Sunday, 20 November 2011

Daggers 2-3 Southend United

They say that there's two sides to every story; that was certainly the case at Victoria Road on Saturday afternoon. Despite the superb performance from the Daggers, it still reads as a defeat like any other in the form guide; but make no mistake, this display gives myself and I would hope other fans & the players a confidence boost in what has been a tough few months.

Pre match, my expectations were upped somewhat with the news of two loan signings. The first of which, a defender from Brentford by the name of Mickey Spillane; something that we were in desperate need of! The second signing, the most exciting was that of Cristian Montano; a striker from West Ham who had previously scored four in six during a stint on loan at Meadow Lane. Aboard the 103 I encountered some rowdy Southend fans before eventually reaching Victoria Road; which was as you may expect, dominated by Shrimpers. I waltzed through the turnstiles with a 50/50 ticket & my programme; expecting a feast of football; or a thrashing. Preferably the first.

The Daggers very own..... PULSE!
 I had a quick chat with Dawson & Horan before heading off into the Sieve with a burger & sprite anticipating the game. Then Pulse came out and treated us to some rhythmic walking; I refuse to call it dancing; they don't even throw each other up in the air anymore! I owe the sponsors of our stand an apology, our away stand is the Traditional Builders & Contracters Stand; last week I referred to it by its previous sponsor. Anyways, Southend had brought a fantastic following with them, selling out the TB Stand as well as 300 or so in the Sieve; not to mention the obvious bucket loads they had dotted around the ground.

The Dagenham & Redbridge Team Lined Up As Follows: Lewington, McCrory, Walsh, Femi, Spillane, Rose, Ogogo, Gain, Woodall, Nurse, Montano. Subs: Shea, Scannell, Okus, Dom Green, Scott. The Daggers were playing a 4-1-2-3 formation or something of that ilk. Spillane at right back with Richard Rose as a sort of defensive midfielder.

Southend United Team: Daniels, Clohessy, Gilbert, Mohsni, Ferdinand, Phillips, Barker, Hall, Timlin, Kalala, Dickinson. Subs: Morris, Prosser, Sawyer, Johnson, Harris.
Ryan Leonard was out of the side from last weeks 0-0 draw with Preston in the FA Cup and replaced by the official man mountain Bilel Mohsni; more on him later!

The teams came out to good applause from all sides of the ground; they came out with several mascots; one Daggers, two Southend and one only god knows! Southend United won the toss and opted to switch ends. This meant that the Daggers would be firing towards the Traditional Builders stand in the first half; and Southend attacking the Bury Road End.

The first few minutes of the game were very much a midfield battle, however the first break went Southends way. Some good work down the left hand side by Ryan Hall saw him drill a ball in which surpassed all of the Daggers defenders until it found Kane Ferdinand at the back post who obliged in putting it in the back of the net. 1500 Shrimpers went crazy whilst the Daggers fans fell silent once again; it appeared to be the start of the same old story. One good thing that came out of it was the booking of Bilel Mohsni; for a reason unbeknown to everyone but the referee. After he was booked, he threw a wonderful tantrum that had us all smiling and in all honesty, it was a bit embarrassing for both the ref & the player. No one knew why Mohsni had been booked, his retaliations just said it all really; no matter how bloody hilarious they were.

The BBC is good sometimes.
 We then had a five minute lull in the action before the Daggers equalised. A ball was threaded through to Jon Nurse who flicked the ball superbly to Cristian Montano. Montano's silky footwork eventually saw him fashion a chance and with a prod at the ball inside the six yard box, it went through Southend keeper Luke Daniels' legs to level the scores. It's the craziest I've seen the Sieve so far this season, not to mention Montano who must have been delighted with a debut goal! However, I'm sure Luke Daniels will be wondering quite how that ball got past him, a very tame shot that he should have done a lot better with.

Southend then looked to restore their lead. Bilel Mohsni getting a shot away that missed to the left hand side of the goal, before Ryan Hall had a superb effort from all of 25 yards that just cleared Chris Lewingtons post. The Shrimpers then very nearly re-took the lead. A Ryan Hall corner fell for Michael Timlin just yards from goal, everyone in the ground thought it was in, however Lewington scrambled back across to deny the Swindon Town loanee. Another magnificent stop from the former Leatherhead man.

Up until the thirty minute the mark, the game returned to more of a midfield battle. Damien McCrorys free kick tested the shrewd Southend defence. It resulted in 'keeper Luke Daniels taking a blow, the physio who was rather chunky came on and treated him, within two of three minutes he was back on his feet and raring to go once more. Then however, Southend took the lead once more; a ball was played into Bilel Mohsni who took a touch before rolling it into Liam Dickinson who applied the finished through a Daggers defenders legs and into the bottom corner. A well worked goal and one that Chris Lewington had no chance with.

