Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Daggers 0-1 Brighton: Was We Robbed ?

Brighton & Hove Albion came away from Victoria Road with all 3 points to extend their run to eight straight wins as the Daggers own six game unbeaten run ended, but not without a mighty fight.

Walking down Victoria Road with the masses of Brighton fans I was quietly confident of getting a good result here despite the differing league positions. We always seem to be up for night games against the bigger teams in particular and with good recent results there was no reason why we couldn't pull off one of the biggest wins of the season. Going into the ground I encountered our old friends, the winkballers once again who I brushed aside although one did look like Bobby Zamora to my amazement, saying that I was a little tired and he probably didn't look anything like Bobby. Doing the usual rituals of you know what I went into the ground, got my coke and got ready for the game, having a quick breeze through the programme before hand. The teams came over the tannoy and no surprises really, all the usual faces playing and on the bench, with the exception of Bingham whose been dropped from both at the moment, poor lad. So the teams emerged in front of an unusually packed Victoria Road under the floodlights for what promised to be an intriguing affair.

Was Savages Shot In ?
 The usual toss up etc resulted in both teams staying as they were, Daggers attacking the Marcus James end and Brighton the Bury Road end with Dagenham & Redbridge kicking off. The first good little passage of play was by Craig Noone who dribbled around a couple of players before Vincelot made a good tackle to get the ball away. Just a couple of minutes in, the ball fell to the feisty Vincelot who hit it on the volley, it looked as though it was flying in to the back of the net before Bas Savage blocked his own mans shot, the first real opportunity. The next shot was by Damien McCrory on the left whose half volley went sailing over Ankegrens bar. Then came the major talking point of the whole game on 14 minutes or so. Danny Green who has been in good form of late made a great darting run down the left before sticking a delightful ball into the middle, Nurses original shot was blocked, but the ball rolled dangerously across the penalty area. Tommy Elphick and Bas Savage were going for it, Savage got his toe onto the ball and from where I was it looked like it hit the underside of the bar and then the net, as I'm sure I saw the net ripple. Everyone jumped up as we thought it was a goal but Mr Woolmer gave nothing, absolutely nothing after looking to his assistant, everyone was incensed, surely it was a goal, I'm pretty sure I saw the net ripple. Never the less we had to carry on, the ball was cleared off the line by Elphick as Peter Gain clutched his head in disbelief.

Robbo could have had
a cup of tea !

Whilst everyone was in shock Brighton sprung a quick break away with a corner being forced, the Spaniard Sandaza took it but it came to nothing. The Daggers then broke away again, Savage getting a shot away on the edge of the box but Ankergren got his full body behind it to make a simple save. A ball straight from the Brighton back came forward, it seemed like no trouble but Roberts dropped it and luckily enough there were no Seagulls players around to capitalise. The Daggers were now firmly on the front foot and a great turn shot bu Nurse was deflected to once again fall safely into their keepers hands. By this point Roberts hadn't really been tested and the next move was to prove more of the same, Green once again going down the right another brilliant ball in through the box missed everyone with Nurse inches away from getting a vital connection. Then it was Gains turn to get a shot away, the daisy cutter type of shot was blocked once again by Brighton who for a top of the league team were not performing the way they perhaps should of done. The last action of note in the first half was when Sandaza, possibly the moaniest player in the league got down the right before sticking a decent ball in that was cleared by Damien McCrory. One minute of added time was put up on the fourth officials board which was over in a flash. The first half summary, well what a great performance, putting the league leaders on firmly on the back foot in the game with Robbo not having a single save to make that I can remember. The only down point was of course that controversial incident whether the ball crossed the line or not.

The half time entertainment was as ever, the same, but then again it's a lot better than what most clubs offer, at least we have dancers, even if they're not very good. Yes I am of course talking about those fabulous dancers Pulse, who seemed to have recruited some more members again recently, a simple routine but none the less entertaining for everyone. The half times were read out, a couple of decent ones, Sheffield Wednesday losing was pretty handy of course and England drawing fully justifies why I went to watch the Daggers. Not just because of my passion for them, but the fact it's a meaningless friendly at Wembley, I'd much rather go to Viccy Road on a Tuesday night than watch England play and I'm sure I speak for a lot of you reading this as well. As for the 50/50 draw you guessed I didn't win, but then again I've one it once this season already so I shouldn't really be greedy. The teams emerged for the second half, Brighton first and Dag & Red second, with both sets of fans raring to go it was anyones contest.

Green Looked Dangerous

The Daggers kicked off, at the second time of asking after the previously booked Calderon "encroached" as Green was kicking off. So they had to take it again and true to form, smashed forward well, not even that a nasty bobble meant it didn't really go far and gave Brighton instant control of the ball. Albion fashioned the first half chance of the second period, a neat flick on to Glenn Murray looked promising before the player was shut down well by the Daggers defenders, the ball being cleared to safety. Then the Daggers came extremely close, a decent break away resulted on Scannell getting down the left, cutting inside and putting a curling shot inches wide of the far post, should it have been on target Ankergren was not getting to it. Liam Bridcutt then fouled Jon Nurse outside of the box, with no advantage for the Daggers the play was pulled back for a free kick, about 30 yards or so out. With a 4 step run up Green smashed the free kick with ferocious pace, but like most of them it hit the wall who done their job well and bravely. Danny Green then went into the referees book for a soft challenge on Craig Noone who had been pretty anonymous since the opening minutes. The Daggers then got another opportunity. A good move down the left resulted in Savage flicking the ball over a defender, lining up a good shot that was parried well by Casper the unfriendly Ankergren, sorry I had to get that reference in there somewhere. None the less a great piece of skill and he almost made up for his "miss" earlier.

Murray For Brighton

Then came the gut wrenching moment for the Daggers. A throw in from Brighton, well I think so, was headed away by Doe and it fell to Noone just inside the box. He hit a Di Canio like scissor volley that was going miles wide, before being touched down Glenn Murray and smashed off of the underside of the bar and in. This was over the line unfortunately and once again a piece of luck benefited the away team, make no mistake though this was an excellent finish by Murray as it bounced over the line, the 1400 or so visiting supporters were sent into raptures. This was Brightons first real opportunity of the game and they took it. I remember watching highlights of their 1-0 win against Oldham the other week, Oldham were killing them but Brighton got the vital goal. Same again here, if you don't take your chances you don't get the result, the lesson that has been harshly learnt on several occasions by us this season. So then with everyone surprised by the goal we lined up for the restart with Brighton singing all the way down to cloud cookoo land. At this point I do feel the need to say that a Brighton fan has just messaged by saying that the ball was over the line.

Lancaster Looked Lively
 Albion then made a substitution straight away, the former Charltom player Radostin Kishishev coming on for the largely anonymous Elliott Bennett. Straight from the restart Scannell got down the left and forced Ankergren into a save from his high cross into the box. Brighton then went up the other end and it was Calderons turn to put one in, but it was headed away convincingly by Scott Doe who has been in fine form of late. The inevitable sub was then made by Stilly, Bas Savage who had a decent game bar that miss was replaced by loanee Cameron Lancaster who looked lively on Saturday against Sheffield Wednesday, lets hope he could bag us a quick fire goal. With Murray running towards goal Arber made a clever or perhaps clumsy challenge, view it in your own way which resulted in a foul and a booking for the skipper. Then after Roberts gathered the ball and made the usual lump upfield Green got a free kick after being blocked off by two Seagulls players. The ball was swung in and it reached the back post where Doe headed it back across only for it to be smothered up yet again by Ankergren. Then came another sub, just like at the weekend Damien Scannell came off for the man who seems to make a bit of a difference as it goes, Darren Currie against one of his many former clubs. Just before the sub Ogogo made some space for miself down the right and swung the best ball of the night in, it went straight across the goalmouth, it was absolutely begging for a touch into the net ! As per usual no one found their way on to it, we created the chances but we just couldn't finish them.

