Calvin Zola came to Albion's rescue with a vital equaliser as Burton failed to sparkle in their final home game of the year. The visitors belied their lowly status at the foot of the table to end a run of nine successive league defeats but were left hanging on at the end as midfielder Abu Ogogo was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Aaron Webster on the hour. Up until that point the Daggers had looked more than a match for the Brewers and in particular in the first half were the better side, deserving their half time lead given to them when on loan defender Michael Spillane curled a superb free kick into the top corner of the net. Albion battled back but never really looked like getting a winner and a draw was probably a fair result.
John McGrath and Justin Richards both earned recalls to the Burton Albion side, as did winger Cleveland Taylor as the Brewers looked to get back to winning ways after last weekend's defeat to League leaders Crawley Town. Nathan Stanton, unlucky to miss out at the Broadfield last weekend was the fourth player to earn a recall as Tony James dropped out with a groin injury picked up in training. The Dagger were on a horrendous run of form which had seen them lose their last nine league games to send them bottom of the division.
A pre match downpour made conditions difficult and chances were at a premium, Kevin Maher firing well over after Ryan Austin only half cleared to him and Cleveland Taylor disappointingly only found the arms of Chris Lewington with a scuffed effort when a pass to Calvin Zola would have been a better option.
The Daggers almost went ahead through former Gresley striker Brian Woodall in the 16th minute but his raking cross shot was deflected wide for a corner.
Zola was just inches away from a teasing cross from Taylor as Albion started to crank up the pressure. However the visitors squandered a gllit edged chance half way through the first period when Cristian Montano and Josh Scott crafted a chance for Abu Ogogo who could only poke his shot inches wide of the far post. It was not to prove a costly miss as the Daggers scored on 26 minutes. Adam Bolder sent Woodall tumbling thirty yards out and on loan defender Michael SPILLANE curled home a perfect free kick right in the top corner of Ross Atkins net.
Josh Scott went close to doubling the visitors advantage but was left with his head in his hands in the 33rd minute as Ross Atkins did superbly well to block his shot from just inside the angle of the six yard box.
Chris Lewington in the Daggers goal was virtually untested at the other end and he had an element of luck on the edge of his box when the ball came loose in a scramble with Calvin Zola but the Albion man was unable to capitalise on the loose ball.
Half time: Burton Albion 0-1 Dagenham & Redbridge
The Daggers picked up where they left off in the first half and only a fingertip save from Atkins denied Scott as he raced through in the 49th minute.
However it was the Brewers who hit back to restore parity in the 53rd minute. A teasing run and cross from Jacques Maghoma forced Spillane to frantically hack the ball over the crossbar from inside his own six yard box and when Cleveland Taylor swung over the resulting corner to the far post Calvin ZOLA rose highest to head back across the goal and into the far corner for his eighth goal of the season.
The Brewers upped the tempo and were given the initiative with half an hour to go as the Daggers were reduced to ten men. Aaron Webster cleared from just outside his own penalty area but was then sent flying by a reckless challenge from Abbu Ogogo. Albion players rushed over to remonstrate and whilst Ogogo saw red, Albion's Nathan Stanton escaped with a yellow card for his reaction. Daggers first team coach Wayne Burnett was also sent to the stands following an exvhange of views with the officials.
Albion began to lay siege to the Daggers goal and with twenty minutes to go threw on Billy Kee in place of Cleveland Taylor. The striker was quickly in amongst the action with an excellent cross shot that clipped the post before Zola could turn it in at the far post.
The Daggers had to dig in to repel the Albion threat and gradually they saw off what Albion could throw at them. the Brewers threw on Andres Gurrieri towards the end as Justin Richards tired on his first start since October but tellingly Chris Lewington in the visitors goal was hardly provided with a testing effort as John Stills side navigated seven additional minutes to pick up a vital point in their fight against relegation.
ALBION: Atkins; Amankwaah, Stanton, Austin, Webster; Taylor, Bolder, McGrath, Maghoma; Richards, Zola. Substitutes: Corbett, Palmer, Phillips, Gurrieri, Kee.
DAGGERS: Lewington, Doe, Rose, Scott, Maher, Ogogo, Woodall, Ilesanmi, Gain, Montano, Spillane. Substitutes: Nurse, Geohaghon, Bingham, Hogan, Cunnington.
Referee: Mr. R.Lewis (Shropshire)
GOALS: Albion - Zola (53); Daggers - Spillane (26)