Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Daggers 0-1 West Ham: Floored

Dagenham & Redbridge put up a brave & valiant performance against West Ham United at Victoria Road, going down by the solitary Carlton Cole strike, and he probably won't score a better goal all season. The title is in reference to the fact, we're beginning to play it on the ground, shocking!

From The Daggers OS
As we walked into the ground it was packed, and this was only about 7:00, so you could tell the once a season Daggers fans were out for this one and of course the tremendous amount of West Ham fans in the Daggers part of the ground. Walking over to the Sieve and seeing a tonne of familiar faces I got my coke and went to the most uncrowded part of stand. We were greeted with an announcement over the tannoy, "Special Announcement In 15 Minutes." Everyone anxiously waited and as soon as they were up, Tony Roberts appeared in a smart attire, I think we all knew what was coming. As the bloke on the tannoy officially announced it, chants of "Robbo" rang out in the Sieve and applause from all four sides of the ground. His quite moving speech signaled the end of an era at Victoria Road and I'll have a special Robbo blog just after this one.

With that news fresh in the mind of all Daggers, the decision was made to move the game back 15 minutes due to crowd congestion outside the ground, giving people even more time to reflect on it.

The Daggers team was read out: Lewington, Femi, Doe, Swaibu, Ogogo, Scott, Howell, Bingham, Elito, Tomlin & Williams. A few changes from the weekend with Bingham captaining the squad in the absence of Arber who was on the bench. It seems as though Bingham is the vice captain as whenever Arbs is absent it appears Bingham takes the reigns.
West Ham fielded a strong team with the likes of Robert Green, Matthew Taylor, Joey O'Brien & Mark Noble all starting for the Championship side.

The game kicked off with the Daggers attacking The Bury Road end and West Ham attacking the Marcus James Stand where their fans were supposed to be situated. West Ham started the brighter gaining a corner within the opening five minutes after Welshman Jack Collison had his shot deflected wide by a Daggers defender, the resulting corner came to nothing. It was then the Daggers turn to attack with Josh Scott who appeared to be playing on the left beat a West Ham defender and whipped a ball into the box that fell straight into the hands of England International Green. Freddie Sears had the best chance so far when Cole laid the ball back to the youngster who flashed his shot wide of the goal and into someone in the MJ Stand, it should come with a health warning sitting in there!
Billy Binghams fine start to the contest was cut short, the youngster who looks set to start a lot of games this season pulled up a third of the way through the half, but managed to get back up again. Just minutes later however he pulled up again and was forced to go off and it's needless to say, our number of central midfielders is dropping faster than "Pulses" amount of members. This signalled a change for John Stills men, Damien McCrory came on in place of Bingham, this meant something new, Abu Ogogo went to play in central midfield whilst McCrory played at right back. At this point I have to say how much Luke Howell looks like Romain Vincelot, just a thought!

The Daggers then came alive, some neat passing movement in the middle of the park saw the ball go out so former Yeovil striker Sam Williams on the right hand side who cut a superb ball back to the edge of the penalty area to the unmarked Luke Howell who flashed his shot into Bury Road, a great opportunity and one that he really should have taken to give the Daggers the lead. Just minutes later Femi who was having a fairly decent game played the ball to Sam Williams on the edge of the "D" who spun and turned the West Ham defender before getting a powerful shot away that went straight down Robert Greens throat, some encouraging signs from the squads new pretty boy. Williams then got the chance to score once more, a good ball in from Josh Scott on the left went to the back post where Sam Williams came ever so close to getting his nut on it, however it was punched away well by Green in the Hammers goal.

The deadlock was broken on just over the half hour mark, a neat ball was played across the pitch to Cole in the Daggers penalty area who then turned and hammered a shot past a helpless Lewington in goal, a fantastic goal and one not to disimilair to the one he scored against Fulham in the Premier League last season. West Ham fans all around the ground erupted, ironically more in the Sieve than the Marcus James stand. Cole looked to double his and West Hams tally just minutes afterwards, he was given time to control the ball and put it on his right foot just outside the box but luckily his shot flashed over Lewingtons goal as the Irons began to establish a foothold in the contest.

That was the end of the action in the first half and as I though I'd go and get a burger & a coke, the queue persuaded me otherwise. I had a brief chat with one of the most notable terrace faces (see if you can guess) before Pulse returned to provide the half time comedy act, such a shame they didn't drop anyone this time. The teams re emerged for the second half with a number of new faces on show. As Tony Roberts hung up his gloves he had kindly arranged for Arsenal goalkeeper James Shea to come down to Victoria Road on loan for the season, a far cry from the Emirates is our quaint little ground, he replaced Chris Lewington in between the sticks. Scott Doe was replaced by Captain fantastic Mark Arber in the centre of defence so he would now partner Moses Swaibu. West Ham replaced O'Brien with Sanchez, Collison with Moncur, Mark Noble with former Dagenham loanee Oliver Lee and Frank Nouble who enjoyed a torrid time here against us with Charlton last season with Zavon Hines.

Brian Woodall

The second half started rather slowly, being contained as a midfield battle, Carlton Cole went down injured a couple of minutes after the restart after a clash of heads and that was his final bit of action, being replaced by another unknown in Lopez. A good cross by the new man saw Shea called into action for the first time, flapping at it before managing to get it out for a corner. The Daggers then fashioned their best chance of the game so far, Tomlin slid a brilliant ball through the West Ham defence that found Josh Scott running onto it, he took a single touch before smashing it just wide of Greens post, a brilliant opportunity. Once again, the Marcus James Stand should come with a health warning. Rather ironically straight after that miss, Josh was subbed, Danny J Green replacing him and it was also Gavin Tomlins last involvement, he was replaced by Brian Woodall, the new highest pitch voice contender. The Hammers made more subs, Freddie Sears & Taylor came off to be replaced by Lleget and Montano.

Montano's first involvement was from the corner where his shot was dragged wide after some brilliant pressuring from the Daggers stern defence. Magic Medy Elito then broke down the right hand side before cutting into the box and dragging his shot wide, hitting the stanction behind the goal. Just minutes later I think it was (I know it happened, cant remember when) Elito broke once more and fired a fantastic shot that everyone thought was in. The Sieve erupted as we thought we'd equalised, we continued celebrating until Green went behind the goal to get the ball, rotten git. The ball had rebounded off of the advertising boards onto the back of the net, on the bright side, it's the first goal we've cheered this season, even if it wasn't in!

Sam Williams came of
From The OS

Sam Williams was then replaced by new signing from Great Yarmouth Town, Jake Reed who had scored against St Neots a night previous. He was quickly involved, picking up the ball on the right before cutting into the box and firing a fierce right footed shot at Robert Green who palmed the shot away superbly. I maintain if it was a League Two keeper in goal, Reeds shot would have gone in, very encouraging signs from him. James Shea was then called into action for the first time, saving well from a West Ham player who ended up going one on one with the loanee. The game ended after a minute of added time I believe it was.

Very encouraging signs so far from the two home pre season games. The defence looks brilliant, very solid at the back and Moses Swaibu looks to be a good acquisition and will probably play the Antwi role, as Doe & Arber will be the normal centre half partnership that has served us so well in the past. James Shea has big boots to fill but looks promising so far, although his handling is slightly shaky, but that's to be expected. Josh Scott looks like he's getting back to form and Danny J Green will play a part this season, looking decent so far in the friendlies. I don't have bad words to say about anyone really.

The key thing, we seem to be playing it on the floor a hell of a lot more! I'll be back later with a Robbo Blog, or on Saturday with the Stevenage match report.

Official Attendance: 4016.

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