Gain Was Sensational

A well done to the Albion fans who gave Savage a round of applause previously as he went off and Currie a round as he came on, it's what you like to see. Another sub saw Gary Dicker replaced by Matt Sparrow as Poyet looked to freshen things up in the midfield. Then it was Peter Gains turn to shine, after going round two or three players he unleashed yet another fierce shot which was blocked by Greer in the Seagulls defence as it goes for a corner. Green played a short corner, my least favourite and it did come to nothing. Ironically enough just minutes later Gain had another drilled shot that was blocked again by Greer that once again went out for a corner. Before the corner could be taken Poyet made his last sub, the non existent Noone was replaced by New Zealand international Chris Wood. Currie took the corner which came to nothing, Brighton went down the left and a shot by Murray from outside the area resulted in a goal kick for Roberts which he took very hastily as you would understand. Danny Green then went down the right and swung a ball in that was only partially cleared to Vincelot on the edge of the box whose attempt at goal hit the scoreboard and bounced back down. It was last chance saloon now. The fourth official put up four minutes of injury time on the board, we still had a chance. A minute or so into that the Daggers were still pressuring, a shot by Ogogo was cleared out as far as Arber on the left whose dreadful ball back in went over the top. That was possibly the last chance. Ankergrens boot down the far end resulted in Sandaza dribbling down the left and being taken out by Ogogo. From where I was i feared the worst, but luckily Abu only got a yellow.

That was the last action of the game and the referee blew up for full time.
Dagenham & Redbridge 0-1 Brighton & Hove Albion

How it all stats up
 Despite the defeat, there are countless number of positives from the game. The fact that we gave the league leaders a real run for their money, in fact we should have at least got a draw out of that game we were simply superb. We made them look ordinary, not ten points out in front, Noone was marked out of the game and Robbo didn't have anything to do except pick the ball out of the net. We were amazing, honestly, if our goal wasn't unjustly ruled out we would have won that game I'm confident. Poyet even said after the game they were lucky. However that's why they're top of the league, the ability to grind out results, they've done it before and they done it again here. Fair play they took their half chance well and stole all three points. Take nothing away from the lads tonight though, they were sensational against a virtually promoted team, proud to be a Daggers every game, but tonight was simply amazing. Credit must go to the Brighton fans, great support for the team bringing down good numbers tonight.

Tony Roberts 7: Didn't have anything to do, made a couple of slips early on, but nothing major.
Abu Ogogo 7: Done well, no real challenges to be made, a couple of good crosses.
Scott Doe 8: Made a few good tackles, solid as usual.
Mark Arber 7: Good game, nothing of note really.
Damien McCrory: Like Arbs, done well no mistakes good game.
Romain Vincelot 8: Great game, got stuck in completely almost man of the match.
Peter Gain 9: Amazing game, done everything right, tackling, passing, shooting & dribbling, great game tonight.
Danny Green 8: Done some good balls and tracked back well.
Damien Scannell 7: Played well, a couple of good balls in and a close shot.
Jon Nurse 8: Worked tirelessly, done well with the heading and got some shots away.
Bas Savage 7: Whether it was in or not, i tend to think it was, done well tonight held up the ball, got a few flick ons and tested the keeper a bit more than he usually does.
Cameron Lancaster 7: Given 20 minutes, chased down everything, not really given a chance, looks promising
Darren Currie 7: Whipped a few good balls in, maybe he should have started or come on earlier.

Referee 7: Bar the goal he should have allowed or maybe it was his assistant he done well, blew up for fouls at the right time and played advantage very well.
PA Announcer 7: A new feature, clear and everything but who are Brighton & Hove Albert ?

Next Up: Exeter City vs Dagenham & Redbridge. March 2nd. 15:00 Kick Off

As It Stands

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Daggers 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday: Green For Go

Dagenham & Redbridge welcomed Sheffield Wednesday to Victoria Road today, in what was a massive game, not only in terms of league position, but the fact that it's probably one of the longest league fixtures in English football.

McCrory was back

Walking up to Victoria Road as per usual, I was optimistic towards the game considering Wednesday's recent poor form and the Daggers recent revival. Walking into the ground you was greeted by a mass of people, everyone around the ground was buzzing for what promised to be one of the biggest games in our short history. The usual ritual of golden goal, 50/50 and programme was done and then I had a glance over towards the car park, you could tell by the motors that were there that someone a bit higher up in the system was at the game. So it proved, going through the turnstiles I could just overhear the tannoy saying that former Spurs manager Martin Jol was at Viccy and that Robert Lee, father of new loan player Oliver Lee was also in attendance. The starting line ups came over and the only change was that of Damien McCrory for Femi because of the red card picked up by the youngster against Leyton Orient in midweek. I must give a quick mention to the Wednesday fans, despite their team being quite lowely they had a great turn out today and I was quite impressed. So the stage was set, 3500 fans watching on but who was to win, would it be the Owls or Daggers ?

Teale for Wednesday
 The toss was done by Mark Arber & Tommy Miller and for a change we didn't change round, everything stayed the same. The first 5 or 10 minutes were very very scrappy, no real clear cut chances and a lot of misplaced passes and ball in the air, a horrible one to watch and probably even worse to play in. The one bright spark was when Danny Green got down the right hand side and whipped in an exquisite ball that was dying for someone to get on the end of, but to everyone's dismay it rolled agonisingly across the box. A few minutes later another ball was swung across by Abu Ogogo but was punched away by Richard O'Donnell in the Owls goal. Then came the breakthrough. A long throw from Michael Morrisson wasn't cleared by the Daggers defence who allowed it to bounce, it then fell kindly onto the head of Gary Teale who placed his header well past Roberts, off the post and in. A large roar went up from the other end as Wednesday's players went to celebrate, the Daggers stunned, despite it being a scrappy first quarter of an hour the Daggers had looked more likely to break the deadlock. Then came another tonne of corners by Danny Green, the first of which was cleared away, the second of which involved a scramble in the box, but O'Donnell smothered it well to clear up the danger. Just on the half hour mark another load of corners after Vincelot's shot was well blocked by a defender in the Owls box. This bunch of corners also came to nothing although another scramble was dealt with as well as Arber having a great air shot just inside the box.

Mr Rushton
Public Enemy
Number One

Darren Potter was given a yellow card after a poor challenge on McCrory,then the dirtiest player on the pitch finally got booked after an outrageous elbow on Mark Arber and some foul & abusive language to the referee, Gary Madine finally found himself in the referees black book. Apologies for this, but I can't remember who it was, a Daggers player went down the left and swung in a great low ball that went through everyone in the box, how no one got a connection on it was unbelievable, a toe would have been enough, but it ended up being cleared upfield at the other end of the 18 yard box. Just before half time Damien McCrory swung a ball deep towards the far post which Jon Nurse dually got onto and slotted into the net past O'Donnell. To everyone's surprise the referee gave a free kick! Nurse did nothing wrong and from the shite decisions he made this afternoon you'd think he was on some personal crusade against Nursey, he couldn't walk past a player with out the ref blowing up it seemed. Gary Teale then tested Roberts, but the veteran saved with ease in one of Wednesdays only shots of the game. The Daggers then had a valid penalty appeal turned down, Danny Green doing well down the right before getting into the box and being bundled over it seems, to everyones disgust the referee waved it away and gave Daggers the throw instead. On a number of occasions this season we have been turned down for bang to right penalties, was this one of the same ? The referee then blew up for half time and the teams went in, everyone was still very optimistic of getting something from it and why not, we were on top.

To half time and a bumper one this week, no Daggerettes to everyones disappointment, but there was plenty more than that. First of all the half time and hearing Orient were 3-0 down at home to Yeovil was a double headed coin, whilst everyone likes to see Orient doing bad, Yeovil were down at the bottom and we could have done with our neighbours doing as a favour, but that's Orient for you. Then came the worst penalty contest you could ever see. The BBC's show Late Kick Off wanted this and they picked the three stooges to do it, the first slammed his home, the other two were so poor my nan would have saved them. To go with that the man over the tannoy had his microphone going so everything was announced in stutters. The last couple of bits were the awards we picked up at the Football League Awards, a nice little speech by Steve Thompson and finally a Wednesday fan who was at his 100th ground. A great achievement to get to 100 grounds and he was rightfully applauded by everyone around the ground, well done that man ! The teams emerged for the second half and everyone was in good voice ready for what promised to be a hectic and fascinating second period.

