Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Daggers 1-0 Swindon: Mamma Mia!

Dagenham & Redbridge got back to winning ways with an impressive 1-0 victory of Paolo Di Canio's Swindon Town at Victoria Road. A result that is sure to make a few heads turn considering the Daggers current injury plight.

Very Big!
In truth, before the match I was the least optimistic I've been, as were a fair few others. With our current injury list nearly as big as Gervinho's forehead, it wasn't looking promising. Walking into the ground I noticed that Richard Rose was warming up, and it was confirmed over the tannoy that he would be taking part at right back for us this evening. Alex Osborn and Danny J Green were also warming up and they found their place on the bench with James Shea, Femi and Jake Reed. At this point it should be mentioned, the abundance of sponsors on Swindon's team coach, makes our coach look somewhat plain.

Victoria Road began to fill up quite rapidly from 7:15 onwards with the Sieve seemingly in the mood for the Tuesday night fixture. We've had a decent record against the Robins last season, winning at home 2-1 and getting a somewhat lucky 1-1 draw at The County Ground. The programme was also a very good read once more, although neither competitor in the quiz managed to get our all time top goal scorer correct, the answer being Danny Shipp!

Woodall Started
Swindon & The Daggers came out to a good round of applause, with a decent crowd, although I was a bit disappointed with Swindon, for a club who boast about getting 9,000 a home game, bringing 400 away is quite poor in my opinion, but there you go. The teams were read out and Di Canio surveyed the state of the art stadium that is Victoria Road, I'm sure he loved it. So it was all set, a chance to put things right after the weekend and another first time starter in Brian Woodall, alongside Jon Nurse/ Gavin Tomlin.

The referee blew his whistle and we were off under the lights. The first five minutes were the usual midfield battle, with the amount of foreign players in Swindon's side, I won't even attempt the names, so I'll say "Italians." The first real chance of the game fell to Brian Woodall, signed from Gresley, a neat header over let Woodall in on goal. A good first touch to set his strike up was followed by a poor shot, straight into the ground leaving Phil Smith with an easy save in front of The Marcus James Stand, the first good opportunity of the contest. Damien McCrory then committed a foul on former Daggers favourite, Matt Ritchie which earned the Irishman a yelllow card.

Swindon then had their first shot of the game just after the 10 minute mark, Etienne Esajas, formerly of Sheffield Wednesday testing Chris Lewington who got down and saved comfortably. After another period of midfield battle Esajas once again, looking like Swindons main threat got a shot away that went over Lewingtons bar. Of course a bloke just under the scoreboard tried to catch it, and failed, cue abuse from everyone. Di Canio was then forces into a change with Alberto Comazzi coming off and being replaced by Nathan Thompson, he must have picked up a knock at some point in the opening 20 minutes.

De Vita
 Swindon then got a bit of a foothold in the game, De Vita had a shot which tested Lewington into making a good save, Lewy looks like a real shot stopper and has really come of age recently, definately our number one for the season for me, an even better strike by a Swindon player came from the rebound and Lewy made another fantastic stop, the flag had gone up for offside anyways! But he was not to know that. Oliver Risser should have done better when given a free header inside the box, but missed horribly to the right hand side. The Daggers then started to attack once more, the Daggers International (wry smile) Jon Nurse crossed for Brian Woodall who got slightly in front of the ball and headed way over, encouraging signs down the right hand side!

Some good promise down the left with Medy Elito all the way through the half although it frequently came to nothing, one of his shots going harmlessly over the bar, whilst a McCrory cross nearly met Jon Nurse at the far post, only for a Swindon defender to head it clear in the nick of time.

Mamma Mia!
Then came the half's big incident. Raffaele De Vita, who I recommend you don't name your child, got into the box and was "hacked" down by Scott Doe, Di Canio and Swindon left incensed that a penalty was not given. Now I didn't see the incident particularly well so in an Arsene Wengeresque way I can't comment but what I can say is two things, from reactions of others it appears that they probably could have had a penalty. The other thing is this; possibly one of the best things I have ever seen whilst watching football, Di Canio going absolutely mental on the touchline, absolutely brilliant. Of course when an Italian manager goes mental, it's followed by a dose of terrible Italian impressions and phrases which certainly went down very well with me!

That was the end of the half and as the referee blew his whistle a cluster of Swindon players surrounded the referee, it seemed as though the Daggers had got away on one for a change. All credit to Di Canio though, where most managers would have joined his players in protesting he went straight into the dressing room, fair play to the man. Half time went very quickly with some decent music and a good chat about the injuries etc, as well as laughing at a friends accumulator going straight down the swanny due to Ipswich being 3-0 down at home to Southampton.

This kit suited the little man better!
The teams re emerged for the second half, the Daggers would be attacking the Bury Road end and Swindon their own fans in the Marcus James Stand, the Daggers kicked off the half. The first thing of note for me to report on is the taking of a short corner. Anyone who knows me should know that I hate short corners, whether it's player or watching and McCrory of course angered me by playing it short. Not only did he do that, but he committed the cardinal sin of being caught offside straight after the pass back to him, lesson learned! Paolo Di Canio then made his first unforced substitution of the match, Alan Connell, replacing Billy Boden. Swindon then had a good opportunity to open the scoring. A foul by McCrory on a Swindon player gave the Robins the chance to swing a good ball into the box. Anyone who remembers Matt Ritchie, will know he has the prowess to swing in a good ball, so some of us were understandably wary. Ritchie opted to shoot and only a good block from McCrory prevented the former Portsmouth man from potentially testing Lewington.

