Bristol Rovers 0 - 1 Dagenham & Redbridge
IN his column for the match programme, Mark McGhee highlighted the importance of Rovers scoring during periods of dominance.
Then the under-fire manager watched from the dug-out as his team gave a practical demonstration of exactly that point.
Referring back to the 2-0 defeat at Wycombe Wanderers in the previous game, McGhee wrote: "There was a ten-minute spell at the start of the second half in which we should have got ourselves back into the game.
"What we have to do, particularly at home, is make sure we get a period like that as early in the game as possible and make sure we convert some of the chances we create,"
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Perhaps Rovers' players don't read the programme. On 15 minutes, with his side having overcome a rocky opening few minutes to exert some decent pressure, David Clarkson was presented with the perfect opportunity to ease anxiety on the pitch and in the stands.
The Scot, who has adapted well to the change from striker to midfield creator, was left facing an open goal when Fabian Broghammer's drive was parried by Chris Lewington.
The goalkeeper was still on the ground as Clarkson took aim, but somehow got a hand to the shot. When the ball rebounded to him for a second time, the former Bristol City player contrived to hit the outside of a post.
Four minutes later, it was John Still's low budget Dagenham outfit who stole the lead with what proved the only goal as striker Sam Williams connected with a sweet volley from Matt Saunders' right-wing cross.
For all the huff and puff Rovers put into the game after that, in what was by no means their worst home display of the season, the equaliser wouldn't come.
At the end, the frustration that has been building among the Memorial Stadium faithful throughout what is proving a wretched campaign finally spilled out.
McGhee and his players left the pitch with chants of "What a load of rubbish" and "We want our Rovers back" ringing in their ears. A small group of fans stayed on to direct more vitriol towards the directors' box, The reaction was understandable and perhaps even overdue, but the timing was off as this was a game the Pirates could and should have won.
There was an improvement defensively and enough chances were carved out to emerge comfortably victors against opponents who offered little threat.
But this is a time when results are everything and the spectre of the most dreaded relegation of all continues to loom large over the Memorial Stadium.
While maintaining his customary calm exterior, McGhee was clearly shaken by the outburst of anger from increasingly disillusioned supporters.
He said: "I am never blasé about things like that and we need to take note of how our fans are feeling.
"But I also won't lose sight of the fact that there were some good performances today. We just didn't score a goal. We started well and up to the time they scored we look the more likely team to go in front.
"After their goal we lost a bit of initiative and there was disappointment in the players' body language, but we were still in the game.
"We upped the tempo in the second half as I asked the players to do during the interval and we battered them trying to get an equaliser,
"It didn't happen and we have ended up suckered by their only scoring opportunity, Dave Clarkson will be very disappointed with the chance he missed, but we had others in the second half.
"I don't think there was anything wrong with the spirit and attitude of the team, or the system we operated, or the positions players were asked to fill. I am gutted by the result. But I did not go into the dressing room at the end angry.
"Fabian Broghammer, who has just come back from illness, really took the game to Dagenham, while our back-four dealt with everything thrown at them and never came under any great pressure."
In the second half, Lewington dived to keep out shots from Tom Eaves and Joe Anyinsah as the Daggers defended for their lives.
But Rovers poured forward without producing enough clear chances. There was again a lack of creativity in midfield, which will not be solved by playing Parkes there.
Broghammer's lively wing raids were a threat and he forced a fine Lewington save with a far post header from Eaves' 56th-minute cross.
But a young Dagenham back-line proved hard to penetrate and the visitors had two strong penalty appeals rejected after the break, both for challenges on Medy Elito.
Garry Kenneth looked fortunate to escape punishment for the second one and referee Steven Rushton declined to caution Elito for diving as he protested he had been fouled.
It is looking increasingly as though Rovers' season will hinge on transfer activity during the January window.