As I reached Victoria Road it became apparent about the low number of people walking in, I know our attendances aren't exactly something to marvel at, but there seemed to be a remarkably low number actually making their way to the ground. I got my usual fix of programme, 50/50 & golden goal and headed into the ground after a quick look to see how many people were taking up the face painting, a lovely round figure of zero. A nice try by the football league to make clubs have "family fun days" but I just can't see it working out, add that to the fact that the singing group that were supposedly performing didn't show up and you haven't even got a recipe to make a disaster!
I walked round, got a bite to eat and stood next to Lee and co, awaiting a change in fortunes, the programme passed the time well anyways, a good feature on Kevin Maher and an interview with Damien Scannell being the highlights; but how did Femi get 7/10 in the quiz! He's clearly not just a pretty face, err.. The team came over the tannoy with a few surprises in store, Woodall wasn't even on the bench after starting last week and Richard Rose played instead of Abu Ogogo, I haven't read the programme fully so if there was something explaining that then I haven't seen it, I'm quite mystified! Not only that but Femi had been replaced by McCrory.
The Daggers Team: Lewington, Rose, Doe, Arber, McCrory, Scannell, Lee, Gain, Tomlin, Nurse, Williams. Subs: Hogan, Walsh, Hewitt, DJ Green, Bingham. The new boy Hewitt managed a place on the bench, everyone including myself was anxious to see what he was about!
|A lovely day at Victoria Road!|
The Daggers continued their pressure onto the ten minute mark, Peter Gain who has grown a new tuft of hair from somewhere, put in a cross to the back post where Damien Scannell could only head over, a half chance and a very good jump from Scans to fashion his header. The next ten minutes or so were very poor and my favourite term, "a midfield battle" came into effect, a few corners for either side in this period but nothing came of them, all either headed over or headed clear, good defending from both sets of players.
|Miller for Crewe|
Then came possibly one of the best moments of the game Crewe won a free kick just on the edge of the box which Nick Powell took. If Barking RUFC were playing today, they would have been proud, he stepped up with a Ronaldo like stride and ballooned over the bar spectacularly to everyones amusement. On that note, credit to Crewe today for fielding 12/16 academy players, it's fantastic to see things like that and the Railwaymen have produced numerous top class players through the years, you can see why.
One of the Crewe front men who has a double barreled name then got a shot away which Lewington saved well, before Mark Arber got himself in the referees book with a superb challenge, the referee clearly thought otherwise. However when you go in for a challenge and the defender diverts the ball the opposite way to which it was first going, I thought that was a successful and fair challenge, apparently not according to the man in the middle. Crewe were beginning to get a foothold in the match so it was a very good thing that the Daggers defence was in top form.
Chris Lewington who I cannot talk up enough made a very good save from Nick Powells volley, he looked like Crewe's most potent attacking player so far and then Scott Doe made an even better last ditch challenge to deny an away player a chance to strike on goal, more on Doey later! The Daggers had faded slightly towards the end of the half, however Crewe weren't looking particularly dangerous with the majority of their shots being high, wide and definitely not handsome.
That was the end of the first half and a fair few Daggers were despondent, but I remained optimistic that our luck would change and that we would get that elusive win or a point, I'd have taken either! Crewe had improved as the game had gone on so I'd have though Dario Gradi would be very pleased with his sides efforts. On the note of Dario Gradi, has anyone else noticed his uncanny resemblance to Sean Lock, it's fantastic! We then witnessed the worst training session in the history of training sessions, which kind of reminded me of Dagenham, the kids playing created the opportunities but always squandered them! After a brief chat with Billy, the teams came back out for the second 45 and everyone was fairly happy although the Sieve did smell dreadful!
Crewe started the half the brighter, much as they had ended the previous one, Leitch-Smith broke free of the Dagenham & Redbridge defence and ran into the box, Scott Doe however had no intention of letting him face Lewington, just as it seemed he would get a shot away, the former Weymouth defender made a superb challenge to deny the Crewe forward. It was such a brilliant challenge, however he did injure himself in the process it seemed, luckily he managed to run it off in just under ten minutes, although for a time it appeared that Phil Walsh may have to come on!
It was then Sam Williams' turn to get a shot away, after holding off a Crewe defender he turned him well and fired a shot agonisingly past the far post at the Marcus James end, very good play from the tall front man. From Steve Phillips' goal kick the away side fashioned another chance. Nick Powell, their man threat got down the left once more and forced Lewington into a fine save, palming it over the bar and out of play. Then came the moment everyone had been waiting for, Troy Hewitt, the loan signing from QPR was introduced in place of Damien Scannell. Scans was fairly quiet by his own standards, but still managed to swing in a few crosses but to no real effect.
