much cause for optimism as they prepare to move into the Globe Arena next season.
Dagenham failed to reach the heights which saw them hit Morecambe for six in the first leg but they looked dangerous throughout and will fancy their chances of overcoming Rotherham next Sunday.
The Daggers have improved their league position every season since Still took charge in 2004 despite operating on a tiny budget which has forced them to constantly sell their best players.
They almost led in the fifth minute when Romain Vincelot saw his shot parried by Morecambe goalkeeper Barry Roche.
A deep cross from Dagenham midfielder Abu Ogogo then struck the far post before Roche excelled himself again with a fine parried save to block Scott Doe’s close-range volley.
Yet Morecambe were not without chances of their own and Duffy cut inside before seeing his shot pushed away by Dagenham goalkeeper Tony Roberts.
Phil Jevons’ delightful lob hit the top of the crossbar on the hour and strike partner Paul Mullin headed wide 10 minutes later.
The deadlock was broken with 10 minutes remaining when Duffy volleyed home from six yards but Benson nodded home an equaliser four minutes later for his 21st goal of the season.
Yet Morecambe were not to be denied a last hurrah as Artell struck with a stooping far-post header in the closing stages.

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