Just before the half time whistle there came a final flurry of action at both ends. Kane Ferdinand slid a delightful ball across the Daggers area that was begging to be put into the back of the net, however it rolled across Dickinsons body and we survived. Dagenham then went straight up the other end and nearly found an equaliser in the second minute of added on time. The ball was fed in to Jon Nurse who took a sublime touch to turn the Shrimpers defender before his powerful shot was just tipped round the post by Daniels between the sticks. That's something we haven't seen of Nursey this season, chancing his arm outside of the box by taking some shots on; good to see him finally firing.

The Teams Go In At The Break.
 That was the final action of the first half and Southend United went in 2-1 to the good. Half time flashed by thanks to a chat with a Paul Buckle lookalike and a quick glimpse at Pulse. I assure you I wasn't watching their dancing. My main concern from the first half however was our defence whenever Southend won a free kick near our box. Bilel Mohsno who is a demon in the air was unmarked at the back post every time, this left Femi trying to make three men by himself; really not a good idea!

The teams emerged for the second half just past 4:00, the Daggers would be attacking the Southend fans housed in the Traditional Builders Stand whilst the Shrimpers would be going towards the rather packed Bury Road End. I wonder why it was packed eh?

Take Abu Son!
Just after the restart Dagenham & Redbridge equalised in superb fashion. Abu Ogogo was given the ball on the half way line before advancing towards the Southend defence who administered no pressure whatsoever. He then unleashed a rasper of a strike with his left foot which flew straight past Daniels in the Southend goal to send the Sieve wild. A simply superb strike from Abu who is really finding his feet in the centre of the park now. More importantly however; we had comeback again, it was now 2-2 with all to play for and the Daggers on top.
Some good work from Brian Woodall down the right hand side then saw the Daggers win a corner; for the umpteenth game in a row; Phil Walsh won the ball, however his shot was blocked and the pressure overted; for now. Just minutes later the debutant Montano; who had been slightly anonymous since his goal picked up the ball and hit a shot that just went wide of the post, the pressure ever increasing on Paul Sturrock's men.

Then however, Southend took a somewhat undeserved lead. Liam Dickinson sent through a defence splitting pass which found its way to Kane Ferdinand who rounded Chris Lewington and slotted home into and empty net. That my readers; is the mark of league leaders. Being able to ride out pressure and then go up the other end against the run of play and retake the lead. Good play leading up to the goal; some may say Lewington shouldn't have come out of his goal in the way that he did, but that's out of instinct and to be perfectly frank, I doubt he would have stood a chance one on one. So Southend regained a 3-2 lead on the 60 minute mark.

The game slowed down a bit for the next quarter of an hour. Cristian Montano was fouled down the left hand side which gave McCrory a chance to whip a ball into the box which he done so perfectly. It found the head of Spillane who was making a brilliant debut; his header just went wide of the mark. Virtually straight from Daniels' long punt down field, Ryan Hall found the ball at his feet, a quick change of direction saw him fashion a shot which he put harmlessly over the crossbar. John Still then made his first change of the match. Richard Rose who was effectively our insure package, came off to be replaced by Dominic Green, meaning we were reverting to our more traditional 4-4-2 formation.

Just a minute after Dom came on, we nearly equalised for the third time in the contest. Another Damien McCrory free kick down the left hand side was put into the box and it found the head of Phil Walsh who rose above the rest to get his nut on the ball. It went in a very slow motion sort of way and nearly caught Daniels out in the goal, but he got his fingertips onto it to send it over the bar and out for a corner. We then made our second change of the match, the one change that was most obvious to us all. Brian Woodall coming off for the messiah; Josh Scott getting a nice ten minute stint.

The last five minutes of the encounter were riveting to say the least. The first bit of action came from a Southend perspective, a Liam Dickinson shot inside of the area that hit the side netting, if he'd have squared the ball, he would have played in one of his unmarked team mates to more than likely wrap up the victory. Then came the Daggers final foray into the Southend half. The ball was laid back to Mickey Spillane who put in a superb ball that found the head of Josh Scott. His header was straight at Daniels who palmed it out; I can't help but feel that if Josh had any direction on that header we would have found the equaliser. Scott got to the rebound first and played in Damien McCrory whose powerful strike was saved superbly once more and the danger was cleared.

That was it, all over and Southend had one a truly fantastic Essex derby 3-2 at Victoria Road. At the end of the day; it will go down as another defeat on the results card, but there was so much heart and pride to take from this result. For starters it was the first time I had left a Dagenham game happy in quite a while. We played the top of the league side and we were good value for the draw in my eyes; we tested their keeper a number of times and on the whole, it was probably one of the best if not the best performance of the season. Although Mohsni was a bit of an idiot trying and successful getting retaliation from the Daggers supporters for being a glorified arsehole.

