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Match Report


Posted Sat 15 Oct 11 at 18:51 PM


Dagenham & Redbridge 2
Doe 58, Nurse 69

Argyle 3
Lecointe 20, Hourihane 52, Walton pen 90


"MATT who?" might well have been the reaction to the majority who read national newspaper headlines about the latest young Pilgrim to reach the consciousness of football followers outside the Westcountry.

Not any more. Sixteen-year-old Matt Lecointe entered the Argyle record books with his debut goal of a rapidly burgeoning career to set the Pilgrims on their way to their first away win since...well, their last visit to the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Stadium. Or Victoria Road as it used to be known, and Victory Road as Janners are now calling it.

For the second game in a row, the Pilgrims saw a deserved 2-0 lead disappear in a flurry of panic under home-side pressure.

This time, however, they took it on the chin and came back off the ropes to deliver a knock-out blow when Simon Walton converted an injury-time penalty, won by another of the array of talented Green Teens, Cornish youngster Isaac Vassell.

Good a goal as Lecointe's 20th-minute strike was, it was not even the best goal of the game. That honour went to Conor Hourihane's long-range dipper seven minutes after the interval.


It was the first time Argyle had scored more than one goal away from Home Park since visiting Sheffield Wednesday in March, but the two-goal advantage lasted only six minutes as Scott Doe headed home from a corner by former Pilgrim Damian McCrory.

Within 11 minutes, another whipped-in McCrory corner saw Jon Nurse's far-post header draw Dagenham & Redbridge level and another two points appeared to be lost from a winning position before the game's dramatic conclusion.

Injuries to Simon King and Luke Daley had dictated that manager Carl Fletcher was obliged to make two changes to the 11 that had started the previous week's 2-2 home draw with Accrington Stanley.

Fletcher opted to keep Lecointe in the team for a second successive game, another career first for the 16-year-old whose name was this week linked with names even bigger than Dagenham & Redbridge and who at least some of the 28-strong posse of scouts at Victoria Road had no doubt come to watch.

This time, Lecointe was not the lone Pilgrims striker, with Warren Feeney returning from international duty for Northern Ireland to partner the most prominent of Fletch's Fledglings.

King, the only Essex man in the Argyle squad, had to give best to a back problem, which meant a like-for-like recall for Middlesbrough's on-loan Ben Gibson.

Fletcher opted to join his managerial partner, Romain Larrieu on a bench that also included Green teens Luke Young and Vassell.

Dagenham & Redbridge made two changes to the side beaten 2-1 at Cheltenham seven days earlier: midfielder Kevin Maher and striker Brian Woodhall were recalled in place of Damian Scannell and Troy Hewitt.

Lecointe was soon to the front, literally, chasing down a lofted pass back that was always going to bounce somewhere between him and Daggers goalkeeper Chris Lewington. Fortune favoured the brave in the shape of the considerably weightier custodian.

There was not long to wait, however, before Lecointe at least justified the expenses of those sent to assess him.


A right-wing cross from Durrell Berry had the Daggers on the back foot before the ball was fetched at the far post by the willing Ladjie Soukouna, the Frenchman being employed in an unfamiliar left-wing role.

Soukouna's cut-back pass along the deck ought to have been meat and drink to the former Ivybridge College pupil, and he duly obliged, side-footing the sweet pass high into the net from 10 yards.

Only Darren Bastow and Richie Reynolds have scored first-team goals for the Greens at a known lower age than Lecointe's 16 years and 352 days: Cornishman Reynolds was just nine days younger when he netted against Crystal Palace in January 1965, and he held the all-time low record for 33 years until Darren Bastow scored against Brentford in 1998.

Both those strikes were at Home Park, so a record of sorts - the youngest Argyle player ever to score a first-team goal away from home.

Dagenham responded positively and Argyle were indebted to a fine double save from Jake Cole to keep their noses in front. Cole bravely blocked successive shorts from Gavin Tomlin, although he would have been as grateful as the rest of the ground was surprised that Tomlin gave him the opportunity to keep out the second attempt.

Soukouna was pressed into a more central role when Hourihane became hors de combat and repaired to the dressing-room for staples to a head wound, and Argyle were grateful for his defensive presence as Dagenham & Redbridge tried to take advantage of their greater numbers.


The young Irishman returned to the fray before half-time and helped the Pilgrims negotiate the increasingly choppy waters until they could reach the sanctuary of the interval.

The Daggers started the second half as they had ended the first, and it took a great piece of covering defending by Robbie Williams to keep out a raid down the middle by Nurse.

Argyle were given breathing space in the 52nd minute when Hourihane lashed, first time, at Berry's throw-in. No-one moved as the ball flew wide of Lewington, hit the goalkeeper's left-hand post and plopped, almost apologetically, over the line.

It has been a hallmark of recent months that, on and off the field, the Pilgrims have not always made life easy for themselves and the swiftness with which they allowed Dagenham & Redbridge back in the match ensured the status quo.

McCrory provided the dagger to the heart of his former club, sending in the right-wing corner which Doe met powerfully at the near post to head home.

The game then increasingly resembled a cup tie as the home side threw everything at Argyle, who responded with growing desperation.

They simply could not clear their lines and the pressure told midway through the half when another McCrory corner was converted, this time at the back stick, by Nurse.


The storm appeared to blow itself out with the equaliser, and Hourihane and Lecointe both had half-chances to restore the thrown-away lead.

The Pilgrims were denied an even better opportunity when referee Chris Sarginson turned down appeals for what looked like a stone-cold penalty after Doe quite clearly shoved Lecointe in the back with the youngster's trigger cocked.

Fletcher replaced Feeney with Vassell as the clock ticked down, making the front two inarguably the youngest strike paring ever fielded by the Pilgrims.

The raw pace and enthusiasm - not to mention the tremendous backing from the Green Army - helped drive Argyle on until the end.

In time added on, Vassell's pace proved too much for McCrory and, although Sarginson again waved away claims for a spot-kick, he was persuaded to change his mind by his assistant, leaving Walton to deliver the coup de grace.

Dagenham & Redbridge (4-4-2): 30 Chris Lewington; 19 Abu Ogogo, 4 Scott Doe, 6 Mark Arber (capt), 3 Damien McCrory; 33 Peter Gain, 18 Oliver Lee (15 Damian Scannell 70), 16 Kevin Maher, 11 Gavin Tomlin; 23 Brian Woodall (38 Troy Hewitt 90), 9 Jon Nurse. Substitutes (not used): 1 James Shea (gk), 5 Richard Rose, 24 Billy Bingham.

Sent off: McCrory 90.

Booked: Woodall 87.

Argyle (4-4-2): 23 Jake Cole; 2 Durrell Berry, 6 Curtis Nelson, 19 Ben Gibson, 3 Robbie Williams; 21 Will Atkinson, 8 Simon Walton (capt), 20 Conor Hourihane, 13 Ladjie Soukouna; 11 Warren Feeney (24 Isaac Vassell 84), 27 Matt Lecointe. Substitutes (not used): 1 Romain Larrieu (gk), 4 Carl Fletcher, 15 Luke Young, 22 Jamie Griffiths.

Booked: Williams 66.

Referee: Chris Sarginson.

Attendance: 2,025 (447 away).

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