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Hard earned point against Dagenham raises Magpies spirits ahead of Sutton United visit

Remy Clerima’s bullet header was well saved by Dagenham keeper Elliott Justham. Credit: Darren Woolley. 

 

Alan Devonshire admitted the Magpies struggled to break down Peter Taylor's resolute Daggers on Tuesday night, but – although they left it late – their character shone through in the end.

Having fallen behind to Chike Kandi's 85th minute strike the game was in the fourth of five added minutes when Alfie Kilgour picked out the bottom corner of Elliott Justham's net.

The goal and the point were no less than the Magpies deserved, and it raises the spirits once more ahead of Saturday's visit of Sutton United.

Now on 41 points for the season Devonshire reckons they only need nine more points to be confident of avoiding the drop. With 10 games left to play that looks probable rather than possible, but no one will be counting any chickens just yet.

Tuesday's game was a frustrating affair in the main. The Magpies bossed the first half in terms of possession and carved out the game's better chances, with Josh Kelly's diving header flying inches over the bar. But, lacking the intensity and tempo of their previous home wins over Dover and Boreham Wood, they struggled to break down a Daggers team who for the most part looked content to pick up a point.

“Listen it was always going to be difficult,” said Devonshire.

“They sat back to be fair. We ran out of ideas but we dominated the game possession wise and had a few good chances.

“We passed, passed, passed and just lacked that little bit of quality. But listen, with a minute to go and the score at 0-1 I’ll take that.

“It’s about staying in this league. We’re now nine points away from where we need to be. The players gave me everything out there. You can see that. We’re showing character now.”

Devonshire spoke about the side's 'soft underbelly' re-emerging in Tuesday's draw and Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Fylde, and he'll be hoping the sloppy errors will be cut out in time for today’s (Saturday) visit of Sutton United.

“We’ve shown a little soft underbelly, sloppy goals on Saturday and we’ve conceded again tonight, after having had those three clean sheets.

“There were mistakes tonight that again could have been avoided. But listen, it is what it is,” he said.

“Listen we needed to take a chance in the first half. We had a few good chances and we didn’t take them. Second half we huffed and puffed, but Alfie’s popped up at the end to get the goal and we’ve got a good point out of it.

“We’re on 41 now,” Devonshire added.

“It would have been (horrible to lose) the way we’d been dominating. But it’s another point toward where we need to be and we’ve got 10 games left.

“Sutton will be tough. We know what they’re going to bring. It’s going to be a tough game and we’ll need the crowd to get behind us, like they did tonight, they were brilliant.

“We’ll need them again on Saturday. They’ve been brilliant for us since I came back. I can’t ask for much more. They’re a great bunch.”

First team assistant Sam Lock added: “Sutton are a very good side. They're doing ok in the league. They’d expect to be a bit higher than where they are. They’ll come here and try to take three points.

“It'll be a battle.”

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