Then came the Daggers best opportunity yet. Jon Nurse got down the left and beat a defender before hugging the byline superbly and sticking in a low ball straight to the feet of Brian Woodall. Woodall looked composed and hit it well, unfortunately for us and him it just crept wide of the far post as some of us thought it was in. Very promising signs from the new man however! Matt Ritchie then was involved once more, getting down the right, beating one and unleashing a daisycutter that was never going to trouble Lewington between the sticks.

The Daggers then made their first change of the match, John Still opting to bring off Medy Elito who received a good reception and brought on Danny J Green, who received an even better one! As many know, DJ began to creep into the team at the back end of last season and looked like the next big thing, lets see if he proved himself in the 25 minutes or so he had. Alan Connell then got a shot away that was held well by Lewington.

Then came the breakthrough. Danny Green flicked the ball on to Tomlin down the left hand side before Paul Caddis brought the tricky winger down inside the box. The Daggers fans appealed as did the players and for once it was not in vain, Mr Berry was very fruitful and gave us a penalty, you loved that pun, don't lie! Paolo was obviously very incensed, he and some Daggers fans thought it was a dive, but at the end of the day, I couldn't give a tiniest amount of shit (apologies for younger readers), we had a bit of luck, finally! Mark Arber, who's last penalty was against Morecambe, we all remember that, stepped up to take it. And my, didn't he put it away wonderfully. The Sieve erupted as the Daggers took the lead, hugs, cheers and the first home goal, beautiful!

The Daggers had to hold out for 20 minutes, but the chants were all out in force, a nice simple 20 minutes, no mistakes and a lot of fun. Of course, you have to commend whoever makes the Steve Evans one's, and when we go there, it will undoubtedly be the best atmosphere ever at a football match! The man that sounded like a biscuit franchise, De Vita went off and was replaced by Kerrouche who gets very high scores on a scrabble board.

Mr Berry!
Swindon were now looking to break back and get an equaliser, Matt Ritchie swung in a corner but Lewington gathered well. Ritchie then received a booking which obviously went down well with the Sieve, for handball with just over 15 minutes left to play. Nathan Thompson then got his name in the notebook for a cynical challenge on Gavin Tomlin. Kerrouche then got a shot away but Mark Arber blocked it very well, the fighting spirit of the Daggers was evident more than ever now. To continue the fashionable trend of being booked, Luke Howell got his name into Mr Berry's book for the first Daggers yellow card of the evening.

A number of free kicks for the nervy 80-90 minute period ensued, as Swindon looked to find an equaliser, Kerrouche getting himself into the book for "unsporting behaviour." The Daggers then made a sub, with Jake Reed coming on, Gavin Tomlin was replaced, a rapturous applause for both, especially Tomlin who had worked his socks off once more tonight and made some decent runs, not to mention winning us the penalty with his Tom Daley impression.

Then came a nervy moment, five minutes of added on time were signalled and everyone thought Swindon had found their equaliser. A brilliant ball in from the left to a man at the backpost left Lewington scrambling, I think he dropped it before a scrap for the ball began, I don't have a clue if it went in or not, it was manic. Everyone thought they'd scored I reckon, but luckily for us, heart running faster than Adan Gemilli, the referee blew for a free kick. We escaped, and that looked as though it was the last action of the contest, and thank god it was.

The referee blew for full time, the Daggers had defeated Swindon Town by a goal to nil to get their first home win of the campaign. John Still & Paolo Di Canio, two men at opposite ends of the spectrum shook hands as the Daggers players came over to applaud the fans as they do brilliantly every game and the rapport between the players & fans was evident once more.

The Players Coming Over At The End
Apologies For Poor Quality

Every player played a role in tonights game and it was a fantastic result considering the massive injury list we have. The defence were solid with Richard Rose having a very good debut at right back in place of Abu Ogogo, Damien McCrory also played well and even got a couple of crosses on point. The centre halves, were as usual, solid. The midfield was very good, Oliver Lee done his job as he always does, one of these players that sometimes you don't tend to notice, but does the work regardless. Luke Howell who I confess am a major critic of done well, battled well this evening and the two wingers were good value, Medy didn't get as much of the ball as I would have liked. My standout player was Brian Woodall, he worked his socks off and even though he didn't score and probably could have done better, making your first league start must be very hard and he can be proud of his performance tonight. Nursey played like his usual self, decent performance. Chris Lewington made another couple of brilliant stops tonight and will be our number one for a while.

Thanks for reading and I have to urge you, to whenever you see it, listen to Paolo Di Canio's interview on this game as I imagine it will be something to behold. As for any Swindon fans reading this, Esajas is your key man, no more needs to be said.

Next up: Bradford City away, a game we usually do well in, however I will not be there unfortunately! My next game is Torquay United at home, up the Daggers!!


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