Nurse given a torid time
 We kicked off, Daggers shooting towards the Bury Road End and Wednesday towards the Marcus James Stand. The first 10 minutes of this half were not too dissimilar to the first, very scrappy with neither team getting a foothold in the game, a couple of fouls here and there and lots of headers. Abu Ogogo went down the right and stuck in a delightful low ball which Nurse got his head to, it glanced towards the far post where O'Donnell picked up with something of a stumble. This is the part where I have a rant at the referee, Nurse made a totally fair challenge for the ball against two Wednesday players who collided with each other. Low and behold, who gets booked? That's right, you guessed it, Jon Nurse. Utterly terrible decision, there was no way on earth that Nurse should have been booked, a fair challenge that resulted in two players clashing heads, by Nurses reaction you could tell he was in disbelief as was we, I can't express to you how dreadful a decision it was. Just a minute or so later, Green was unleashed again down the right, his great low driven cross into the area was booted away by Tommy Miller, it was a good clearance as it could have gone anywhere off of his boot. The corner came to nothing, infact it was one of the poorer ones, being cleared by the first man.

O'Donnell Booked
 A double sub occurred, the Daggers took off Bas Savage who had a pretty good game, keeping possession and even winning some balls in the air, he's really come to good form when we need him most. He was replaced by Spurs loanee Cameron Lancaster, just running on to the pitch you could tell he had a bit of pace about him which we don't really have up front, it was a promising change. Gary Megson then made a smart substitution, Mark Reynolds who was being given a torid time by the rampant Green was taken off and Lewis Buxton was then brought on to take over Reynolds duties. Danny Green was then given a free kick after Nurse was fouled and it was cleared away easily, just after McCrory put it back in and O'Donnell gathered comfortably. Another sub quickly followed, the ineffective Damien Scannell I hate to say as he's done well since he came back in was replaced by the experienced Darren Currie who had the ability to really influence the game and get the Daggers plating some football. Then finally the Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Richard O'Donnell was booked for time wasting, personally I'm surprised it took that long, but after he'd made a cabbage patch in our penalty area the referee decided enough was enough and brandished the deserved yellow.

Green continued his good run of form

Mr Rushton then found himself public enemy number one in Sheffield. Darren Currie got down the left and swung in a ball, it hit Chris Sedgewick, the Daggers crazed appeals for a penalty finally paid off, Mr Rushton blew and pointed to the spot. Perhaps it was slightly harsh some people may say, but me personally no, I don't think it was, it clearly hit him on the lower part of the arm which is classed as the hand in footballing terms and it was in the box. Put two and two together and you get the penalty. Chris Sedgewick got a booking for it as did Gary Teale who wouldn't stop going on the refs ear, so he was booked and I'm sure that will go down as "petulance." Danny Green put the ball on the spot, everyone waited with baited breath, it was smashed in the back of the net, if O'Donnell would have gone the right way he still wouldn't have saved it. Victoria Road erupted as Green went off to celebrate for the third game in succession. In the aftermath Owls boss Megson was sent to the stand, cue the ironic cheers of the Daggers fans, although I say sent to the stand, would it really have made a difference, after all what row must that go up to, row F ? Wednesday then asserted their first real period of dominance in the game, a scramble in the Daggers box resulted in the ball being smashed towards goal with a brilliant half volley by Darren Potter. Tony Roberts got down and made an absolutely outstanding save to keep the scores level, Doe then cleared the ball away to safety. Roberts really is amazing he continues to defy the laws of the game, turning in terrific performances week in, week out. With just five minutes to go Green & Ogogo exchanged passes with Ogogo sticking a ball in towards the back post that was headed behind for yet another corner that came to nothing. Wednesday got another corner and it was just about cleared away by Nurse, another sub, O'Connor on for Miller in injury time. The final piece of action was a Darren Currie corner that was easily cleared away, before a cross was put back in by McCrory the referee blew his whistle.
Final score: Dagenham & Redbridge 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday

A final thought ?
 The game itself was pretty poor really, the Daggers did probably deserve to win it, but with no real clear cut chances it was a tough one. Had we taken the lead it could have been a totally different game, saying that had Nurses goal not been ruled out it could've added new life to the game. I fear that Sheffield Wednesday are fast running out of patience with Gary Megson after not starting Neil Mellor nor bringing him on. The fact of the matter is Wednesday aren't what they once were, today they were poor and mostly route one, they didn't even try to play football in all honestly, unless they pick up sharpish they could be looking over their shoulders even more anxiously. The Daggers deserved the win, but once again they played magnificently, battling, strong and committed were the orders of the day, the referee didn't help, he was possibly the worst I've seen all season, but that's no excuse for not taking all of the points. Saying that, at the start of the season, who would have had us done getting a point from this ? No one I should think. This is one point gained rather than two points lost, the lads were magnificent and regardless of whether we stay up (I think we will) or we go down, they will always give 110% for this club.

Match Ratings:
Tony Roberts 8: A magnificent save at the end, otherwise untested.
Abu Ogogo 7: Done well linking with Green, made a few good challenges.
Scott Doe 7: Good challenges, but did get wrong side of his man quite a bit today. Good on the whole.
Mark Arber 7: Played well, let the ball bounce slightly to much for my liking, committed and determined.
Damien McCrory 7: Done well, didn't let them get down the left and made some good tackles, control could be better.
Danny Green 9: My man of the match, done very well, getting crosses in and tracking back, great performance.
Romain Vincelot 7: Slightly anonymous today, never the less always running tirelessly.
Peter Gain 7: Done well, a few misplaced passes.
Damien Scannell  7: Played decent, not up to his usual high standards.
Bas Savage 8: Done very well today, getting headers and holding play up very nicely.
Jon Nurse 7: Hate to say it, but quite poor, his touch let him down and was dispossessed slightly to much, the referee gave him a hard game, never letting him do anything.
Cameron Lancaster 7: Lively and ready for the challenge, charging down everything.
Darren Currie 8: Won the penalty and changed the game for me, great performance when he came on.

Mr Rushton 4: Gave us a penalty, but his refereeing was poor for both sides, dreadful infact.

Next Up: Dagenham & Redbridge vs Brighton & Hove Albion. 29th March, 19:45 Kick Off.

The Bottom Half

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Orient 1-1 Daggers: Every Little Helps

A terrific display against Leyton Orient last night where we played so well we see it as 2 points dropped in some cases rather than one gained. Don't get me wrong, at the start of the night I'd have happily taken a point, but having been ahead for most of the game and it then being snatched away from you is a bitterly hard pill to swallow as we found out.

Orient Away End
 The journey to Brisbane Road was a pleasant one, well as pleasant as it could be I suppose, everyone in great spirits following the recent good results against Charlton & Swindon to name just two teams. After a quick walk around the place we entered through the turnstiles as you do, trying to communicate with the turnstile operator was a nightmare ! After eventually getting through with my mate we went straight into the seating area, only to realise that the drums and the "band" were in the other section, so back round we went, getting what seemed like a very thin programme on the way. Collecting a drink as well we got up high into the stand and yes that is over exaggerated waiting for kick off. With a nice half an hour wait watching everyone piling in, well I say piling more like the Daggers fans whilst Orient's came in dribs and drabs, a pretty poor turnout for them considering the game. After everyone was into the oldest stand in the ground the game was about to get underway with all Daggers in great voice.