This change meant a few players trading positions. Troy Hewitt who I kept calling Dwight Gayle for some reason went up front along with Sam Williams whilst Jon Nurse pushed out to right midfield. Hewitt couldn't get involved straight away as Crewe had a free kick, unlike the one in the first half, this one hit the Daggers wall, who for a change done their job. From the block the Daggers went upfield and Troy earned a corner, it was taken by Tomlin who whipped it into the back post for Jon Nurse who could only head wide of the target. The Daggers appeared to be making some leeway in the crossing stakes, minutes later McCrory swung in a ball from the left which met Sam Williams' bonce, but Phillips between the sticks got down well to deny the striker a third Daggers goal.
Crewe then done what everyone had feared and made the breakthrough. Miller who had also been involved in a lot of their previous attacks got away down the left hand side once more and hot a shot at Lewington which he parried brilliantly, unfortunately Byron Moore has poachers instincts and was on hand to tap home the rebound at the far post despite McCrorys effort. Three sides of Victoria Road fell silent once more as the 260 odd Crewe fans celebrated their goal, another game that wouldn't end a 0-0 for us and another game where we've fallen behind, everyone thought, "same old story."
However, just as everyone was down in the dumps, the Daggers popped straight back with an equaliser. Gavin Tomlin got down the far side and swung a delightful ball in which was only partially cleared, new boy Hewitt helped it on its way to the far post where Sam Williams was there to "slam" home and he ran off to celebrate. That was Sam's third Daggers goal and one that came out of the blue for him after being largely ineffective all game, but strikers are paid to score and he done so there, levelling the game up at one a piece. The question was now, could either side push on and win the game.
Then came a rather big blow, Sam Williams lying idle on the deck after getting clattered, I didn't see the incident but the big man managed to hobble off on one foot to a large round of applause. On in his place was Danny J Green who I love as an impact player, on a side note, Lee noticed that Gavin Tomlin started clapping the crowd presuming he was the one going off; classic! This signalled another change in formation, DJ went on the left wing with Tomlin on the right whilst Nurse partnered Hewitt up top.
Scott Doe was having a stormer of a game, making another two last ditch challenges in the last ten minutes of the game to deny Crewe players and save Lewington from being called into action. Then came an opportunity for the Daggers, Green swung in a ball that was trapped excellently by Hewitt who turned his man and hit a shot that was deflected onto the post and out for a corner, you can tell why he's at QPR! As we approached added time, Jon Nurse got away a speculative effort from a tight angle that hit the side netting, that liked like that could be that.
Crewe manager Sean Lock then made his first change of the afternoon, Caspar he not so friendly Hughes replacing Crewe's man of the match for me Nick Powell, I have to tell you Crewe have a gem of a player there, I think I remember watching him for the England Under 17's in the World Cup in the Summer, a fantastic asset to have.
As we waded into a chunk of the four minutes of added on time, it looked as though there would be no winner with Lewington pumping the ball up field, a deflection occurred and the Daggers won a corner with just seconds left on the clock. Damien McCrory took it from the right side and Richard Rose rose highest to sneak it into the back of the net. In honesty, I don't even know if it went over the line, although I think someone made sure afterwards. The Sieve went into overdrive, madness, elation, jubilation any superlative you have available use it. Everyone was jumping up and down, going mental and celebrating what surely was our first victory in well over a month and a goal that looked to have ended a five game losing sequence.
From a Daggers perspective, magnificent, not only had we won a game, we'd scored two and come from behind to do so against a team on a good run of form, in all honesty a win had been coming. Last week we were fairly good and this week we just got that lucky break and a superb header by Rose, his first ever for us to clinch the result. However the day belonged to Scott Doe for me, the man made several fantastic goal saving tackles this afternoon and was well worthy of his man of the match award, what an asset we have in him. With Richard Rose, from a defensive aspect he done fairly ok, McCrory seemed to lose his man a bit, but I'm willing to forgive as he made up for it going forward when he did.
My one criticism today would be this, who the hell was meant to be playing left midfield half way through the second half. We was standing there speculating who it was as everyone drifted into the middle of the park, all I can say is we're lucky that the Crewe players didn't have better vision or we could have paid a severe price. As I say to you Crewe fans, I was fairly impressed, a very young squad coped fairly well, just a few experienced faces needed to get the balance right and well done to your 260 odd fans who made the trip down, I know a few Crewe fans and you're a good bunch.