Extra slice of luck eludes Daggers

FA Cup: Unforgettable day for non-Leaguers as Charlton are taken to the limit and Kingstonian cast a spell
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To the Daggers the praise, to Charlton the spoils. For two hours at the Victoria Road ground yesterday, Dagenham and Redbridge fought for the right to play Tottenham in the fourth round of the FA Cup. For large swathes of a memorable afternoon, they outplayed their upwardly mobile neighbours, matching them with the rapier as well as the broadsword. In the end, a momentary lapse of concentration a minute into the first period of extra time cost them the chance of further fame.

To the Daggers the praise, to Charlton the spoils. For two hours at the Victoria Road ground yesterday, Dagenham and Redbridge fought for the right to play Tottenham in the fourth round of the FA Cup. For large swathes of a memorable afternoon, they outplayed their upwardly mobile neighbours, matching them with the rapier as well as the broadsword. In the end, a momentary lapse of concentration a minute into the first period of extra time cost them the chance of further fame.

Shaun Newton finally ended the Premier League team's nightmare, but few will forget the courage of the Conference side, who were still pressing for an equaliser when, by rights, their legs should have seized up and their hearts been fragmented. In the dying seconds, Rob Haworth headed fract-ionally over to signal the end of the gallant resistance.

Even before kick-off, this tie had taken on an epic quality. The postponed replay cost the non-League club an estimated £150,000 in television fees, more than the total of their league gate receipts for the previous season, but a capacity crowd of 5,400 at the Victoria Road ground yesterday was at least some reward for the heroics which stretched back to the fourth qualifying round against Hayes Athletic in mid-November.

Charlton had avoided complete embarrassment through a John Salako goal four minutes from time in the match at the Valley. Six changes to the line-up that day reflected Curbishley's concern, but without the goalscoring prowess of Jonatan Johansson and the midfield intelligence of Mark Kinsella, Charlton looked a fraction lightweight for such an industrial encounter.

But the locals turned out in force, some bizarrely dressed in fluffy pink suits, the rest harbouring a particular dislike of Salako voiced in the unmistakeable tones of the Mile End Road.

Sages suggested that somewhere in the last three weeks, the magic of the Cup would have evaporated. Dagenham's day had been and gone.

Nice idea. Once the chill wind had obligingly turned the flatlands into the Russian Steppes with a sandy outcrop of a pitch to match, the replay became more a matter of character than class; typical territory for a Cup shock, in other words. An early skirmish involving Paul Terry and the Charlton goalkeeper, Dean Kiely, set the tone for an abrasive first half.

Terry should have been booked for the late challenge which left Kiely needing extensive attention. For the opening 10 minutes, Dagenham tried to match the Premier League side for passing and movement, but the game soon degenerated into a formless stalemate. If anything, the Daggers had the better chances in the first half-hour, a Lee Matthews free-kick arrowing just wide of Kiely's right-hand post. Only towards the end of the half did Charlton begin to glimpse a way through the rugged Dagenham rearguard.

Twice the visitors should have gone ahead, twice they were denied by Tony Roberts, who initially blocked an angled shot from Kevin Lisbie and then, just before the break, clawed away a shot from point- blank range after Steve Brown's low cross had found Lisbie again unmarked five yards out.

Charlton searched desperately for some respite from their tormentors. Instead, they found only more flying tackles and a mid-table Conference side determined to outstrip their presumed talent. The element of carnival had long since vanished over the horizon with the sun, replaced by a serious and rising contemplation of the impossible.

Mark Fish, an experienced international, stood rooted to the cloying surface allowing Junior McDougald to turn and run at him, Mark Janney - as he had in the first tie - posed considerable problems down the Charlton left. Dagenham controlled the tempo of the game, unrecognisable from the half-hearted outfit who had themselves been the fall guys against Weymouth Town in the FA Trophy a fortnight ago.

A sustained assault early in the second half reduced the Charlton defence to desperate methods of survival, while Steve Heffer's late lunge on Steve Brown, which brought the fifth booking of the game, was a further reminder of Dagenham's resolution.

Into the final quarter of normal time. and Dagenham remained the more coherent side. An intricate short-passing movement down the Dagenham left brough Danny Shipp just enough space to turn and fire a low right-foot shot which ruffled the side-netting.

Manager Garry Hill brought on Matt Jones for the injured Terry in the Dagenham midfield; Curbishley replaced the ineffective Svensson with Charlie Macdonald, whose header at least provided Charlton with the glimpse of salvation. But it was not until extra time, after three hours of parity, that the Premier League club finally went ahead in the tie. An innocuous-looking cross from Salako somehow eluded the Dagenham central defence and Newton slipped in on the far post to angle the ball past Roberts.

A momentary silence was followed by renewed fervour, and when McDougald forced the ball home from a corner in the very next minute, the Cup gods seemed to have been provoked into further fantasy. But referee Alan Wiley ruled that McDougald had fouled Kiely and disallowed the goal.

Buoyed by their unexpected advantage, Charlton settled on the ball for the first time, and another left-wing cross from Konchesky just eluded Lisbie. Janney clipped a right-foot shot just wide and pounded the ground in frustration.

So Charlton now entertain Tottenham, and will be thankful for the relief.

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