Hartlepool United 1-0 Dagenham & Redbridge analysis – Mark Kitching finds the key to beating stubborn Daggers
It was one of those afternoons where the final scoreline suggested the match was a lot less comfortable than it actually was.
Hartlepool United’s 1-0 victory over Dagenham & Redbridge at Victoria Park was their first home win and clean sheet under Dave Challinor in the National League as Mark Kitching’s 77th minute strike sealed an important three points.
Pools had been in control from the opening stages of the game as they passed their opponents to death while Dagenham attempted to frustrate.
Hartlepool tend to struggle against sides who sit back against them as they’ve been unable to break the opposition down.
The Daggers had no real intention to win the game, they had all 11 men behind the ball for large periods of the game and seemed perfectly content to play for a point.
It was a plan that almost worked as it took Pools until the closing stages of the match to finally find a way through.
The introduction of Tyler Hamilton in the 77th minute proved to be an inspired one as the Hull City loanee was on the pitch for less than half a minute when he played a splitting ball through for Kitching to slide in with his right foot for the first of the season.
The left-back has continually found himself in promising positions throughout the season without having anything to show for it.
So there was a big sense of relief when the 23-year-old finally found the back of the net.
After the goal, Dagenham had few ideas left as Pools were able to see out the win comfortably.
It was only their second clean sheet in the National League at Victoria Park but few will come more comfortable than that as Ben Killip barely made a save or catch.
It was an ideal second debut for Gary Liddle who impressed in defence despite being rarely tested. It looked like his 50th match, not his first alongside Michael Raynes after just two days training.
The victory sees Pools five points off the play-off places and will hopefully provide a confidence boost going into a difficult run off matches with seventh placed Harrogate Town next up on Boxing Day.