HARTLEPOOL United were left to rue a catalogue of missed chances as bottom club Dagenham and Redbridge stole a late win at a gusty Victoria Park.
Manager Mick Wadsworth had collected the npower League One Manager of the Month award for December prior to kick off but it’s been a different story since the turn of the year with this a third straight defeat for his side.
Wadsworth made two changes to the team which was beaten in the FA Cup at Watford a week ago with Armann Bjornsson coming in at centre-back, Joe Gamble the man making way, and James Brown replacing Ritchie Humphreys as the lone frontman.
And Brown was involved in the move which led to Pools’ first effort on goal in the 4th minute, his well-weighted layoff presenting skipper Neil Austin with the chance to strike narrowly wide from 20 yards.
Gary Liddle then went even closer from similar range on 10 minutes but his lofted, left-footed effort struck the angle of post and bar.
Pools were dominating the early exchanges and from their fourth corner of the afternoon, delivered by Leon McSweeney, Andy Monkhouse rose to head onto the roof of the net from 12 yards.
Dagenham, though, were managing to withstand that heavy pressure and veteran stopper Tony Roberts produced a fine save to beat clear McSweeney’s vicious drive after he had been slipped in by Brown.
And Roberts again came between Pools and a deserved opener on 39 minutes when he blocked Evan Horwood’s first-time volley after the full-back had steamed onto McSweeney’s centre to connect just inside the area.
HALF-TIME: Pools 0 Dagenham 0
A rare visiting offensive saw Gavin Tomlin find space inside the Pools’ penalty box but the forward lacked the composure to trouble Jake Kean and instead sliced tamely into the side-netting.
Pools laboured after the break and, despite having the wind at their tails, failed to fashion any openings of note until Ritchie Humphreys replaced James Brown with 25 minutes left on the clock.
Humphreys’ arrival at least provided a danger-zone threat from his long throw-ins and on several occasions he located the towering head of Bjornsson only for a green shirt so clear the Scandinavian’s knock down.
Humphreys then got a sniff of goal from Monkhouse’s headed flick but marker Scott Doe recovered to slide and block the striker’s shot.
And Pools were made to pay the price for failing to turn that early dominance into goals when a swift Dagenham breakaway saw Tomiln steal in at the near post to poke home Jon Nurse’s low cross on 86 minutes.
Pools: Kean, Austin (Yantorno 77), Bjornsson, Hartley, Horwood, McSweeney, Murray (Boyd 85), Sweeney, Liddle, Monkhouse, Brown (Humphreys 67)
Subs n/u: Flinders, Haslam, Gamble, Larkin
Dagenham & Redbridge: Roberts, Doe, Arber, Green, Tomlin, Ogogo, Vincelot, Ilesanmi, Gain, Elito (Nurse 75), Morgan
Subs n/u: Antwi, Scannell, Savage, Currie, Bingham, Lewington.