Saturday, 15 October 2011

Daggers 2-3 Plymouth, Anti Climax

Victoria Road
Dagenham & Redbridge suffered a seventh defeat in eight by losing 3-2 to Plymouth Argyle who will no doubt be dancing and singing all the way on their long ole' poke home. I would like to thank Gordon Sparks of BBC Radio Devon for allowing me to use some of his pictures he took today.

The day started in a football mood by watching Plymouth Argyles fans on Soccer AM, in the car park they went top by scoring eight which could have set the tone for the afternoon for those superstitious amongst us. The walk to Victoria Road was a somewhat optimistic one for a change, with no disrespect to Argyle, this was probably our most winnable game so far so there was reason to be upbeat. Upon reaching the ground I learned that a flock of Plymouth supporters were gathering down the Eastbrook Pub to sort out affairs with Peter Ridsdale and may I say I hope the meeting went how the fans wanted it to as I do have a soft spot for the Pilgrims!

I went into the ground after buying a programme and a 50/50 ticket where I had a quick slash and progressed along the terrace and into the Sieve. It wasn't as packed as usual which probably had something to do with an incentive from West Ham to get kids in, but oh well the usual figures were in there! I got myself a burger and a sprite before finding my place next to Lee & Bill for a quick pre game chat before hearing the teams announced over the tannoy.

Daggers vs Plymouth

The Daggers lined up like this: Lewington, Ogogo, Doe, Arber, McCrory, Maher, Lee, Scannell, Gain, Tomlin, Woodall, Nurse. Subs: Shea, Rose, Bingham, Scannell, Hewitt. Kevin Maher started his first league game for the Daggers whilst Brian Woodall replaced Troy Hewitt up top.

The Plymouth line up was as follows: Cole, Berry, Nelson, Gibson, Williams, Walton, Soukouna, Hourihane, Atkinson, Feeney, Lecointe. Subs: Larrieu, Fletcher, Young, Griffiths, Vassel. Player manager Carl Fletcher back on the bench for you Pasoti viewers after a three game ban.

The teams came out to good applause from all sides of the ground following some "dancing" or as I like to call it, rhythmic walking by everyones favourite, Pulse. I'm not sure who won the toss, but whoever it was opted to swap sides yet again so the Daggers would be attacking the newly named Traditional Builders Stand after Marcus James went bust they came in to pick up the pieces. On that note, well done once more to Plymouth Argyle who brought up a fantastic 435 I think it may have been, somewhere around that mark. I've said it time & time again, but for what their supporters have been through it's fantastic to see the numbers still at a good level, some of the best fans in the country for noise & passion.

Anyways, the game kicked off, the Daggers looked as though they were lining up 4-5-1 with Woodall up front, however my eyesight may have deceived me and we could have been 4-4-2, I've forgotten! The first ten minutes were very poor, as you may expect from two sides struggling at the wrong end, a number of offsides were given including two for Nursey who was beginning to get on my nerves and we hadn't even played a quarter of an hour yet!

Ollie Lee
The first real signs of a possible goal were about 12 or so minutes in. Gavin Tomlin laid the ball back to Oliver Lee on the left hand side, he shifted the ball into his right foot before whipping in a cross come shot that was tipped over well by Jake Cole for a corner. The resulting corner was well cleared by Plymouth ending the first real chance of the game. Minutes later Jon Nurse was then given a license to roam, the ball was fed through but unfortunately the ball touched his hand and the referee blew for a free kick to Plymouth.

Warren Feeney fashioned the away sides first real chance of the contest, some neat footwork before getting a shot away that went straight down Chris Lewingtons throat. In the next period of play came the first goal of the contest. Some clever work down Plymouths left hand side by Ladjie Soukouna bamboozled the Daggers defence. The ball was taken to the touchline before being pulled back to 16 year old Matt Lecointe who showed composure beyond his age to smash home into the roof of the net past a helpless Lewington. The green army were in raptures whilst the Sieve fell silent once more, it was a poor start, but if anyone looked like they would score it was the Daggers.

Straight from the kick off Peter Gain got the ball and fired a shot at Jake Cole which was saved with ease by the former Barnet stopper. Then after a corner was cleared well by the Plymouth backline, the ball fell to midfielder Kevin Maher. Maher ran at the bobbling ball before unleashing a shot that probably hit someone on the head coming out of the toilets, a wild & speculative effort that unsurprisingly didn't come off. The Daggers continued the good period of possession by creating another good opportunity. Damien McCrory was given the ball and swung in a wonderfully flighted ball that found the head of Scott Doe who out jumped the Argyle defender, unfortunately the header was planted over the bar. The best chance of the game so far and one that really should have been on target at the very least.

