Thursday, 8 September 2011

Leyton Orient 1-1 Daggers, Magnificent

Magnificent. Extraordinary. Stupendous. Whatever words like these you can think of, they apply here. Dagenham & Redbridge not only actually won a cup tie, but they done it sensationally, with a 14-13 penalty victory against Leyton Orient, one of the best nights of my life, who says the Johnstones Paint Trophy is a crap competition! If you want to get to the good stuff then scroll to the bottom as this is one I'm definately going to enjoy!

The North Stand
It started off with a scramble for the train at Romford station edging towards 6pm, not very good when kick off was only an hour away. Luckily it was a fast train so bypassed the little stops and we powered on to Stratford in healthy time. After a very silly mistake of not taking the Underground to Leyton, we opted for a bus, which proved to be the worst choice I have ever made. A packed 69 bus, yes, I laughed as well awaited us for the final leg of the journey to Brisbane Road, and with about 10 minutes to spare we arrived, thanks to a St Johns Ambulance man telling us where to get off. As you can tell I don't wander aimlessly around Leytonstone very often, and for good reason. After a quick walk to the ground we arrived just in time for kick off, with about five minutes to spare.

We walked up the steps of the North Stand, somewhere where we'd never been before and found four empty seats next to drummer boy after a quick chat with a fellow Blogger who we all know (can you work it out!) The teams came out of the tunnel in front of an empty Brisbane Road, only two stands open as Orient fans didn't fancy turning up it seemed, even the stand they were in was just dotted with supporters. At this point I have to credit both John Still & Russell Slade for sticking to a relatively first choice starting eleven, both appeared to be taking the game very seriously.

The Daggers team that started: Shea, Doe, Femi, Walsh, Ogogo, Lee, Gain, Bingham, Scannell, Williams, Tomlin. Subs: Lewington, Green, Rose, Reed, Woodall.

The Daggers were attacking the empty South Stand and Orient were attacking the end with us in, it was all set, the fifth time the Daggers had met Orient in competitive action in the last year, but who would come out on top! The referee blew his whistle and we were off, the first action coming five minutes into the contest. A ball fell magnificently for Peter Gain who struck a super shot with the outside of his boot that hit Lee Butcher's post and luckily fell kindly for an Orient defender to gather and clear into the Gallery Stand. It was straight back up the other end where Mooney, formerly of Colchester struck a good shot that forced a fingertip save out of Shea, maybe I'm talking the save up a bit much there!

It was a midfield battle for the next ten or so minutes which gave us time to look around, the Daggers support was magnificent for a Johnstones Paint Game and the atmosphere was even better, yet another reason why our fans are fantastic. Charlie Daniels hit a shot from outside the box which went so high it bounced off of the underside of the roof of the Stand we were in, hitting someone nicely in the face, brilliant! From James Shea's long punt up field, Oliver Lee who recently extended his loan was given a chance which he scuffed tamely past the far post, half a chance for the lad.

It was ten straight back up the other end again as a good run by Orients best player and nemesis of the Daggers Dean Cox let in Jonathon Tehoue for a free header which he put straight at Shea who made a good point blank save none the less. Then came a period of Daggers pressure after Abu Ogogo had been booked for a poor foul on whatever O's player deserved it. The first chance came when a Daggers player was upended just outside the box, this gave Oliver Lee the chance to have another crack against Lee Butcher, the whistle blew and he stepped up and it went just past the near post, it seemed as though it was a matter of time. A rebound then fell to Billy Bingham, making his return from injury and he hit a good shot that Butcher saved once more, the Orient keeper easily the busiest of the two in the opening half an hour.

Dean Cox then cut in and took a shot which was blocked well by Abu Ogogo, what a fantastic song about him tonight as well! Then just minutes later came a slight heart in mouth moment. James Shea took out small Cox (what a pun) on the edge of the box and Cox was claiming he was the last man, luckily he wasn't and the referee only booked the Arsenal loanee. The resulting free kick cleared the bar as Orient scored a conversion. Five or so minutes later the Daggers were given their best opportunity of the half, Gavin Tomlin who had been anonymous by his own standards created some room down the left and swung in a delightful ball that found the header of centre half Phil Walsh who couldn't keeper his header down from about 6 yards away so it went out for a goal kick.

