Sunday, 30 October 2011

Bristol Rovers 2-0 Daggers, Unacceptable

Dagenham & Redbridge succumbed to an 11th defeat in 12 games to the hands of a Bristol Rovers side who hadn't won at home on a Saturday for 8 months. Something needs to change at the Daggers, not the management, but something has to change.
Our Terrace at Bristol Rovers

It was a simply shambolic performance, there is no point in going into detail on the game as it will only depress myself and you. For the 70 Daggers who were there, it was torrid, depressing and agonising viewing. How can you fathom that performance compared to the one that gave us so much hope on Tuesday night against Crawley? It was like two different teams took to the pitch and it was unacceptable.

I'll give you a brief insight into the day and the journey before going off on a rant and some "analysis on the Daggers & Bristol Rovers' performance. We left Victoria Road at 9:30 on the supporters coach with a dreadfully poor number. Only 33 were on the single coach which isn't really good enough is it? We usually fill up a full coach at least, but the recent performances appear to have taken their toll. If you're looking for other excuses, people were unable to afford it, Redbridge was a cheaper option to take in the FA Cup and West Ham were at home as well. At the end of the day, 33 is simply poor and I can't see it improving for our next away game in the league at Accrington Stanley.

Memorial Stadium
 After a 45 minute stop at Membury services we powered on into Bristol and arrived at around 1:30 after getting through the chronic traffic. A quick look around the ground ensued before we went in at about 2:10. The drum wasn't allowed in the ground which was a bit of a let down. The first impression of Bristol Rovers' terrace where we were located is effectively one word, open. Completely open to the elements, but all the same a good old fashioned kind of stand which I liked. The rest of the stadium is a bit disjointed, which makes it quite original, another plus point.

The good news for the Daggers fans is this. During the warm up, several players who weren't in the squad came out for a mini training session. These included Dominic Green, Medy Elito and the one that I liked the most, Rob Edmans. John Still has said before he is the ultimate target man and boy he wasn't kidding; this guy his huge. I may have to refer to him as the white Bas Savage, although I'll hope is aerial ability is better than that of the moonwalker. We then ended up having a brief chat with James Shea about the Arsenal score, he was over the moon that they were 3-2 up at the time, I bet he couldn't believe it when the final score of 5-3 to the Gunners came through!

Medy, Rob Edmans, Dom Green, Femi, Jake Reed
& Danny J Green train pre match
 Then of course came trying to put the flags up. Only one was successfully applied, whilst another was half attached to the terrace and in the second half used as cover from the rain. The last flag from the Norwegian Daggers was used at a Liverpool Champions League one amongst myself and several others. Of course with only about 50 odd on the terrace, instead of passing it along to others, we just ended up walking along the terrace ruffling it. A good laugh nonetheless!

Dagenham & Redbridge lined up as follows: Lewington, Ogogo, Doe, Walsh, McCrory, Tomlin, Lee, Gain, Maher, Hewitt, Nurse. Subs: Shea, Rose, Scannell, Bingham, Woodall.
Bristol Rovers: Bevan, Sawyer, Woodards, Bolger, Brown, Stanley, Gill, Harrold, McGleish, Carayol, Anyinsah. Subs: Anthony, Hunter, Norburn, Richard, Rendell.

Scott Bevan endured some early "banter" from the goal he conceded from the corner flag against Benson all those years ago whilst playing for Kidderminster. He took it in a light hearted way and managed a wry smile.

The Teams Line Up
 The first half was effectively a dire and drab affair. The Daggers didn't look threatening in the slightest, all of the balls through to Nurse were over weighted so he had no chance of getting them. However the one positive was some neat play between Ollie Lee & Gavin Tomlin on the left hand side. Unfortunately Tomlin's ball in wasn't good enough and the clearance from a Rovers player deflected out for a goal kick to our despair. Other than that, we didn't look threatening at all.

Bristol Rovers on the other hand, looked like the obvious choice to get the first goal. They had at least two cleared off the line when everyone surely thought they were in and Chris Lewington saved us once again. He made several good saves to deny Paul Buckles men taking the lead. It was a very poor first half though and I'm sure we were the happier side and set of supporters going in level at the break.