Mickey Spillane

The two debutant's performed admirably. Montano clearly has sublime skill and is a magnificent individual talent, getting a goal on his debut will have done wonders for the lad. Micky Spillane who in my eyes was the man of the match performed superbly at right back. Not only was he admirable at the back, but he also got forward and delivered some fantastic balls into the box; a superb acquisition. Phil Walsh & Femi were largely solid at the back; although one of them will be replaced when Scott Doe returns on Wednesday night against Bath City. Even Jon Nurse looked back to his old self, Lewington as solid as ever, even more impressive for me was Abu Ogogo who is really finding his feet in the centre alongside Peter Gain who was as passionate as ever.

The biggest thing for me yesterday however, we were like the Dagenham & Redbridge of old. We played with belief, with passion, with hunger and most importantly of all; with the fans behind the team. The Sieve was rawkus yesterday and everyone just seemed in general a lot happier. The one thing that concerns me however; is this a false dawn. We played like this at Crawley and we all thought it was a turning point; this time I hope it's the real deal.

Part of the Traditional Builders Stand at the start of the day.
 As for any Southend United readers, I can see why you are top of the league. You have everything a team needs really, you can counter attack, have the height, the pace and a great manager although he isn't quite to my taste. The sheer fact you sold nearly 1600 tickets + had numbers dotted elsewhere around the stadium shows your fantastic support, although I didn't hear much noise from you! Kane Ferdinand is a superb player as is Ryan Hall, Mohsni didn't really shine although that's probably due to his booking at the start. Does anyone even know why he was booked? I wish you good luck in your quest for promotion and I look forward to visiting Roots Hall in the new year!

As for the Daggers, we have Bath City on Wednesday night in the FA Cup Replay 1st Round. For those who have the chance to go, I urge you to, free coach travel isn't something we have very often and it is superb of the Supporters Club to lay it on for supporters. If you can't make it; watch it live on ESPN, 7:15pm kick off! Unfortunately for you avid readers, I won't be there; which means no matchday report for the first time since Hereford United at the beginning of September.

Our next league game is away at Accrington Stanley next week, a game that I will be at, so lets try and bring a respectable amount of supporters there to get behind the lads.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this whether you're a Dagger, a Shrimp or a neutral!

Remember to follow me on Twitter, @NickDRFCMurphy


  1. A very well-balanced match report. As a Southend fan, I'll take the rather fortuitous victory (although if Dickinson had put his chance away at the end of the first half, it would have been a different second half at 3-1). You guys should take a lot of heart from your team's performance. If they keep that up they'll have no trouble staying up.

  2. Great write up, one note we are The Shrimpers not the Shrimps. The Shrimps are Morecambe. Moshni was booked because he celebrated with our fans when we took the lead

  3. Cant complain about that yesterday.Daggers played with heart and passion and with just a little strengthening in central defence I believe we will possibly push for a mid table finish.I think Femi and Walsh in central defence was our downfall though and maybe that was the difference yesterday.We need to take advantage of having Montano and that means getting the ball to him,if we'd have done that a bit more we'd have won.Thought Spillane looked tidy too.I have no complaints other than our makeshift central defence really.Sort that out and we will be fine.Enjoyed yesterday thoroughly for a change,its looking good.

    Cant leave without laughing my head completely off at Anthony72 being too scared to go to the game yesterday in case the nasty Southend fans sat near him.Ha Ha ha!!!!

    Nice blog Nick.

    Love and stuff from you know who.

  4. As a Shrimper I must say a well balanced report, Nick.
    Was more than happy to get away with the three points yesterday I certainly couldn't have complained if you'd got more out of the game.
    Montano and Spillane impressed, I think you've got a couple of good loans there who are going to make a difference, are they long term or just til Jan?
    If Daggers continue to play as they did yesterday then I think you should get out of trouble, the contrast between yesterday's Daggers and the Daggers we beat 3-1 in the JPT was like chalk and cheese. In the JPT Daggers were really poor, apart from Barnet, worst I'd seen this season and I really did fear for you but yesterday was a different feeling entirely.

    Just one other, personal, thing.

    I really do hope you get out of the mire, I really admire what Daggers have achieved and the feel there is about your club, it feels like a 'proper' football club. It has a nice friendly feel about the place and is obviously still growing at a nice steady pace, your new stand is a cracker.

    Look forward to seeing you at Roots Hall in the New Year, hope, obviously, that we'll take another three points off you but for the rest of the season, good luck!!

  5. Great report, as has been said, you deserved a point at least...but should be alright if you continue to play like that.

    Was probably standing just yards from you...v difficult keeping quiet when we scored...

    Moshni is a great player just got a bit of a temper as you saw. It's a shame he wound you up at end...he's actually a lovely bloke.

    Good luck, enjoyed my trip and a cracking game.