Ogogo 30, Cureton 87
by Rob McNichol
A BAD week for Argyle turned Shakesperian tragedy on Tuesday night as the Pilgrims saw Daggers before them, and lost 2-0.
Either side of the Ides of March, which we all know to beware of, Argyle have failed to register a goal and have come home from their week on the road with just one point.
Two goals for Dagenham and Redbridge, one in each half, scored by Abu Ogogo and former Exeter City striker Jamie Cureton, saw the Londoners comfortably home, as Argyle huffed, puffed but never looked like blowing houses down or balls into the net.
The one change to Argyle's starting line-up was an enforced one. Drew Talbot, the standout player in green on Saturday at Oxford, was on Argyle's team coach travelling to their Monday afternoon training venue when the call came from Chesterfield that they were recalling him from his loan with the Pilgrims. As Drew hastily made arrangements to travel back to Derbyshire, Argyle ventured on without a player that in nine games had become a bit of a favourite, getting better as his spell progressed and his responsibilities became increasingly varied.
Olly Lee was the replacement, who has had his own storied journey in a short time as a Pilgrim. A tricky start followed by performances that were getting stronger and more eye-catching as time went on and wins flooded in was ended with a sending off at Exeter. After a suspension, and a cameo on Saturday, Olly was back in the line-up against a side for whom he made his Football League debut, about three miles from where he was born.
Argyle had a strong opening 15 minutes to the game, seemingly an ounce more physical and a step quicker than their hosts, but despite Luke McCormick's first touch not coming until after ten minutes had elapsed, the Pilgrims created nothing of note to trouble home goalkeeper Mark Cousins. In fact, Dagenham had the first real effort on goal, as Ayo Obileye's flicked header from a left-wing corner was cleared by Tareiq Holnes-Dennis, marshalling the far post.
The chance galvanised Dagenham a little, and a cut back by Luke Howell, after he had got beyond Holmes-Dennis, was begging to be fired home. Curtis Nelson, though, read the ball best, and Argyle survived.
The home breakthrough came on the half hour, though, and in the scrappiest of circumstances. Jamie Cureton, 39 and counting, managed to conjure a ball through to Ashley Chambers who, while clean through, could not bring the ball under control. His forced shot was saved by the outcoming McCormick, but it squirmed free, and Ogogo, gambling on the right side, got there first to bundle the ball home.
It was the first time Dagenham had even led a game against Argyle since the first ever league meeting between the sides, in November 2010, when Gavin Tomlin had fired Daggers in front at Home Park. Argyle came back to win 2-1 on that occasion, and showed endeavour in pursuing a similar outcome this time, as Lewis Alessandra slipped away from Obileye and set the ball beautifully for Reuben Reid. The latter had to meet the ball at speed and on his left foot, though, and he ended up getting too much on the strike, and flying it north of the crossbar.
Argyle actually ended the half with a sustained spell of possession that made the half-time whistle feel like the bell to signal the end of play-time, but in truth it had been a hard half to watch for anyone with a green heart.
There was definitely a renewed urgency to Argyle in the opening phases of the second half, but keenness to attack can open spaces elsewhere, and Dagenham almost capitalised, five minutes into the period, when a well-worked move found former Pilgrim Ashley Hemmings in space inside the area, but his rushed shot scuttled wide.
Argyle tried the direct route; a long kick by McCormick was flicked on by Reuben Reid and seized by Alessandra, and it took two Dagenham defenders to stop him from getting a clean effort in on goal.
It was almost Alessandra's last action, as he and Anthony O'Connor were withdrawn on the hour mark, with Banton taking Alessandra's spot up front, and Blizzard slotting into the midfield three. Again, Argyle found themselves having plenty of the ball but drawing no chances, and again it was Dagenham who came closest to scoring. A misunderstanding between Peter Hartley and Holmes-Dennis allowed Cureton to exploit space. In the gaps left by covering defenders the ball found Billy Bingham, then Chambers, with the latter dragging wide when looking nailed on to make it two.
Sheridan's last change was to bring on Ryan Brunt for Lee, and to ask Banton to play in behind the new front two of Brunt and Reuben Reid. Bobby Reid had become a de facto quarterback in the Argyle midfield, and was typically at the fore of anything offensive minded for the Pilgrims, but there was just that horrible sense of 'when it ain't your day'.
Argyle continued to harry. Banton, then Hartley fired crosses in that were cleared, and scrambles occurred in the area, but Cousins was a spectator. At the other end Cureton brought a ball down from the sky and turned Hartley all in one move, then shot over when a goal from the former Exeter striker looked like being the certain, macabre post-script.
Which, of course, it was. Cureton was allowed in behind one too many times, and as McCormick came to meet him, the evergreen - yet never Green - Cureton coolly lifted the ball into the net.
Dagenham & Redbridge (4-4-2): 30 Mark Cousins; 8 Abu Ogogo, 4 Scott Doe (capt), 25 Ayo Obileye, 33 Joe Widdowson; 17 Luke Howell, 28 Andre Boucaud (15 Joss Labadie 90), 6 Billy Bingham (2 Damien Batt 90), 23 Ashley Hemmings; 7 Jamie Cureton, 10 Ashley Chambers (16 Daniel Carr 76) Substitutes (not used): 38 Lewis Moore (gk), 22 Ian Gayle, 32 Jodi Jones, 35 Alex Jakubiak.
Argyle (3-5-2): 23 Luke McCormick; 5 Curtis Nelson (capt), 16 Carl McHugh, 29 Peter Hartley; 2 Kelvin Mellor, 17 Bobby Reid, 19 Anthony O'Connor (11 Dom Blizzard 61), 21 Olly Lee (28 Ryan Brunt 77), 13 Tareiq Holmes-Dennis; 7 Lewis Alessandra (8 Jason Banton 61), 9 Reuben Reid. Substitutes (not used): 1 James Bittner (gk), 3 Ben Purrington, 14 Tyler Harvey.
Referee: Oliver Langford
Attendance: 1,713 (507 away)