That was about the last action of the first half in which the Daggers edged in my opinion, good work at the back with Walsh partnering Doe and Femi was playing well, Ogogo making the solid challenges as per usual. So I went down stairs to get some reasonably priced (at a push) grub, a massive hot dog for £3 and a coke for however much a coke was seemed right. So I queued for five minutes or so, got my food and headed back up, not full in the knowledge that my hot dog contained onions, horrid. Having got rid of them I tucked in and tried to listen to the music on offer, but Orients PA system is atrocious to say the least, so that was a no no.

The game restarted as soon as it had ended for the first half, but a couple of changes were made. The fairly anonymous Gavin Tomlin was replaced by Dominic Green making his second debut, without a name on his shirt and Richard Rose came on in place of Abu Ogogo at right back. Orient made some subs, but as it's nearing 11:30, the effort to research it for their fans has passed me by after a look at their message board.

Leyton Orient did start the better of the two teams in the second half, Omozusi who gets better points than De Vita on a scrabble board crossed a ball in, but solid Scotty Doe headed it away well. It was a bit of a drab start with Orient controlling things for a while and the rest being a midfield battle as you would perhaps expect, a number of crosses from Orient were expertly dealt with by the Daggers, Phil Walsh & Scott Doe in particular excelled. Orient then made another sub, Omozusi came off for another local, Moses Odubajo replacing him.

The Daggers then made a deserved breakthrough you may agree. Damien Scannell who was having a very good game in my opinion got down the right hand side and swept in a deadly ball between keeper and defender and I don't have a clue what part of his body Sam Williams got to it, back, head or arse, all the same to me, but he directed it into Lee Butchers net right in front of us. Daggers delirious. Jumping up and down, dancing, chanting, singing, you name it we did it. Of course this was followed by the best thing ever, nearly the whole of the stand, done the Poznan, we will definitely be adopting that!

This of course cued some more chants and songs and at this point I have to credit our fans once more. Over 400 Daggers for a Johnstones Paint Game that sung our hearts out for 90 minutes and more, this is why we are in my opinion amongst the best fans in the country, no one could come up with the variety of songs our lot do. Classics such as, "We can see you making tea" or "Couldn't carry Evans" with a medley of "Femi" bundled in along with about 15 others, this is why our fans are amazing and this is why I love Dagenham & Redbridge.

Back to the match and the Daggers were straight on the attack again, Oliver Lee being dispossessed whilst going down the wing. The Daggers then had a bit of a scare when Jonathon Tehoue was released free after losing his marker, the big man should have done a lot better going roughly one on one with Shea, but blasted into the empty South Stand once more. That was to prove to be Tehoue's last action, Porter coming on for him on about 70 minutes. Dominic Green began to work his magic down the left wing, dazzling the Orient defenders with some neat skill and some fine crossing, we've done well to sign him back, another fantastic option we have open to us.

Then came the moment I thought we'd double our lead, Lee Butcher was given a very dodgy backpass and tried to offload to a defender, but Dominic Greens pace led him to intercept, just as he did, he stepped on the ball. Dom managed to get back up and flick it to Sam Williams who couldn't quite get a shot away before laying it to Billy Bingham who unleashed a fantastic left footed drive that Butcher palmed past the post just as Green was sniffing a loose ball. The Daggers then came close once more. A wonderfully flighted cross went over Chorley at the back post to Walsh who hit a tame left footed shot against the post, another close encounter, and with 10 minutes remaining, the game wasn't safe by any means.

Orient were pushing forward much to the delight of their fans who were by all means, this delighted the dickhead bunch located closest to us in the Gallery Stand. I then heard from behind me, "Southend next round, can't wait" with minutes left. Of course, this was a major clanger and I could just tell what was going to happen next. The ball came in from the right hand side, it wasn't dealt with and David Mooney who was debatabley offside tapped into an empty net, nothing Shea could do about it. The game was 1-1 and was inevitably heading to penalties, this was also the first time we heard the Orient had fans all night.