Green Again !
 Mr Trevor Kettle started proceedings after the Daggers had swapped ends with Orient and it was the O's who had the first chance, Harry Kane given too much room for my liking and his shot was deflected over by a Dag & Red defender. This continued for a couple of minutes, some decent O's possession and another shot that went wide, this was however to come to a stop as the Daggers established a firm grip on the game. Danny Green went down the right hand side and whipped in a lovely ball which was just tipped away by Jamie Jones before the in form Jon Nurse could get to it. Just after the ten minute mark Orient were attacking before a superb interception, the ball rolled down the side and Doe lumped it up field, as he made connection the villain of the night Dean Cox came diving in on him with a reckless challenge, but the referee saw nothing. Then came a magnificent move by the Daggers. Just outside the O's box, Danny Green played the ball to Scannell who played it back over the top of the defence for Green to latch onto and slot a Messi like finish over and around Jamie Jones. Green went over to celebrate as the 798 Daggers were sent into raptures, dancing, singing cheering, well anything really ! After another kick off the ball was given away as Savage broke away, but his ball in was cleared with three players left in the middle. Just after the 20 minute mark as a ball was whipped into the O's box, two players went for the same ball and it fell to Arber on the edge who put his effort wayward. Orient then broke up the other end, a looping header was then touched over by Roberts, to everyones great suprise the referee didn't see it so he gave a goal kick ! Just afterwards Vincelot worked an opening in the middle, the ball was struck through to Nurse who had between the offside trap, but it was just too far ahead of him and Jamie Jones got into it.

Then came the wrath of the stewards, this did happen slightly previous to a couple of parts of the above but it's worth a mention. With all the Daggers fans in great spirit and good voice, a bunch of stewards worked their way up to have a go at some of our fans. Apparently they were not meant to be at the back, which was unjust as they were causing no harm and there was enough space. After about five minutes of arguing, several fans were forced to move to everyones dismay, in cases like these stewards create their own enemies. At least a couple of chants about the stewards came out of it !!

Tehoue had Orient's best chance
 Just after came Leyton Orient's best chance of the game. FA Cup hero Jonathan Tehoue sprung the offside trap superbly and after what seemed like a certain goal, a magnificent save by the veteran Roberts who was left with a one on one saved the Daggers. The ball was then cleared away by Scott Doe to get rid of the danger, which let the Daggers preserve the 1-0 lead, however Doe went down and after a bit of treatment was on his feet again. Then came the usual flurry of corners, Orient had several but all were cleared well, the O's were enjoying a decent spell of possession now without creating any real chances to threaten the Daggers goal. Jamie Jones was making no friends by taking an absolute age to take a goal kick, stuttering several times before actually making a connection, he could have had a role in The Kings Speech! The fourth official indicated for three minutes of added on time and after a Danny Green corner found its way onto the Orient bar and over it was basically the end of the first half, bar what should have been a penalty for handball from an Orient player, but as we know Mr Kettle works in mysterious ways so I won't delve into it, as I may go into a rant. The Daggers had produced a resilient display to retain the lead and almost build on it in the first half but could they keep it up in the second ?

Straight through half time as I can't think of much happening other than the Orient burger bar running out of almost everything. The first meaningful attack was when Dean Cox went down the left past three of four players, weaving in and our before unleashing a good shot that was tipped round the post well by Roberts between the sticks. The corner then came in and Tehoue was given a free header, but it bobbled just two or three yards wide of the post. The Daggers then went upfield from the goal kick, Gain finding a lot of space down the left, running into the box with the ball he had the opportunity to cross or to shoot. He took a fierce shot that was sliced wide of the post, one of the better chances of the game that he really should have done better with. Orient then worked well down the left with Cox who couldn't find anyone in the box and Green tracked back to make a superb tackle. From the resulting throw in, the ball went through the midfield until Romain Vincelot picked it up, a good little run was ended as he was brought down about 5 yards outside the box on the right. Danny Green placed the ball down and with his trademark run up smashed the ball wide, although I'm more inclined to think it was a cross that no one got on to. Russell Slade was now getting disgruntled and took off Charlie Daniels who was a doubt before the game and replaced him with Jason Crowe. Defender Stephen Dawson nearly scored a screamer, about 30 yards from goal, his fierce curling shot just went wide of Roberts' post, who would have struggled to stop it should it have been on target.

Cox was the villain
Slade then made another change, Jonathan Tehoue came off for the veteran Scott McGleish to come on. Nurse broke free down the right I think it was and stuck a ball into the box which was just too high for Scannell who chased it, but it just ran out of play. The Daggers then made the usual sub, Marvin Morgan replaced the excellent Bas Savage who has really shown his worth recently, whilst Orient made their third and final sub, Adam Chambers was taken off and Paul-Jose Mpoko came on to replace him. Morgan showed his enthusiasm straight away, closing down an Orient defender before the ball ran back to Jones in the goal who narrowly avoided taking it out of his own box. Then come good work winning the ball back in the midfield resulted in Nurse having space on the outside of the box, his direct shot was comfortably saved by Jones who seemed to be in constant action. Dean Cox was unleashed down the left of the pitch, Abu Ogogo slid in with a perfectly timed challenge on the winger, then as the ball went out for a throw Cox reacted absurdly. From where I was it looked like he tried to pin Ogogo down, cue everyone else getting involved. After it had all died down Mr Kettle booked Simon Cox as well as Ogogo, which was unbelievable considering he had done nothing wrong. How Simon Cox was not sent off one way or another in this game was beyond me, Mr Kettle had me at boiling point ! Well I had to fit that in somewhere. McGleish then tried to switch the play, but it didn't work and the Daggers broke away down their right. Danny Green given the ball, ran at the defence before slotting a delightful ball inbetween defender and goalkeeper. All Morgan had to do was get a decent connection on it and the game was sealed. True to form he made a dreadful cock up of it, getting the side of his boot to it so it rolled agonisingly wide of the goal. Would this miss be decisive ?

Scannell Was My Man Of
The Match

Jamie Jones booted a free kick right into the Daggers box, a header from an O's player went just wide of the mark, it was squeaky bum time now for Orient. Then Green once again broke down the right, his ball once again just lifted over the head of Scannell and out for a throw in. McGleish then had a good move down the right, after taking Doe out of the game completely a superb tackle from Romain Vincelot saved the Daggers as everyone wondered how many minutes of injury time we would have to endure. Then disaster struck. As Mpoku was running into the box Femi had him over, personally I don't think it was a penalty, but I haven't looked at replays yet. The dubious penalty was made even worse by the fact that Femi then received a red card and trudged lifelessly off the pitch, devastated. It was down to Tony Roberts, could he be the hero and save the day ? In a word answer, no. The calm penalty by McGleish went to the right as Roberts dived left, but that's luck of the draw, if Robbo goes the right way he saves it, at the end of the day it's not his fault. Phil Ifil was then brought on to cover at left back for the final 5 minutes of added time as Scannell was sacrificed. Within seconds Ifil was the villain, a short ball back to Arbs from kick off led to Arber giving away a free kick, the ball was pumped in but it came to nothing luckily. The Daggers tried to assert more pressure with Green getting a couple of long throw ins, but they were cleared. Then as the ball went back into the Daggers half, Nurse picked it up and slid a wonderful ball through to Morgan who looked like he was in, but had it taken off his toes in the last action of the game.

The referee blew his whistle and we were understandably devastated, but at the end of the day it's another point and at the start of play I definitely would have taken that. As the players came over to clap us, we continued to sing tremendously, the 798 Daggers fans had done our team proud all  the game, not laying quiet for a minute. Added to that, the team made the 798 Daggers fans proud, a magnificent performance that deserved a win, battling, gritty and determined. If we would have taken our chances then it would have been a foregone conclusion. My one disappointment was that we didn't see the new Spurs loan signing, Cameron Lancaster, but it's early days and I'm sure he'll get his chance. As for Femi, I was devastated for him, he's come back in once again and done well, just that unlucky decision at the end that would have zapped his confidence. I really thought he was picking up, but McCrory may make the place his again.

Match Ratings: Roberts 8, Doe 8, Ogogo 8, Arber 8, Femi 8, Green 9, Vincelot 8, Scannell 9, Gain 8, Nurse 8, Savage 8. Subs: Morgan 7, Ifil 5.

