Dagenham 4 Hartlepool United 2: Pools press self destruct button as winless run extends to eight games

Blair Adams in action at Dagenham
Blair Adams in action at Dagenham

Hartlepool United have now gone eight games without a win after pressing the self destruct button at Dagenham.

Danny Sparkes opened the scoring just before the break but a Michael Woods header squared things up only for Michael Cheek, Fejiri Okenabirhie and Sparkes to win it for the hosts in the second period. Woods netted a late consolation, his second of the afternoon, for Pools.

Manager Craig Harrison made two changes from the side who drew 2-2 with Gateshead on New Year's Day.

One of them was enforced as Rhys Oates failed a late fitness test on a dead leg, Blair Adams came into the side in his place.

The other saw Devante Rodney drop to the bench with Liam Donnelly moving into midfield and Carl Magnay coming in from injury to play right back.

Pools had to weather a storm at Victoria Road in the opening exchanges.

Cheek had the best chance to open the scoring - hitting the bar with a header from close range and almost turning in the rebound, but for a quality interception by Michael Ledger.

Scott Loach had to be at his very best to deny Okenabirhie from netting, tipping a low, skidding long-range effort past the post.

Second best in every department, Pools' resistance could only last so long under intense pressure.

And in the 39th minute is was 1-0 as Sparkes turned in a cross from the right.

It was little less than the home side deserved who were first to every ball, full of attacking intent and looked full of goals in a dominant opening 45.

Down to the bare bones, Harrison again patched his wounded troops up for the second-half, making one change with Devante Rodney coming on for the ineffectual Adams.

And Pools came out like a different side. They were almost level twice within two minutes of the start of the second half.

First Northern Irishman Donnelly rose highest from a Jonathan Franks corner to see his effort cleared off the line. Then, Mark Cousins produced a moment of magic between the Daggers' sticks, remarkably diving to his right to plam away a goal-bound flick from Jake Cassidy.

Pools got their deserved leveller on 59 when an inch-perfect cross from Franks on the right found midfielder Woods, who could make no mistake with his head from just three yards.

On terms, on top, Pools again were the masters of their own downfall. Level for just six minutes they allowed the hosts an avenue to edge back in front.

Another cross from the Pools left was not prevented and Cheek rose highest to nod at goal - his effort was saved quite brilliantly by Loach, only for the Daggers frontman to react quickest to turn in the rebound.

And the game was rounded off late on as Okenabirhie strode into space in the Pools area to slide in past a helpless Loach for 3-1.

And it was 4-1 minutes after when yet another uncontested centre from Nicky Deverdics wing found Sparkes for his second of the afternoon.

With time ticking away Woods nodded a consolation, but it mattered little for Pools, as Harrison's men were beaten. They've not recorded a win since November 21.