Sunday, 7 August 2011

Macclesfield 0-1 Daggers: Lewy Lewy

Dagenham & Redbridge opened their league two campaign with a hard fought win at Moss Rose against Macclesfield Town, with the goal coming courtesy of Medy Elito, although I'm sure Mark Arber will claim it!

The first part of the day was spent on the coach making the trip up to the North, a wonderful journey as per, although at least the company was a laugh. The stop off at Norton Caines services set the standard, meeting the Accrington fans at the services and after being "forced" into playing football with about 25 of them in the car park it set the tone of the day. We was buzzing and I have to say, the Accrington fans are all nutters, or maybe that's because they had barrel loads of booze in the coach, hmmm. With everyone raring to go now, we set out for the final stretch, going through very small, narrow, bending roads, only god knows how a coach fitted through them before arriving at Moss Rose at about 14:20.

The first thing we had to do was get the tickets, a rather large queue accumulated at the ticket office so there were going to be quite a few Daggers at the ground. With no disrespect to the Macclesfield fans, the first impression of the ground, is effectively a dump, it is the first ground I've been to that's worse than our own, the most old school Conference ground. After having my bag checked, we went into the ground and got a reasonable programme for £2.50, well I had to get two for a certain git back home.

Return Of The Macc!
We then proceeded to get some grub, and as it was £1.90 for a coke, my wallet had a severe hole in it and why do Northern grounds only serve pies. When I go to football I want a burger or chips, I'm Southern, not Northern, you want my money then satisfy me! Crisps are not football food Macclesfield, all Northern grounds are rubbish when it comes to catering, I don't bloody well want a pie!
The teams were read out as we settled in at Moss Rose and a couple of surprises, Lewington started ahead of Shea & Josh Scott was not even named in the 16, we later learned this was due to injury in a Thursday training session. As small ground began to "fill up" if you want to call it that, we encountered two of the weirdest mascots you will ever see and the usual season build up began. The tannoy bloke was going down a dead end trying the get the Macclesfield fans to make a cheer, but when the Daggers were asked, need I tell you more; fantastic support as per usual.

The Daggers team was: Lewington, Ogogo, Arber, Doe, McCrory, Elito, Howell, Lee, Tomlin, Nurse, Williams. Subs: Shea, Femi, Woodall, Reed, Walsh.

Phil Walsh started the songs and by kick off the Daggers were buzzing and as the teams come out the excitement, tension & anticipation was back, the 2011/2012 football season was just minutes away. Mark Arber won the toss and opted to swap ends so the Daggers would be attacking the empty terrace end in the first half & the Silkmen would face their own fans.

Macclesfield kicked off the game and it was all go, within seconds they had won the ball and Tomlinson stuck a powerful right footed shot way over Lewingtons bar. It was then a midfield battle for the next five or so minutes with only a few free kicks to see and a chorus of "Digger Dagger" to sing before Luke Howell was given time and pulled a shot away which went straight down Jose Veiga's throat. Oliver Lee who isn't a shy boy when it comes to shooting tried his luck then, but it went just wide of Veiga's far post, the Daggers were beginning to get into the game after a somewhat sluggish start. It was then Macclesfields turn to take a foothold, a period of pressure up the other end saw new signing Waide Fairhurst go close and Ben Tomlinson who shot one wide of Lewy's post, no troubles there.

Mark Arber was looking very suspect at the back, making a few uncanny errors, missing headers and loose balls and misplacing a few passes, it seemed as though he was having one of them games. Then a neat move on the far side of the pitch from the Daggers with some good interchange saw Nurse get the ball and get a shot away which went over the bar not troubling the Macc keeper.

Macclesfield then had a flurry of corners, coming from a fantastic save from Chris Lewington, a header that was a certain goal was saved brilliantly by the former Letherhead keeper to start the flurry. Scott Doe & Mark Arber were busy for five minutes or so getting their nut on the ball, before it finally went out for a goal kick.

Minutes later Abu Ogogo committed a slightly rash challenge, although at the time I thought he got the ball on Waide Fairhurst for which the striker needed some treatment. Whilst he tried to run it off he eventually had to go off, Emile Sinclair replaced the striker as some Macc fans were calling for a red for Abu, no chance. However I do wish Waide a speedy recovery as it seemed as though afterwards he injured himself to a larger extent than first thought. That was really the last action of the first half. Chris Lewington made another fantastic save from point blank range to deny Macc at some point in the first half, but I can't remember at what point so I left it until here!