After a small lull in action, it was Robbie Williams who produced the next shot, an ambitious strike that went high over the bar and into the Plymouth support. Unfortunately, no Robbie Williams song fits in well to make a pun so you'll have to take that as it comes. The Daggers were then on the attack and produced another golden chance. A superb Damien McCrory corner, one of the best I've seen this season, found the head of an unmarked Brian Woodall. It looked like it was going in, we all begin to cheer, but it rolled agonisingly wide of the mark; yet another fantastic chance that we really should have done better with.

Warren Feeney
I'm afraid to say, that really was the last action of a remarkably poor first half. I personally felt Plymouth were slightly fortunate to go in ahead, but they took their chances and we didn't, on that basis, they full deserved to be in front. I know this will more than likely be posted on Pasoti, so I'll try and be as fair as I can. Plymouth's main threat for me, was down the wings, Warren Feeney was seeing a lot of the ball, but was unable to do anything with it. Whenever the ball was crossed in, Mark Arber, & Scott Doe usually dealt with it well, the Daggers defence looking very sturdy in the first 45.

As for the Daggers, more of the same really. I've seen the last 9 games and it's like watching a repeat over and over. We're not really playing badly, we just can't seem to put the chances away when we need to. Brian Woodall should definitely have scored and Jon Nurse was once again very lackadaisical, not chasing balls down which annoys me a lot! In the middle, the game was bypassing Ollie Lee, but Kevin Maher was keeping the ship steady and playing some very neat passes around to create opportunities.

The Daggers very own.... PULSE!
As the teams went into the break, a chorus of boo's rang out in the Sieve, I personally don't condone that at half time, but I can't stop you. Voice your frustration at the end if you ask me as doing it half way through does nothing for the players confidence. We were treated to another fantastic rhythmic walk by Pulse whilst the half times were read out, Crawley & Orient were both winning, humbug! On another note, it was FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round weekend and I've been closely following our local teams. Daniel Campbell came over and told me that Southend Manor were 2-0 up against Leighton, a team four division higher than themselves, so well done to them! I'll tell you at the end what the final outcome was.....

The sides re-emerged for the second half at roughly 4:05 as we all hoped for an improved performance and maybe a goal or two to lighten the mood. The first five minutes were very drab and largely full of Dagenham crosses that were absorbed by the Plymouth defence. However, on about the 50 minute mark came one of the best goals I have ever seen at Victoria Road. The ball fell to 20 year old Irishman Conor Hourihane. He ran up to it and hit it sweetly, with no spin on it at all, it hit off of the far post and went in. A thoroughly mesmeric strike that had myself and many other Daggers applauding it. However, the closing down could have been better; take nothing away from Hourihane though, probably the best finish of his career.

The Daggers regroup after Scott Doe's goal.
 Just over five minutes later, the Daggers responded. Damien McCrory who had been delivering the ball well all day took a corner and it found the head of Scott Doe who got his nut on the ball to head home. Scott Doe's second of the season and much like his one against Rotherham, that now puts him as our joint top league goalscorer! A much needed immediate response to keep us within touching distance with some considerable time still left to play and possibly get an equaliser.

McCrory who was having a stormer of a game then tried his luck from outside the box, not once but twice. However the luck of the Irish wasn't quite on his side as both of his powerful shots from the same position fizzed wide of Jake Cole's far post. The Daggers were now beginning to dominate the game and Jon Nurse had a shot that was charged down superbly by Plymouth defenders. Argyle defender Robbie Williams wasn't quite an angel when he got himself booked on about 65 minutes for an innocuous challenge on Brian Woodall I believe it was.

 67. The minute of solace, cheering, excitement & Nurse. The ball was ping ponging around in the Plymouth penalty area, before I believe it was put back across by Damien McCrory. The ball found Jon Nurse who headed home in powerful style, we had looked most threatening in the air today and so it proved with both our goals coming from headers. By the way, the build up is a haze to me so it may be wrong, watch the Football League show later for confirmation. Either way, jubilation returned to the Sieve, we had come from 2-0 down and were now at 2-2, cue the Poznan and nutty celebrations!

Just seconds after the restart, the Daggers won the ball again and almost netted once more. Peter Gain who was having quite a good game got down the left hand side and put in a deep ball which found Brian Woodall. The former Gresley man got the connection, but could only direct the ball into the side netting, a half chance, but one that could have been taken. John Still then made his first substitution, Oliver Lee who had been non existent being replaced by Damien Scannell. It's not Ollie's fault that game's tend to pass him by, the fact is, he's a player with an abundance of quality but we don't play the way he's suited too unfortunately. Also, with the momentum, you have to question whether we should have made a change and disrupt a team flowing with confidence and unity?

