Football - Burnett beaming after Dale success

Dagenham boss Wayne Burnett praised his players after their 1-0 smash-and-grab win against a Rochdale side he rates as the best in the division.

PA Sport Report

Despite being under the cosh for long periods against promotion hopefuls Dale, Rhys Murphy's 63rd-minute goal proved enough for the Daggers to earn their first win on the road since October.

"It was a very tough game for us," said Burnett. "Rochdale were the better team in the first half but as the game went on we grew into it and I'm absolutely delighted with the result.

"When you come to Rochdale you know you're up against it. In my opinion they are the best team in the league, they play some great football and work incredibly hard and my opinion of them hasn't changed after this game.

"We knew it was going to be difficult, weathered the storm in the first half and came out a little bit more after the break and we had some decent chances in the end."

The home side wasted a great early chance to score when Ashley Eastham's deflected header was blocked by Dagenham goalkeeper Chris Lewington. George Donnelly was left to apply the close-range finish from the rebound, but the striker blazed over the crossbar from four yards.

Lewington pulled off an acrobatic save to keep out Donnelly's header and later blocked Matt Done's effort from a tight angle as Rochdale dominated the contest.

But Burnett's side showed more ambition at the start of the second half and took the lead when Luke Wilkinson's delivery from the left was turned in by Murphy.

Scott Hogan had a header cleared off the line while Lewington saved another piledriver from Done to frustrate the home side's attempts to force an equaliser.

Dagenham should have doubled their lead when Medy Elito found substitute Chris Dickson six yards from goal only for Dale stopper Josh Lillis to save.

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