That was half time and now it's time for my moan. The Macclesfield fans on the opposite side for us, absolute arseholes (sorry for the language) but they are. Chanting EDL songs at a football match, no wonder no one wanted to stand with them, there is no room for that in football and I'd like to say the Daggers fans put them to shame with the brilliant chants, so up yours you fat twat who was leading the hostilities. On the lighter side however, I noticed a brilliant and heart warming banner dedicated to Keith Alexander & Richard Butcher, a fantastic tribute to two great men in football who died so young.

The teams emerged for the second half as we hoped the Daggers would improve after a rather poor first 45, my main conerns were Arber who was playing poorly, but we all have them games and McCrory who's marking wasn't there, Macclesfield were getting their success down the right hand side and it had to be stopped.

Arbs claimed it

The Daggers started much brighter and after Sam Williams was fouled, Gavin Tomlin got a free kick into the box which was headed away, it fell to Scott Doe on the edge of the box who should have had a vodka with his slice. The Daggers then got a couple of shots away which were finely blocked by Macc, especially as Elito's shot looked as though it was going into the top corner. Emile Sinclair once again forced Chris Lewington into action, a well executed scissor kick was saved brilliantly by Lewy who punched it over for a corner, he has the potential to be one of the best shot stoppers in the league in my opinion.

The Daggers then took the lead. A Macclesfield player scythed down Luke Howell I believe it was to give the Daggers a chance to swing a ball in, bearing in mind most other free kicks previous in the game were taken quickly and came to nothing. Gavin Tomlin swung it in and Mark Arber got a fantastic head on it at the near post to flick it towards the back post goalwards, with it just going over the line Medy Elito nipped in to smash it home just to make sure. The Daggers travelling faithful erupted, we had taken the lead and we were loving it, Mark Arber sped away whilst Medy claimed it was his, who cares, we were ahead! Whoever created the chant "He plays on the left, he plays on the right, that boy Elito, makes Greeny look shite" deserved a medal, brilliant!

Everyone was buzzing now and we nearly added a second straight after, Nursey cutting down the right and whipping a ball in before Veiga gathered it. Medy then nearly doubles his tally, a good shot from outside the box hit a Dagger on the back as it went out for a goal kick, we were looking lively now. It all settled down again for 15 minutes or so, until the match's big incident.

Mark Arber let a ball go over the top which left Chris Lewington scrambling out to get it with a Macclesfield attacker, it appeared to us he headed it away and as it came back to a Macc player he shot and it hit Lewy again. The referee blew up and shockingly at the time sent one of our star performers off. Over 200 Daggers were in shock and unleashed abuse on the man in the middle for the next 20 minutes for what appeared to be an absolutely shocking decision, having seen it later back on TV, I do somewhat regret that, but in the heat of the moment you can understand. Medy Elito was then replaced by James Shea who came on in goal as the Daggers were down to 10 men, his first task was facing a close range free kick, which luckily enough was shut down fantastically by Sam Williams.

The final 15 minutes or so, was a blur of shouting, anxiousness and tension, Macclesfield came forward, but not nearly enough, James Shea made a very impressive punch for a goalkeeper of his size and then was very commanding in catching the ball from a good cross. A quick break away ensued from the punch and it was 5 on 1 at one point, but Tomlin when given the ball opted to scamper to the corner, and I don't blame him. Scott Doe came close with a header late on that was saved well by Veiga to deny the centre half his first Daggers goal. A nervous 4 minutes of injury were finally over as the Daggers celebrated the first win of the new campaign and a much needed one at that.

Every season we win our first game, we go on to do fairly well and learning that Steve Evans was escorted out of Port Vale made the day even sweeter. As rain began to come down the Daggers players made their way over to applaud us, a fantastic day, fantastic atmosphere and a fantastic result, football was back.

After a fairly sluggish first half, the second half was much improved and Mark Arber was much more commanding and back to his usual self. Damien McCrory also improved in the second half, his marking was still slightly off but going forward he was pretty decent. Oliver Lee was fantastic in the middle, running the midfield and a very fine player, whilst Howell done ok, which I think is a fair assumption. Up front we were ok once more, the fact that Nursey shouldn't have played didn't help, but Tomlin coped well and Williams was fantastic. The man of the match though, was Chris Lewington, three fantastic saves, saved our bacon and he kept us in it, such a shame about the handball, but once again it saved us in a quirky way. James Shea also coped well when put under pressure, being thrown in at the deep end late on.

So concluded my first away trip of the season and my first away win, next up for the Daggers is AFC Bournemouth on Tuesday night in the Carling Cup, and next up for me is AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.

I hope you enjoyed this blog and I'll speak to you next week!

Oh, and what were these mascots all about! 

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