It did go to penalties after a late bit of drama, well I say drama, Orient had a couple of good opportunities that they wasted, Cox being the guilty culprit.

We were braced for penalties and of course, they done the toss and they ended up going up the empty end with no fans rather than in front of us, typical. What ensued was a mixture of emotions, excitement, noise, shock and whatever else you want to include.

First up for us and I won't lie I am clearly having to use the BBC to recollect who went where, was Phil Walsh. The fans favourite stepped up confidently and hammered it straight down the middle past the stranded Butcher. So it continued, Charlie Daniel equalising, Richard Rose putting us ahead, small Cox equalising, Ollie Lee putting us ahead and then yet another leveller from Ben Chorley. It got to 5-5 with some very confident penalties and now it was panic stations so to speak, whoever missed, it was a dire situation for them. Plenty of ooo's and aa's from both sets of fans as well as the obvious cheering.

It was 9-9, I have skipped a few as it was a long night and it was the turn of everyones favourite, Femi. I won't lie I had no faith in Femi and expected him to blaze it over the bar as I'm sure a few others did, but he calmly slotted it into the back of the net. It then got down to the keepers, who both scored their respective penalties to make it 11-11, tension, on a knife edge in East London. Phil Walsh went up again, and what a penalty it was, off the underside of the bar and in, everyones hearts were surely beating faster than anything! We kept going on and on, with the 12th for each scored and the 13th, both keepers getting so close to stopping one and becoming a hero.

Oliver Lee stepped up and squeezed his pen in. Ben Chorley then stepped up for Orient for the second time, and James Shea got a hand to it to keep it out.  (full penalty shoot out vid, poor quality above)

Cue mass celebration from Daggers fans, Daggers players, all Daggers and the wonderful site of 900 or so Orient fans disgruntled and leaving. The atmosphere now in the Daggers camp was up with one of the best I've ever experienced. Songs, cheering bouncing and yet another Poznan as the players came over to applaud our fantastic applause. It works both ways, they applaud us, we applaud them for equally fantastic efforts in their own fields. From those few minutes you could tell the camaraderie between the fans, staff and the players at this club.

The smiles of everyone, James Shea, Scott Doe and Phil Walsh in particular for me who were fantastic above all else on the night, the whole Daggers team clapping. The whole Daggers fans singing and jumping and going crazy. This was one of the best nights in football for me as it's just Dagenham & Redbridge, this is us, this is what we do, this is how we do it and this will never ever be changed. 

Words simply cannot describe the five minutes or so applauding the players and singing songs down Leyton high street, what a fantastic experience. I know I'm waffling on here, but at the end of the day, I'm absolutely buzzing. Say what you like about the Johnstones Paint Trophy but this game was magnificent and is up in my top three games purely for the atmosphere created and the penalty drama.

A nice walk down Leyton high street saw two Leyton Orient fans arrested, boo bloody hoo and a mass pile onto the tube. Full of the Daggers, we reached Stratford where we were once again in full voice before getting the train back to Chadwell Heath and a bus back to that place I go when we aren't playing, home.

I sit here writing this and I think how proud tonight makes me to be a Dagger, the effort the players put in, the jubilation of the fans, players and staff alike and how much every result means to everyone at the club. Words cannot describe how much this club means to me and so many others, I'm absolutely delighted with tonight's result and the atmosphere. Let's hope the Poznan can become a regular feature for us.

Post Match Celebrations Video!

Next up is Rotherham United on Saturday, luckily for you I am going so another report, but not as much waffle will be included on that one. Next up in the JPT is Southend United at h..h..ho...home! I managed to say it, a home draw against Southend United.

That's me, signing off from a fantastic evening of football, once a Dagger, always a Dagger, I'll leave you with the Leyton Orient Forum where you can laugh at their attempts to pass off the result.

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