It was now becoming very end to end, Hourihane flashing one just wide of the mark for Plymouth before Scannell & Gain got a couple of shots away for the Daggers. Plymouth will feel they should have had a penalty after one of their players was pulled back by Scott Doe I believe, personally I didn't think it was. However after the match John Still came out and said it should have been, the referee didn't give it though and that's all that counts I suppose. Fletcher made a change, Warren Feeney who had became increasingly ineffective as the game wore on, was replaced by Isaac Vassell with five minutes to go. The Daggers were pushing furiously, getting the balls down the wings, but with no end product. Brian Woodall was then booked by the referee for a late sliding challenge on the Plymouth left back.

As the bloke on the tannoy (sorry I've forgotten your name again!) announced there would be a rather lengthy minimum of five minutes of added on time, the biggest talking point of the game. The substitute Isaac Vassell got ahead of my man of the match Damien McCrory, as they ran into the box and got to the by-line Vassell went down. The referee waved it away, but the linesman raised his flag furiously and put it in that dreaded place, across his chest. Penalty to Plymouth. Add to that the fact when the player made the run he was offside, it was even more gut wrenching.

From where I was, I confess it didn't look like a penalty, I thought the referee had made an awful howler of a decision and that was echoed by my compatriots who were frozen in disbelief. However after consulting various others in other parts of the ground it may have been a penalty, we'll find out for certain later tonight on the Football League Show, however John Still later came out and said he thought it was a penalty. After several minutes of debate and thinking, Damien McCrory was sent off, which means Femi will be playing for the next three games at least you would have thought. It's such a shame considering McCrory had a wonderful game today, I personally think we'll miss him a bundle in the next couple of weeks. Anyways, Plymouth captain Simon Walton stepped up and slammed home the penalty.

Dagenham & Redbridge 2-3 Plymouth Argyle. As Walton, the Plymouth players, the Plymouth bench and the Plymouth fans all celebrated, a number of Daggers fans headed for the exit's whilst the rest of us just stood there taking in the inevitible defeat. All the fightback, all the hope, all the effort for nothing; but at the end of the day that's football isn't it? Troy Hewitt was brought on in place of Brian Woodall to try and salvage something. However, on the five minute mark, the referee blew up, unbelievably he did not add any time on for the penalty which ate into a good two or three minutes of the original stoppage time.

Firstly, I'd like to commend Plymouth, their fans deserve a win to celebrate, I'm throughly disappointed it was against us and personally I feel we were good value for the draw and maybe the victory if I'm clutching at straws. Their support was fantastic as always, both vocally and numbers wise and I wish Carl Fletchers men good luck for the rest of the season providing we're not in a relegation battle with them of course! The youth looks very promising at Home Park and I hope it all goes well, although I think I heard whispers of bad news coming out of the pre match chat at the Eastbrook.

Onto the Daggers and where do you want me to start? Fact is, it was the same old, create the chances and not finish enough off. Woodall should have scored at least once today and even though Nursey scored, he shouldn't start next week in my opinion. He hasn't chased down enough balls or been a part of enough games for me, I love Nursey, I really do, but a rest for him could be benefficial. Kevin Maher was very calm and played a number of neat passes today, I think he's a very good addition to the team. Peter Gain was as ever fiery and the one who made a number of challenges, no complaints from his performance. Gavin Tomlin was somewhat non existent, but luckily for him Damien McCrory was having a blinder with his deliveries and the sending off was majorly disappointing.

At the end of the day, it's football, we're on a bad run, but the murmurs of people saying, "sack the manager" are not what we need. Keep the faith, players are coming back all the time and that can only be helpful to John and us, we'll pick up, if it wasn't for a controversial penalty, we'd be celebrating a fantastic comeback. Today surely shows you that we have spirit, we have the mentality to comeback from the dead and that's a massive positive. The good times will return, but we just have to keep believing and ride this one out, no one's arguing we're on a bad run, but this is a very average league and there's only one goal seperating us and the opposition every game.

To end this on, Southend Manor, they were 2-0 up at half time against Leighton, they won the game 5-0 to progress through to the FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round, a fantastic achievement by them. Well done to Redbridge FC who I have also been following who made it through to the 4th round after a 3-0 defeat of Dunstable Town at Oakside.

Next up for the Daggers is Aldershot Town at home next weekend, I'll leave you on this picture and a number of others from the game.

Dagenham & Redbridge Badge inside the away end

The Tunnel to the Pitch

If any Daggers or Plymouth supporters wish to follow Gordon Sparks on twitter, his Twitter name is, @SparksyOnRadio. If any of you want to follow me on Twitter, you'll need, @NickDRFCMurphy.


  1. Agree that Damien McCrory was excellent. Would rather have him than Williams, serves us right for releasing him.

    The penalty looked suspicious from the away end. I thought the scything of Lecointe earlier was a stone wall pen. If only the ref had the fitness to have left the centre circle during the final 10 minutes of the game.

  2. Disappointed you cut the video off before the Green Army roared their approval.
    Glad to see McCrory doing well, i always rated him, but then i'm just as glad we have Williams. Top report too