Dagenham entertained Southampton for the first time in their history yesterday and made the Saints work hard for the victory.
With four changes to the last team Saints saw Danny Butterfield, Ryan Dickson, Radhi Jaidi and Dean Hammond replacing Frazer Richardson, Dan Harding, Dan Seaborne and Morgan Schneiderlin.
The game started at a frenetic pace with Saints swarming all over the Daggers goal as they tried to get an early foothold.
Lambert won an early corner as we pushed forward. On 7 minutes a good move ended with a Guly header heading towards the far post with roberts doing well to keep it out.
Then Guly had another chance which was charged down by the Dagenham defence followed then with Chaplow having a similar effort blocked with Saints dominating.
Lambert then tried his luck as he broke through but Roberts came out quickly to snub the danger before Rickie could take his shot.
With the Saints looking so strong going forward thanks to the fine start made by Guly and Lallana it seemed a mere matter of when not if we would score.
Chamberlain was next to have a go as he tried to conjure up a goal similar to the two he scored earlier in the season at St Mary’s against Dagenham. This time Robertsd was equal to the task and he kept it out.
With Dagenham rarely able to conjure up a serious threat it was all one way traffic and Lambert was next to have a go. Butterfield sent in a good cross and the scouser headed it fractionally wide.
Still Southampton pressed and next a superb cut back from Lallana was met by Chaplow but again the dogged, determined resistance was up to the task and he was denied by a great last ditch tackle.
Then Fonte fed Lallana with a great throughball and as he weaved his way through Lallana was brought down. Lambert stepped up to take the kick but his effort was charged down by the wall and another chance went begging.
Moments later Chamberlain spun and smashed a great shot goalwards and saw Roberts diving to push the effort away to safety at his near post.
The Daggers continued to offer stout resistance and only a hard challenge from Bas Savage on Jaidi who was instrumental in Saints next move broke up the one way traffic.
Chamberlain flashed another effort just wide of the mark before Romain Vincelot nearly caught the Saints defence out as he sneaked in behind the defence but his effort from the right side of the box was screwed wide for Saints to heave a sigh of relief.
Saints returned to the attack and both Guly and Lambert had headers saved by the keeper who was doing a fine job at holding Saints at bay.
Dagenham subbed Bingham with Tomlin at the start of the second half which began much the same as the first half with Saints doing the pressing.
Two minutes into the half Saints got the breakthrough their play had deserved. Chamberlain burst forward well, before Lambert found Dickson who crossed the ball invitingly into the box to Adam Lallana who performed a well executed scissor kick to send the ball into the goal.
Snow began falling as Saints continued to push forward relentlessly with wave after wave of attacks. Lambert was next to go close as Jaidi found him, and he headed goalwards only for Roberts once again to stand firm saving well.
Dagenham then made their second substitution with Peter Gain replacing Solomon Taiwo. This nearly worked for them because Gain brought a fin save from Davis almost as soon as he appeared.
Dagenham then made their final substitution with Bas Savage being replaced by Josh Scott after Richard Chaplow had shot just wide as Saints persisted with their offensive on the Daggers goal.
The score was nearly doubled soon after as Jaidi came close with a header. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was then substituted with Lee Barnard taking his place.
Dagenham then felt that they should have been awarded a penalty when Scott went down in the area but the referee waved away their appeals.
This incident was a clear warning though to show that the single goal was nowhere near enough of a lead and Saints responded gloriously with the answer that was needed.
Sweeping forward the ball ended up on the right of the Dagenham box with Barnard who passed inside to Guly and keeping his cool the Brazilian side-stepped a defender before calmly sending the ball into the far side of the goal. 0-2.
With the last ten minutes remaining Guly was replaced with Frazer Richardson with the Saints fans giving him a great standing ovation.
Dagenham then struck back through Josh Scott to send alarm bells ringing through the Saints team. After an Antwi effort which went well wide a cross from the right was met by Scott who had snuck in behind the defence and he headed the ball home. 1-2.
This late goal turned the game on it’s head as suddenly the hosts had gained a yard in pace and much more ernestness in their play as they drove forward searching desperately for an equaliser.
With the crowd now baying for our demise Dagenham pushed ever closer to our goal and came so close to getting their equaliser.
pandemonium reigned for a while with Gavin Tomlin curling the ball goalwards. The ball hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced down before Kelvin Davis was able to pounce on it and Dagenham again appealed for the decision to go their way but the ball had not crossed the line, and Saints fans were able to breathe again.
Saints response was instant. Richardson played a lofted pass forward to Lambert who went round his marker before coolly lifting a perfect chip over the keeper to send Saints fans wild. 1-3.
Lambert was then replaced by Dan Seaborne as Saints played out the last couple of minutes to seal the victory.
A good win by Saints which could have been a lot more comfortable without Dagenham keeper Roberts performing so well.
Manager Nigel Adkins made four changes to the team that beat Exeter so convincingly and all of the changes worked well. His substitutions were made according to how the game was panning out and I find his use of the subs is usually spot-on. 7
John Still had his men ready to play but saints completely ran the show for the first 80 minutes. His team gave their all and on another day they may have escaped with a draw after the way they fought back in the last ten minutes. 6