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.

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