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.
The Bottom 8

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