Half time involved a quick look at the programme and me complaining about Rovers didn't serve any burger's or chips, moreover the pies looked horrid as well so I passed on them! The programme was actually a very good read, I thought they covered the Daggers very well barring two mistakes. We didn't play Crewe in the Johnstones Paint Trophy and how they got Damien McCrory & Troy Hewitt mixed up with the pictures I don't know! The teams came back out and the rain started to come down to make the day even better. This was followed by several cowering under the large flag we had; you know who you are!
Fun Fact: There were more letters on our large flag than Daggers supporters at the game yesterday, thank Jack Connor for that one!

The second half saw the first goal of the game within five minutes. Midfielder Craig Stanley who is a very good sportsman for laughing at us taking the mick out of his accent, whipped in a fine ball to the far post which was headed back towards the near post by former Dagger Matt Harrold. It was headed goalwards by a Rovers player prospered from the Dagenhams lack of marking. The ball hit Abu Ogogo on the line and came out to Joe Anyinsah who turned and dispatched the ball with power into the back of the net from 2 yards despite Chris Lewingtons valiant efforts. It was the same old sinking feeling for the Daggers and to be perfectly honest, it was no less than what Rovers deserved.

Gavin Tomlin lines up a free kick.
 I'd like to tell you that we fought to get back into the game, but did we 'eck! To be honest, the rest of the game was spent having a laugh with the subs of both sides and looking up to see if we had a remote chance of scoring. I can tell you that Damien Scanell, Billy Bingham, Richard Rose & Brian Woodall all got their slice of chants and Rosey even gave us one back in a friendly manner of course! Woodall was directed high pitch ones, Bingham got some hair related ones from us and we were just egging Scannell to get on! Although the best shout of the day came when someone said, "at least you're paid to be here!" in no uncertain terms.

Brian Woodall later replaced an unhappy Oliver Lee, that was his last appearance for us, he'll now be going back to West Ham. Then Troy Hewitt was withdrawn for Damien Scannell much to the Daggers' delight. The only real other opportunity of note for us was when Woodall latched onto a good knock on, but the Rovers defender covered sufficiently to put in a wonderful block to send the ball out for a corner.

Rovers were looking full value for the win and nearly doubled it with more fine attacking play. Craig Stanley got down the right before slinging in a wonderful ball which found the head of Matt Harrold, who's headed hit back off the post before Mark Arber managed to clear the danger. With five minutes to go, Damien McCrory produced another last gasp goal line clearance to prevent the deficit being even greater. However in the dying embers, Paul Buckles men did eventually double their lead. Abu Ogogo tugged down Marr Harrold and the referee blew up and pointed to the spot. I needn't tell you that Harrold dragged himself up and slammed home the resulting spot kick past Lewington. That is now the seventh penalty we have given away this season and the fourth in succession; it's simply not acceptable.

The referee blew shortly afterwards to send the 70 Daggers home empty handed for the fifth game on the trot whilst the 5405 Gasheads went home beaming with delight, I'm sure they felt this was the easiest win they will get all season along. The players came over to clap us and only a handful of supporters stayed to appreciate it and to be perfectly honest, I can't blame those who went straight after the whistle had been blown. A wet and horrible game had finally ended.

Bristol Rovers fans first as this will probably find its way onto you forum. I thought your number four, defender Danny Woodards had a very good game at the back, it may have been him that prevented the Daggers testing Bevan in the second half. The team played well as a unit and Matt Harrold appeared to cause us all sorts of problems. You were full value for the win and all I can say is congratulations I suppose, we'll see you again on the final day of the season!

Now to the Daggers. Where do you want me to start? Well, a positive, Phil Walsh. Walshy played very well in my opinion and was one of the only players to come out of that with any respect. I thought his clearing of the ball has improved, his aerial ability was as evident as ever and he appears to have come on bundles since his last start. Chris Lewington needs no introduction does he, superb once more and prevented another probable thrashing. Damien McCrory done pretty well, his goal line clearance keeping the score at 1-0, however he wasn't given enough license to get forward yesterday for my liking. Abu Ogogo should be given a rest for me, Richard Rose is a more than adequate replacement whilst Abu has his arm sorted out. The cast is a clear hindrance to his performance and it'll do Abu good having a rest.

In the midfield, I'm not quite sure what to make of it. Mahers passing was very sloppy, Oliver Lee wasn't really involved bar one move. Saying that Ollie is a fantastic footballer and I wish him well now as he goes back to West Ham. Peter Gain was the usual aggressive maestro, the only one at least trying to put in a good challenge, another one that can take some credit. Gavin Tomlin hardly got in the game really, so I can't make many comments, although I felt he gave the ball away a few too many times.

