Hartlepool United 1-1 Dagenham & Redbridge: Joe Grey's 12th goal of the season secures a point in final home game of up-and-down campaign.

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Joe Grey's 12th goal of the season was enough to secure a point for Hartlepool United as their 23rd and final home game of an up-and-down National League campaign ended in a 1-1 draw against Dagenham & Redbridge.

Pools were made to pay for a lacklustre first half display when the lively Dion Pereira gave the visitors the lead seven minutes before the break following a mistake from skipper Nicky Featherstone but the hosts responded well after the break and equalised thanks to Joe Grey's first time finish in the 59th minute.

The home side were a little unfortunate not to end up with all three points in the end after a much-improved second half display, while Campbell Darcy, Max Storey and Alfie Steel all featured from the bench as Kevin Phillips’ side ended the game with four academy products on the pitch.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Pools were bidding for a fourth successive home clean sheet on the penultimate weekend, and final game at the Suit Direct Stadium, of another turbulent campaign.

Joe Grey celebrates the equaliser, his 12th goal of an impressive season.Joe Grey celebrates the equaliser, his 12th goal of an impressive season.
Joe Grey celebrates the equaliser, his 12th goal of an impressive season.

Despite being unbeaten in their last three in the North East, Kevin Phillips was less than impressed with his side’s lacklustre performance during their 3-1 midweek defeat to Maidenhead, criticising his players for being outbattled.

Pools were quite literally down to the bare bones, with just 16 players available after Chay Cooper, who started in Berkshire, was taken ill in the week.

That meant Middlesbrough loanee Terrell Agyemang was back for the sixth start of his second loan spell, while academy trio Campbell Darcy, Max Storey and Alfie Steel joined goalkeeper Joel Dixon and 21-year-old Kwaku Oduroh on the bench.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Dagenham, meanwhile, were two points behind Pools in the National League table and looking to leapfrog the hosts, but arrived at the Suit Direct having taken just a point from their last two matches.

Antiguan international Dion Pereira opens the scoring for the visitors, his second Daggers goal since signing on loan from Luton.Antiguan international Dion Pereira opens the scoring for the visitors, his second Daggers goal since signing on loan from Luton.
Antiguan international Dion Pereira opens the scoring for the visitors, his second Daggers goal since signing on loan from Luton.

The visitors looked lively for the first five minutes but Pools soon started to grow into the game and skipper Nicky Featherstone had the first effort of the afternoon seven minutes in, firing well wide from distance not long after passing up an opportunity to shoot in a similar position.

The first 25 minutes or so were pretty tepid, with the contest having the feel of an end of season dead rubber and neither side making much of an impact in the opposition third, although the towering Inih Effiong managed a shot on target after a quarter-of-an-hour when he fired harmlessly at Pete Jameson from long range.

Although both sides were looking decidedly lacklustre, Dagenham were probably playing the better football with West Ham loanee Keenan Appiah-Forson showing a few nice touches and keeping his team ticking over from the base of midfield, while Antiguan international Dion Pereira looked the most like creating something for the visitors.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Pools got the home crowd out of their seats for the first time in the 29th minute after Callum Cooke and David Ferguson combined well down the left and the marauding full-back pulled the ball back for Cooke, who took a touch before firing over Elliot Justham’s crossbar from the edge of the box.

The home fans were starting to get a little frustrated and their mood darkened considerably when Dagenham took the lead after 37 minutes through Dion Pereira.

Nicky Featherstone had his pocket picked by Appiah-Forson after dallying on the ball around halfway before the 22-year-old picked out Pereira, who advanced into a huge gap in the defence left after Effiong’s run across the face dragged Waterfall and Parkes out of position and slotted beyond Jameson and into the far corner from eight yards to make it 1-0 to the visitors.

Pools had not showed enough intent all afternoon and, although David Ferguson’s threatening cross wasn’t too far from the head of Mani Dieseruvwe with a couple of minutes of the opening period remaining, the hosts could have few complaints when the referee’s whistle blew and they headed into the break a goal down.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The home side played with much more urgency after the restart and, after some nice combination play between Cooke and Featherstone came to nothing, Crawford headed wide of the near post following David Ferguson’s 50th minute corner.

Pools were rewarded for a much more up-tempo start to the second half when Joe Grey equalised in the 59th minute.

The home side turned defence into attack with a quick forward pass to Mani Dieseruvwe, who drove forward a few yards before sliding in Joe Grey and the 20-year-old beat two retreating defenders to the ball and poked a first time finish beyond Elliot Justham to draw Pools level with his 12th goal of the season.

For the first time in the game, Pools had something approaching momentum and the hosts almost turned the game on its head less than two minutes after the equaliser when Tom Parkes, in search of his second successive home goal, headed Callum Cooke’s corner straight at Justham.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The home side were the better team for much of the second period, with Callum Cooke not too far away with a free-kick, while teenagers Campbell Darcy and Max Storey, who was on for his league debut, both impressed after being introduced by Kevin Phillips as the clock ticked down.

The visitors had failed to pose much of a threat since the break but almost restored their lead against the run of play when Nik Tavares was fastest to the second ball following Dagenham’s first corner of the second half but the defender’s effort was straight at Jameson.

At the other end, Pools were pressing for a winner and Joe Grey forced a smart stop from Justham after winning possession on the edge of the Dagenham box with 10 minutes to go while Storey, who was looking confident, dragged a shot wide of the far post in the 82nd minute.

Striker Alfie Steel became the third teenager to be introduced from the bench when goalscorer Grey limped off injured, meaning Pools finished the game with four academy products in the XI.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

While the home side huffed and puffed, Tom Parkes had to clear off the line from substitute Harvey Kedwell’s added time header to ensure the final home game of the season ended in a draw.

Pools (4-1-4-1): Jameson; Ferguson, Parkes, Waterfall, Stephenson; Featherstone (capt), Crawford (sub, Darcy, 65), Cooke, Agyemang (sub, Storey, 76), Grey (sub, Steel, 84); Dieseruvwe.

Dagenham & Redbridge (4-2-3-1): Justham (capt); Hare, Tavares, Eastman, Johnson; Appiah-Forson, Hessenthaler, Pereira (sub, Kedwell, 86), Rees, Hill (sub, Lawless, 67); Effiong (sub, Longe-King, 90+5).

Attendance: 4,250 (73 away).

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.