Tight At The Bottom

Next up is Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday with a 1pm kick off. Added to it is the scary thought of having Phil Ifil at left back, although I don't think we're quite that desperate yet, McCrory may even be back and Femi's card may be appealed.

Come On The Daggers !!!                                

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Daggers 2-1 Charlton: In Our Hands

Back In The Day......
Charlton Athletic once won the FA Cup, Dagenham & Redbridge once won the Ismithian League, but we all know history counts for nothing and today that was proven. This proves that despite one team having players from West Ham and a signing for £150,000 you can still lose if you don't have the grit and determination like the Daggers have shown more of in recent weeks. We all remember the infamous cup replay in 2001, and yet now we're on level terms, amazing.
As per usual we start with the walk down Viccy Road, and alas, the winkballers were back ! Luckily for me they were all occupied with others so i waltzed in, got my usual fix of a 50/50, golden goal and a programme and went through the turnstiles. Getting my burger and my coke, I just turned to see the Marcus James Stand, clearly there was going to be a good attendance today to go with what promised to be an interesting match. The teams were read out and our only change from last week was Solly Taiwo on the bench with Damien Scannell replacing him, so it looked pretty alright. However we always had to be wary of the threat of Charlton, Bradley Wright Phillips & Nathan Ecclestone are two big players and i was shocked that the later didn't start. As the teams were introduced a guard of honour was formed with daggers record goal scorer Danny Shipp at the end. After the usual do da's we done the unusual thing of facing the Bury Road terrace which other teams have made us do in recent weeks. True to recent week's the opposing team made us swap so we were facing our preferred end, good tactical move by Mark Arber. I apologise in advance for the spelling of Charlton's keepers name.

Always Handy To Have A Nurse

The game kicked off with the Daggers having the usual lump forward and an early foray created a opportunity for Nurse who's shot was well saved by Ross Warner in the Addicks goal. A corner followed which was well cleared before a snap shot from Peter Gain found it's way over the bar. We continued the sustained pressure for about 5 minutes, with a number of corners and half shots not really troubling Warner. Then came Charlton's first chance, a corner by McCormack found its way to Llera who's shot was saved easily by Tony Roberts. Just minutes later came a booking for Peter Gain, with Charlton breaking, a challenge from behind took Scott Wagstaff down and Gain was probably rightly booked for a silly challenge. Charlton then had another corner which came to former Scotland international Christian Daily who headed it way over the bar. A good ball in from the left by the lively Damien Scannell found Matt Fry in the middle and was unfortunately cleared away. Then came a good move by the Daggers, the ball was picked up in the centre and played to Jon Nurse down the right who stuck a good first time ball into the box that Warner just got his hands on to with Savage waiting to pounce. Then came the first goal of the game. The ball wasn't cleared within the Charlton 18 yard box and the ball fell to Jon Nurse who weaved one way then took it on to his left foot I think it was and unleashed a magnificent effort past the Charlton defence and Warner into the back of the empty net. Just over 2000 Daggers erupted as the Charlton following looked stunned that they were actually losing as Nurse & co went off to celebrate a magnificent strike.

I've tried my best not to mention this as it's not part of the game, but since Paul Benson left for Charlton Jon Nurse has really stepped up to the plate and for those of you that once said he didn't have enough goals in his game, he's proved you wrong. Then came another great chance for the Daggers so I'm told, at this point I was getting my coke for the second half, sod the half time queues ! As I came back up i scratched off my 50/50 ticket and low and behold I won, £50 in the bank thank you very much ! A corner by Danny Green was then cleared to Femi who stuck the ball back in but it came to nothing. Then one of Charlton's very few chances, on loan striker Nouble tested Tony Roberts who made a decent save to preserve the lead. Just after yet another Gain shot came but once again same outcome, blocked. As the fourth official held his board up to signal two minutes added time Scannell unleashed a good shot that was for the umpteenth time in this game, blocked by Miguel Llera. The referee then blew up for half time in this game with Dagenham & Redbridge leading Charlton Athletic by one goal to nil.

So then the teams went in to the tunnel as everyone descended to get the half time grub & drink. Myself, well I went into the club shop to pick up my winnings, marvelous, just marvelous ! Moving back up and listening to the half times it came as a shock that Orient were losing considering their recent excellent run of form. An overview of the first half ? A good performance with the Daggers having a deserved lead, how Charlton were pushing for the play offs I have no idea if I'm brutally honest. They looked ordinary and I'm sorry to any Addicks reading this, because your team for the players you have got and the money you've spent at this level were poor. Saying that, I not anyone else was confident of just a 1-0 lead, it needed to be built on in the second half, as I'm sure both teams managers gave their teams an inspiring half time team talk. Chris Powell was probably throwing china cups at his men having said that !

Green Celebrates
 The players emerged for the second half with the sieve in jubilant voice and the sun in everyones eyes. The first piece of action was a Danny Green corner which was cleared away by Alan McCormack before Romain Vincelot had a foul given his way. Dean Parrett then tried his luck, but it wasn't in with his shot going wide of the target. Then a lovely little move down the right ended up with the ball falling to Danny Green just outside of the 6 yard box who smashed a half volley into the top corner leaving Warner with no chance for the second time in the match. Everyone went crazy as Greeny ran over to the bench to celebrate, leaving Chris Powell scratching his head as his side were going down with a whimper. The assist for the goal came from the lively Scannell who was having a great game by this point, running his nuts off. The Daggers continued with the momentum, Danny Green having another shot well saved by Warner before a cynical foul outside the box gave Green the chance for another strike. As he lined it up, the whistle blew, it was smashed straight into the wall. Make no mistake whoever blocked that, will have butt cheeks like a baboons arse in the morning ! Jon Nurse was then caught offside, after that yet another challenge on Nurse left his rolled out on the deck, he really earned his money today.

Nouble was Charltons Best

Then came a double substitution for the Addicks. Matt Fry was replaced by Chris Solly and then to the disgust of the Charlton fans Scott Wagstaff was taken off for Kyle Reid. Charlton fans were booing this change by Powell and if I'm honest I can see why, he's taken off one of their main threats for a midfielder really. A rather unusual decision. Femi then commited a challenge as Charlton were attacking down the right, considering a couple of Charlton players had made worse challenges in my opinion, the booking Femi received was pretty harsh. Then Nouble who looked like Charltons only real threat on the afternoon took a shot that was comfortably saved by the veteran Roberts in the Daggers goal. By now the sarcastic taunts by the Addicks fans had stopped so there was no more banter for Robbo to have, what a shame for all of us ! Danny Green was then sent through again, but Ross Worner dashed off of his line to boot the ball upfield, it fell to Christian Daily who was remarkably far upfield. He whipped in a delightful ball that found the head of Nouble yet again, but he could only direct a tame header into the hand of Tony Roberts. Just after this Charlton made their final change in hope of salvaging something from the game. Then Liverpool loanee Nathan Ecclestone came on for Alan McCormack to the delight of the 1156 Charlton followers who had made the trip across London. Then Damien Scannell darted down the left, cut inside and unleashed an unstoppable effort that flashed just inched past the post, I thought it was in. Danny Green then swung another ball in, it was flicked on towards the far post when Scott Doe got a firm connection on to it, it cannoned off of the post and out for a goal kick.

The fourth official held up the board and displayed a minimum of four minutes added time. A corner was put in and an almighty scramble occurred. The ball was eventually hammered in to the net to make it 2-1 to the Daggers, this ensured for a nervy finish. The Charlton fans that had stayed this long finally found their voices, but were no match for the vocals of the sieve who reigned supreme as usual. Wright Phillips who was virtually non existent for the majority stuck a decent ball in that Nouble put on to the roof of the net to Charltons despair. Up the other end it went and Solomon Taiwo was brought on for Damien Scannell who was superb today, he ran his bollocks off, excuse my french. It was just unfortunate he was booked for taking about a whole minute to walk from one side of the pitch to the other to John Still's anger which he vented out on the referee. After a late free kick was conceded by Peter Gain it was last gasp for Charlton and as the ball trickled out of play, it was effectively over. Just one or two more punts and the referee blew his whistle. A frank exchange took place between Nouble & Green, the quick minded of you will get the poor pun in there.
Dagenham & Redbridge 2-1 Charlton Athletic.