Jon Nurse & Troy Hewitt, well it's quite hard to blame them for anything. They can only do as well as the service they are given and frankly, chasing after balls over the top on a wet pitch is not good enough service. I'd be curious to know how many touches they had between them because as I've said, we didn't even go forward let alone look threatening.

Where do we go from here is the question. It looked so promising after the Crawley display, but it appears to have been a false dawn. Not only are these performances damaging to our league position and the confidence of the players and fans, they're damaging to the attendance. Something needs to happen, hopefully the return of these injured players will spark something, otherwise this could be a long hard relegation dogged campaign.

The management accept the poor run and they've acknowledged that if it wasn't Dagenham they were at, they'd more than likely have been gone by now. Here's a quote from Terry Harris, "The relationship between us and the club is absolutely first class, we are well supported. At any other club we may have been gone by now, but Dagenham is a special club, and they realise what we are trying to do." Whilst I realise we are all losing patience and confidence, we have to stick with the management. As many have said,  they know the club, they know the players and they know the fans. The amount of times Stilly has turned down other clubs to stay with us. We owe him an extended period to work this conundrum out and I'm fully behind him, Terry Harris, Wayne Burnett and everyone else to make the correct changes and end this sodden run of form.

Next up is Shrewsbury Town at home on Saturday, or if you're interested in a midweek fix, go and watch the Daggers Youth at home to Barnet Youth in the FA Youth Cup, 7:00 kick off. Also we have been drawn at home to Bath City in the FA Cup 1st Round, a very favourable one for us as Bath are bottom of the Conference. However, it is a potential banana skin.

I'll leave you on something that may interest you from John Still, "I have to assess whether the team is good enough and at the moment I have to admit we are not. There needs to be some tweaking with the squad in the January transfer window."

I hope you enjoyed the read whether you are a Dagger or a Gashead or anyone else for that matter.

Follow me on Twitter, @NickDRFCMurphy.


  1. Very good.Dont think even you believe Tomlins gonna get 11 now though.LOL!! I miss you Nick,especially as all my fears are coming true.

    Strange your agreeing with me about Walshy lately.

    All the best,Tony.

  2. What an insightful read. Always good to see what the opposition thought. Love your take of our disjointed ground, agree with that description. Felt for you daggers, hiding under the flag during the second half!

  3. I have long called for a change in tactics even a change in management.Although the team is a shambles I think it would be unwise and unfair to get rid of Sr John and we owe it to him to give him the chance to sort all this mess out,which Im sure he will.We do need to get rid of some of these lethargic players though and that does mean Bye bye Tomlin,Scannel and Arber.I've never really thought much of Doe,Im always told how great he is but he is just clumsy and Crawley the other night was just another example of this.The central defence at Dagenham has been the weakness this season.We can score goals and I agree with John Still on this matter.Gainy is a dagger thru and thru and he should be captain although his age dictates he wont last much longer which is sad.We have other duds too and Danny J Green for me has been very dissapointing all season,he's done nothing and looks lost every time he plays.Richard Rose should immediately replace Arber who has been shocking.A sad end to an otherwise great career.Woodhall I think may well develop into something but should not be in this team at the moment.Tomlin just get rid please.I am right on that one,dosent tackle just runs around a lot and never scores.Get 5 or 6 decent loans in.Mayer...what a waster get rid the blokes a joke.Lewy,McCrory,Abu and Nursey all run their hearts out,they are true Daggers and we should build round them.I have been in correspondence with Steve Thompson,makes interesting reading.I can mail you my protests and Steves eloquant responses if you are interested Nick.( Still why do you always wait to long to bring a sub on ?? Its infuriating mate.Lastly....Im annoyed enough to boo my head off on Saturday but it will acheve nothing positive therefore I think we should sing our hearts out instead and show Stilly we do have faith in him.I am a supporter and truly love this club,if only the players could show some fight and passion,thats the most upsetting thing about this current situation.Love Arnu xxx

  4. Horrid pies at the med never! Its about time the gas put a roof on the away end. Great post and all the best for the season.

  5. Wasn't at the game but a good read. However i think the time has come for change but who and when ? I'm actually bared from the forum for expressing my thoughts but i'm hating the way we are constantly losing against poor teams....