Match review: What we learned from Hartlepool United's 3-1 defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge
Hartlepool United will be going back to the drawing board following Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge.
Pools were second best in all departments at Victoria Road as the Daggers deservedly earned the three points.
Joe Quigley put the hosts in front in the first half before Angelo Balanta capitalised on a mistake from Ben Killip to make it 2-0 after the break.
Ryan Donaldson reduced the deficit in the closing stages but Quigley responded quickly to restore the two goal advantage.
The 3-1 loss was just another reminder of how unforgiving the National League can be if you’re not at the top of your game as Pools’ mistakes were punished by the home side.
Pools’ display was the polar opposite to those we’ve been treat to over the past few weeks as their five game unbeaten run came to an end.
Craig Hignett’s side had been threatening and hard to break down since switching to a back three but Dagenham found the key to unlocking the previously unyielding United back-line.
Peter Taylor’s men passed the ball around with pace and intent and the focal point of the physically imposing Quigley in attack brought players into the game and made the lives of the Hartlepool defenders difficult.
The movement of Balanta, Joan Luque and Harry Phipps around Quigley made them very hard to pick-up as Dagenham could have scored more than just the three.
Pools had rarely been opened up and broken down with such frequency and conviction all season. The Daggers proving to be United’s toughest opponents so far.
For all their attacking threat, Dagenham also remained very well organised defensively. They sat back when needed, preventing Pools from breaking with any conviction as they had in the weeks prior.
Hartlepool’s one-dimensional source of attack was hopeful long-balls which looked to utilise the pace of Donaldson and Gime Toure up front, but they failed to amount to anything.
This result will hopefully be seen as a blip in what has been a positive few weeks for Pools on the whole. But their trip to East London exposed some vulnerabilities and could see Hignett revise things in terms of formation and personnel next time out against Dover.