Powell is under pressure.

I think it is fair to say if beating Swindon was our biggest win previously, then this was simply amazing and obviously our biggest win ever. You simply cannot emphasize the sheer magnitude of this victory, it is amazing. This kind of display shows how far we have come and I'm sure Charlton will agree how far they've slipped. Many Addicks will say "we must be dreadful if we can't even beat Dagenham." The fact is, in this game you only get out what you put in and Charlton, despite all their big names and seemingly great players couldn't fashion any clear cut opportunities. After seeing Charlton this afternoon, I now realise how their run of dreadful form has come about and if they do not pick up they will have to look over there shoulders.
Saying this, take nothing away from the Daggers this afternoon, it was a tremendous performance, we battled, we played decent football and we took our chances. If we play like this every week there is no reason why we cannot stay up.  We made them look ordinary today and we are turning Victoria Road back into a fortress again. This was one of the best performances by us and every credit to the lads, they're doing a terrific job.
As for Charlton, you have to ask was it the correct decision to sack Phil Parkinson, Powell started off well, but he's now lost 7 out of 8 which has seen Charlton plummet down the table into 13th place. If he doesn't watch himself he may soon be out a job.

The Ratings: Roberts 7, Doe 7, Arber 7, Ogogo 8, Femi 7, Gain 7, Green 9, Vincelot 8, Scannel 8, Nurse 8, Savage 7. Subs: Taiwo 7, a fantastic block towards the end, his only piece of action.
Referee: Mr Williamson 7, a lot better than some of the ones we get.

Next Up: Leyton Orient vs Dagenham & Redbridge 19:45 22nd March.

The Table

The last thing, despite this magnificent result we cannot afford to sit back and dwell, with all other clubs getting decent results, it's same as you were really, the usual 50 point mark doesn't seem enough this season, so every point and any point is precious.
Come On You Daggers !!!!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Swindon 1-1 Daggers: Anyone's Game

A bumper match report for this away day special, my first since Brentford on New Years, it's been too long, all the usual stuff with the action from the game plus some extra coach and service station stuff, I hope you enjoy it !

It's only the magic roundabout !
 Starting off at 10:30 walking down Victoria Road towards the two coaches making the trip to Wiltshere with my mate, we got there and low and behold a mix up with the coaches. We end up having to go on the other coach away from the rest of the group, not the best start to the day, but still some great coach banter. After roughly two hours on the coach entertained by just the radio and my ipod, as there were no movies on the screen, just a lovely camera showing the road ahead we went past the Madjeski Stadium on the way to our stop of point Reading services. Gathering supplies for the trip ahead, several bags of crisps and a sprite were bought, walking outside to see the usual group having the kick around in the car park. Of course as you'd expect, shot saved, blasted straight over the back of the service station, just like watching the Daggers play actually ! Getting back on we had another hour or so on the coach until we reached Swindon and went past the infamous magic roundabout and onto the ground just yards away. Off the coach and getting the tickets I met up very briefly with a friend had a quick chat and went straight into the ground, up the concrete steps into the food area which was showing the FA Cup, a nice touch. Getting my food and drink which came to a reasonable £3.60 we headed up to the stand and what a good ground it is. A great view from where we was right in front of our drummer with a great view of the pitch, including a few wolf whistles at the cheerleaders in a joking manner. Possibly the highlights of the day, Swindons mascot, the Robin receiving some great banter, he ran up into the stand and began to high five everyone, great stuff and we all loved it !

Taiwo could be out for the

Anyways, onto the action, we started with singing the national anthem as it was armed forces day I believe and the crowd done it very well, very respectful. We kicked off attacking the "Town End" off the pitch, forcing an early corner which was cleared. Then followed a barrage of bad tackles and so on against Solomon Taiwo, after going down twice, his day was over and he was replaced by Billy Bingham, to my mates enjoyment ! Femi got the ball down the left with the option to pass, but of course it's Femi so he turned back inside and another time until he had given away possession much to the 350 odd Daggers frustration. Just after David Prutton was released down the left side towards the Arkells Stand, one on one with Robbo, the big welshman stood his ground and made an impressive save as the daggers mopped up the pressure and got it away. The daggers frustration grew when a number of handball shouts were not given by the ref, then Savage was penalised for blocking his face with his hands, the refereeing is ludicrous at times ! A very tight first half hour, with another few corners for either side, but all being cleared away to safety. With around ten minutes to go Abu Ogogo hit a decent drive but it was blocked well by Leeds loanee Mike Grella and once again went out for a corner. By this time the daggers faithful were creating a great atmosphere challenging the four or five Swindon fans who opened their mouths, with a few "signals" exchanging sides. The daggers created a few more opportunities with a shot going just over the bar and Vincelot striking just wide. A great piece of individual skill by Savage on the bi line created a chance that once again came to nothing. Just as it looked like everything was going into the break at 0-0, Ogogo had the chance to clear it, but hesitated for Mike Grella to steal in and lob a stranded Tony Roberts into the empty net. The Daggers faithful silenced for a minute or so whilst Swindon fans found their voices for the first time, but not to be outdone, the chants started up again. The first half ended with four minutes added on and Swindon pressured, almost scoring a second, but the daggers just about survived until the whistle blew.

As the teams went in for the first half I went to get myself a coke, whilst looking at the scores, Gavin Tomlin had scored for Torquay, how ironic ! Moving back up onto the stand the cheerleaders were at full pace along with the marching band. At this point i really should commend the stewarding, really up for the banter, really friendly and after at the start when the ball was going around, it went right down to the bottom, he went there and got it for us, what a legend ! Thinking that the game was winnable was an understatement, Swindon hadn't won at home since 4th December, this was very winnable and so the teams came out for the second half.

Grella scored for Swindon

As the teams emerged so did all of the fans from inside, where they were getting drinks and looking at the tele. A couple of early bookings, one for Mike Grella for a challenge and Abu Ogogo for unsporting behaviour as it's called, all from a result of a small fight after Grella's challenge. A Nurse shot from the by line almost caught out Phil Smith but he just tipped it over the bar for a Danny Green corner which as per usual came to jack all. Just minutes later Bas Savage took a "shot" like Jon Nurses which was once again tipped over identically by Smith in the Robins goal for a corner. The corner was taken and cleared, but the daggers kept the pressure on Vincelot seemingly fouled on the far side, but nothing given as it ran out for a goal kick. Vincelot was fuming and booted the ball away onto the open terracing, a silly booking really, but you could tell his frustration. I cannot tell you enough about the daggers fans and the atmosphere we create, it is spectacular, amazing chants, great voice from only 350 odd, utterly magnificent ! I have to give a bit of praise to Femi as well, after a tough couple of months, which I didn't enjoy with him in the team and I still don't, he played pretty well yesterday, dealing with most that was thrown at him and contained a lively Ritchie pretty well. Then the daggers best chance of the game, Vincelot I think it was created good room down the right, shrugging off his defender and put in a low ball into Savages path, who side footed it into the keeper's chest, he really should have made the kepper work more and probably should have scored. Swindon gained a corner with about half an hour left, but was headed way over the bar. The daggers were then denied yet another penalty, Savage brought down, it seemed obvious, but yet again the referee waved away the protests. Then came a double daggers sub, Darren Currie replaced the original sub Billy Bingham who was pretty ineffective, this was a bad move in my opinion, surely Scannell is more suited to that sort of game. The second was the usual, Bas Savage who had a decent game coming off for marvelous Marvin Morgan.

