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

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