Don't You Just Love Nurse !
 Marvin Morgan got his first action of the game, the ball lumped down the pitch into the Swindon area, after doing well to pressure the defender and seemingly get a corner, the referee gave a foul against us to the disgust of our fans yet again. Then a dreadful foul by Alan Sheehan that I felt should have resulted in a red left him with a booking as it threatened to get nasty. Danny Green then whipped in another corner which was punched away to Arber who hit a fierce drive that was blocked, then Vincelot had a go, once again blocked eventually the Swindon keeper got hands on it, to prevent what seemed like a certain goal. Just after a former daggers favourite nearly came back to haunt us, Matt Ritchie mugged off Femi, cut into the area and hit a magnificent left foot shot, that was curling into the net, but our of no where came Tony Roberts, getting a great solid hand into it and directing it out for a corner. The corner was whipped in to the back post and a header was cleared off the line amazingly by someone, it was so frantic you couldn't tell ! Swindon goalscorer Mike Grella was then taken off and replaced by a defender in Michael Rose and this decision almost immediately backfired I suppose you could say. A free kick was put into the Swindon box, which was headed away only for Peter Gain on the outside of the box to get a good strike on it. A crowd of players in the middle and Jon Nurse jumped up and got his head into it, as it looped over Smith into the empty net, the daggers faithful went crazy. Jon Nurse & the rest ran over to celebrate in front of the jubilant daggers, after a few taunts from Swindon fans, a Dagenham & Redbridge supported was ejected by the stewards, although with everyone ranting and raving it could have been anyone.

Caddis Fouled Late On

So everyone regrouped and Swindon restarted with everyone in a jubilant mood. Benyon came on as Gain unleashed another shot that went just wide of the post, it was anyone's game by this point, either team could nick it. Just inside the regulated 90, Benyon flashed a superb ball across the goal which to our disbelief no one got on to, it was there to be tapped in. The final major piece of action was when Paul Caddis burst into the area and was sandwiched between two daggers players and went down, from where I was it looked like a certain penalty and I'm sure all daggers will agree after watching it over again it was, but we got lucky for a change and to Paul Hart & Swindon's amazement it went out for a corner that was cleared away upfield. Darren Currie got onto it, but nothing came of it in the end with the referee blowing up for full time. The Swindon players surrounded the referee protesting about the penalty decision as the Robins faithful left disheartened with boo's ringing round. The daggers on the other hand, still in fine voice after a battling point in a good week left us with our survival hopes stronger and better than ever.

The way back was left discussing the point and having to listen to my mate on the blower to his bird, excuse the slang, but you know what I mean. Listening to Mr Russell Powis quizzing it with everyone else at the back of the coach was a good laugh as we made our way past Reading services and stopped at South Mimms instead for the obligatory 15 minute break that included a bite to eat and a quick slash. Back onto the coach for the final hour of the day everyone still in good spirits, arriving back at the ground at around 8pm before the other coach, some sort of victory I suppose ?

Overall it was a great day out as it always is with the Daggers, a battling performance in a game that could have really gone either way, but I'm quite pleased with the point. I cannot praise the support enough, a good chunk of the usual home attendance went to the County Ground, around 350 I believe it was and sung their hearts out for the whole game, no matter what the score, you know what you get with Dagenham, proper fans with proper voices. It's anyone's game down the bottom now with around eight teams still in with a shout of going down, including Sheffield Wednesday ! However with games in hand, all be it tricky ones, I am confident we can make the impossible, possible.

Player Ratings: Roberts 8, Femi 7, Doe 8, Arber 7, Ogogo 7, Taiwo 5, Gain 7, Green 7, Vincelot 8, Nurse 8, Savage 7. SUBS: Bingham 6, Currie 6, Morgan 7.
Referee 5.

Next Up: Dagenham & Redbridge vs Charlton Athletic 15:00 19th March 2011.

Friday, 11 March 2011

The Big Preview: Swindon Town vs Daggers

The Daggers travel to the County Ground hoping to extend their good run of form and see them edge even further clear of the relegation places, whilst Swindon need a win to even think about moving off the bottom.

As usual first look is at the recent results of the two teams, which has been pretty contrasting. Swindon haven't been doing well recently with their last game being a devastating 1-0 defeat away to fellow relegation rivals Plymouth, in which they started really well, but failed to capitalise on dominance before Rory Fallon scored the only goal of the game for the Pilgrims. Their last Saturday game was a 0-0 draw at home to other relegation rivals Walsall, neither side showed any real intent in a game that was pretty drab and short of goal mouth action from start to finish. The Daggers on the other hand have been playing well recently, a 1-0 win in the Essex derby on Tuesday night will give them great confidence for this. The only goal was scored by Bas Savage in a tight affair with neither team playing their best, but Dagenham & Redbridge ground out the result to get them out of the drop zone. Our last Saturday game was a 2-0 victory at the Memorial Stadium against Bristol Rovers. Danny Green & Romain Vincelot scored the goals to help us on our way against a poor Rovers side who looked near certainties for the drop on Saturday, but have picked up slightly since then.

Savage netted in midweek
 Now is a look at the recent form of both of the sides which as I touched on earlier has been pretty contrasting. Swindon haven't won in 14 games since an impressive 4-2 success at Charlton back in January. This run see's them with just one point picked up in the last six, that was against Walsall at the weekend, Paul Hart's first home game since taking over from Danny Wilson in Wiltshire. This run has seen defeats against Plymouth, Southampton, Carlisle, Colchester & Leyton Orient with only two goals scored but a far to many nine conceded. Their defence has shown signs of tightening up recently after keeping a clean sheet at home at the weekend, they need to start scoring to avoid relegation, with only 17 home goals, it's the second poorest on the league behind Yeovil Town. They have also won the joint least at home in the league along with ourselves and a couple of others down there on five. The daggers on the other hand are on their best run of the season, the first back to back wins of the season after the 1-0 defeat of Colchester on Tuesday night lifted us out of the relegation zone on goal difference. With only two defeats in the last eight games, things are really beginning to pick up with what seemed the impossible becoming that much more possible with games in hand. An impressive 9th in the form table with three wins in the last six and only one defeat against AFC Bournemouth at Victoria Road. A decent away record has helped with 15 points picked up away from home and 17 goals scored with it, the same as Swindons home scoring record.

Ritchie in his Daggers
 Team News: Swindon Town should hand a debut to striker Calvin Andrew who signed for the Robins in midweek from Paul Hart's old club Crystal Palace. First choice keeper David Lucas will once again be missing for the clash, so Phil Smith will start once again after playing at Plymouth on Tuesday night. Other than that Hart's men should be unchanged with former daggers Matt Ritchie lining up to play against us rather than with us, he will be a threat. Mike Grella is one of their main goal threats along with the newly signed Andrews as the Robins hope for a good result against the resurgent Daggers. Dagenham & Redbridge should stay unchanged from the the Essex derby win on Tuesday, Femi will once again play at left back after Damien McCrory was injured last Saturday, it's unknown exactly how long he will be out for. Abu Ogogo is fully fit so Ifil will once again take his place on the bench, whilst Will Antwi may return to a place on the bench after regaining some sort of fitness, he could replace Phil Walsh there. The only other change John Still is liable to make is possibly dropping Jon Nurse or more likely Bas Savage for Darren Currie as we revert to the familiar 4-5-1 away formation. Scott Doe will be playing against the club where it all started for him, having been an academy player at the County Ground.

Previous Meetings:
Dagenham & Redbridge 2-1 Swindon Town       2010/2011
Swindon Town 1-2 Dagenham (predecessor)           1984/1985
Dagenham (predecessor) 0-0 Swindon Town           1984/1985
Ilford (predecessor) 2-4 Swindon Town                   1933/1934

The referee for this one is Mr G Sutton, the Dag & Red game's he's reffed are;-
Port Vale 3-1 Dagenham & Redbridge                  2009/2010
Dagenham & Redbridge 1-1 Cheltenham Town     2009/2010
Hartlepool United 2-1 Dagenham & Redbridge     2005/2006

This game is likely to be tight, with both teams in desperate need of the points, Swindon more so I suppose it's anyone's to call. On form and recent results Dagenham & Redbridge should win this one, but this is football and under new boss Paul Hart Swindon are liable to get a result out of this.

My prediction is Swindon Town 1-1 Dagenham & Redbridge.
Everytime i predict a draw we seem to win, so lets hope we can keep it up !!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Daggers 1-0 Colchester: Moonwalking On Up

As Barcelona and Arsenal were being watched by millions around the world, a little story was unfolding in a tiny pocket of Essex between Dagenham & Redbridge & Colchester. This was not a game of mega rich stars, mass media coverage or a 98,000 capacity stadium, it was a game of shoestring budgets, one man with a camera and a jubilant sieve making up part of the 2140 attendance at a freezing Victoria Road, this is Dagenham & Redbridge.

Femi Returned

Walking up Victoria Road with my mate as per usual I was once again suprised to see no winkballers asking for an interview with made for a nice start to the evening, although I was absolutely freezing ! Along with the usual ritual of programme, 50/50 and golden goal was the added task of directing my friend around as it was his first Daggers league game, the more the better eh ? Going in and getting my cup of tea I learnt something after the many years of going, they do doughnuts, who knew ! After getting up into my seat and hearing the team news I was as per usual optimistic although hearing the forced change of Femi back at left back was slightly worrying, however Abu Ogogo was able to start after recovering from an injury he picked up in training last week which was a major plus point.

Savage In October
The referee led the teams out for an unusually hasty start, 19:42 on my watch, not even time for the pre match music, how dare you Mr Ward !! The usual pre match stuff, although for the second home game in a row, the opposition changed sides with the Daggers forced to attack the Bury Road terrace. The referee blew the whistle and we were underway on a chilly evening at Victoria Road. Straight from the kick off near enough the Daggers earned a free kick on the sieve side after a foul on Romain Vincelot. Danny Green, fresh from his wonderful strike at the weekend stepped up confidently to take it, but blazed it over the bar after getting good power behind it. For the next ten minutes or so, no one really got a grip on the game, both teams having a middle of the park battle, a cross from Gain came to nothing for us whilst Colchester very rarely made a foray into our penalty box. Then on 10 minutes, the first and only goal of the game came from a somewhat unlikely source. After a Vincelot knock down header just outside of the six yard box Bas Savage hit home the first goal of the game, cue moonwalking. It had been a long time since we'd seen a Savage moonwalk, Swindon at home in October in fact, that was his third of the season, Bas scored in the previous game against Colchester, a 2-2 draw at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.
Bond provided Colchester's
main threat.
Just after came a near moment of madness from the Daggers, looking to hold onto the lead the ball looked like it was going to be head back to Tony Roberts routinely from Mark Arber, but he got too much on it and Robbo just managed to get fingertips on it, eventually gathering it up. It was a hearts in mouth moment really, and to be honest it was probably the hardest the Welsh veteran had to work all night. Colchester then began a small period of pressure, a decent move down the left hand side ended up with a powerful Ian Henderson shot hitting Robbo's side netting, probably the closest they came all evening in truth. As ball after ball went over the stand the game started to somewhat peter out in the first half with not really any chances of note.  Colcchester did go few a couple of times in quick succession, but they were ruled offside by the linesman, to the U's fans dismay. The first booking of the game went to Lloyd James of Colchester after a late tackle on Peter Gain, and I personally would not mess with Gainy ! Just after Andy Bond tested Tony Roberts who made a fairly comfortable save in his only real action of the first half, just before the half time whistle the Daggers got a corner which was cleared away at the near post, the referee then blew for half time.

So then into half time, the players came off the pitch, the referee and linesmen with stewards by their sides for "protection" I suppose. The stand in PA man read the scores, 0-0 at the Nou Camp, claiming he predicted a draw, of course what happened ? Yeah, you guessed it Messi made it 1-0 as we heard over the tannoy. Onto the League One's everything was going pretty rosey results wise, with the game of the night coming from Boudary Park where Oldham & Sheffield Wednesday were drawing 2-2. After mulling it over, I was very cautious going into the second half on a horrible stat I saw, we hadn't won back to back games for about 37 games, a run that dates back to last season, added to that the stat of having the worst record against teams in the top half. At the end of the day it is the daggers we are on about and when Bas scores it's proven we never lose. Anyway the team's came out to the second half in front of a boisterous sieve, ready to serve up another half of entertaining football.

Doe Made A Great Challenge
 So then we started the second half with another period of midfield battle which involved the game of the day, head tennis, which we are remarkably good at it seems, even Bas joined in ! I have to mention that Lloyd James made way for Steven Gillespie for Colchester. At this point it turned quite end to end with a flurry of crosses and corners from both teams, the main man was Danny Green for the Daggers and Wordsworth for Colchester. The newly introduced Gillespie took a shot that was well blocked by our French sweetheart Romain Vincelot. A good ball in from our Barbadian international Jon Nurse came to nothing unfortunately, but it seemed as though there could be another goal coming. Vincelot found himself on the edge of the "D" and took a shot that I half expected to fly in, but he caught it wrong and it dragged slowly wide of the goal, no real threat. Then John Still made a sub, Bas Savage who got a great reception replaced by marvelous Marvin Morgan who made a great impact as a sub in his last home game. Then as it seemed Colchester were through almost, cue Scott Doe, named in the League One team of the weekend made a great sliding tackle that made the ball go out for a throw in. Wordsworth then almost scored, a delightful dink shot just went onto the roof of the Daggers net to our relief, that proved to be his last involvement in the game. Ashley Vincent then replaced Wordsworth as John Ward looked to fashion some more opportunities to get at least a point for the somewhat under par U's. Colchester then made their third and final substitution, Kayode Odejayi off and former Watford man John Joe O'Toole coming on. A cross was instantly put in by Nathan Clarke as Colchester looked to pressure in the final stages, but it was well cleared by Vincelot. Danny Green was then booked for what must have been time wasting by the Daggers luck omen ref Gavin Ward, Taiwo was then unfairly barged off the ball which resulted in our free kick which was lumped upfield as usual. Colchester then got themselves a corner which was headed towards the sieve by a Daggers player, danger gone for now. The ball found it's way upfield as the fourth official gave 3 minutes added time, a small piece of time wasting was followed by an inch perfect ball into the box by Danny Green, I cannot stress how good a ball this was, if anyone was there, it was a goal. However no one was there so it ran down the pitch, collected by a Colchester player who booted it upfield, with just minutes to go. Solomon Taiwo then gave away a needless free kick on the edge of the box, a goal now would have been so cruel, as Ian Henderson hit it with fierce power, it was blocked superbly by the wall. After a mini break upfield, the Daggers lost the ball and the referee blew the final whistle, the Daggers had won and were out of the relegation zone for the first time since the Swindon game in October.
Final Score: Dagenham & Redbridge 1-0 Colchester United

Gain was my man of the match
 A great performance by the Daggers, a tough game to play in, the physical strength is really paying off this season, the man of the match was Peter Gain, but the real men of the match was the sieve this evening. A great performance to create a terrific atmosphere for the lads on the pitch, their contribution is unrecognised for the majority, but tonight it was tremendous. As I said this win lifted us out of the relegation zone, bearing in mind we still have four games in hand on some teams, it all looks so much more promising. Tonight wasn't the best performance, but these results are the ones that count, a 1-0 win, a clean sheet, a gritty tight the game, a second clean sheet on the trot. A little mention has to go to the 500 or so Colchester fans that made the trip across Essex, a great effort by them. Saying that, well done to the Daggers, could have stayed in to watch Arsenal & Barca, but came out and watched proper football ! John Still will have a tonne of positives to pick out going into the weekend's game and it will give the lads a massive boost !

My ratings, Roberts 7, Ogogo 7, Femi 7, Arber 7, Doe 8, Green 8, Gain 9, Vincelot 7, Taiwo 7, Savage 8, Nurse 7. Subs, Morgan 6.
Referee, Gavin Ward 7, had a pretty good game compared to some of the refs we've had this season.

Next Up: Swindon Town Away This Weekend.
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