Sunday, 11 December 2011

Daggers 1-2 Port Vale, Sinking Ship.

Nine straight league defeats and now bottom of the entire football league; it can't really get much worse can it? Guess what, it can; next week we face Burton Albion who have the leagues second top scorer in Billy Kee and then a massive clash at home to rivals Barnet on Boxing Day.

Going into the game I was strangely confident considering our most recent performance against Walsall the week previous and Port Vales recent form which has been woeful; much like our own. I predicted a 1-1 as that had been the score the two times Vale had visited this part of London/ Essex before and I'd have taken that result today to be honest. I got into the ground at around 2:30 and went straight to book the coach for Burton Albion next week; another ground to be ticked off! About five minutes later I got myself a burger and a tea and settled in the Sieve to watch the extravaganza of football that would shortly be on offer.

Dagenham & Redbridge Team: Lewington, Femi, Doe, Geohaghan, Spillane, Tomlin, Gain, Ogogo, Nurse, Scott, Woodall. Subs: Hogan, Rose, Elito, Bingham, Cunnington.

One of the biggest shocks for us all was that Stilly had chosen to change the back line. Exodus came in to partner Doe; even though Doey & Spillane looked a very assured partnership last weekend. This meant that Richard Rose dropped to the bench as Spillane took up the right back position. Damien Scannell & James Shea had left the club in midweek, this move saw Gavin Tomlin get a start and "reserve" goalkeeper Dave Hogan get a place on the bench. Adam Cunnington was also back after being cup tied last weekend, he managed to nab a place on the bench, whilst Montano was out with a groin strain.

Port Vale Team: Tomlinson, Yates, McCombe, Collins, Chilvers, Taylor, Griffith, Loft, Myrie-Williams, Pope, Madjo. Subs: McDonald, Roberts, Rigg, Richards, Williamson.

Doug Loft returned to Dagenham for the first time, Lofty had a loan spell here from Brighton a couple of seasons ago. Vale were unchanged from their 0-0 draw against Torquay two weeks previous, however a couple of players were replaced on the bench. Rob Kozluk & Louis Dodds (no relation to Ken) made way for Marc Richards who had been missing for some time through injury. Ben Williamson was also back from injury and replaced Dodds on Micky Adams' substitutes bench.

The teams came out at roughly 3:00 with the sun shining down on Victoria Road. Someone told me there was meant to be protests by the Vale fans regarding their board. If they were intended to be done during the game, I can only assume they were giving out the silent treatment. After the teams swapped, meaning the Daggers would be attacking the Bury Road end and Vale their own fans; we kicked off.

Micky Adams' side had the first chance of the encounter, Guy Madjo firing over from inside Chris Lewingtons six yard box. Dagenham & Redbridge's first shot came just before ten minutes, the ball was crossed in from the left hand side before falling to Tomlin at the back post. He took a touch and had time, before blazing it over the bar much to everyones frustration. Anyone in favour of a new rule for Tomlin? Whenever he shoots John Still should dock £100 from his wages.

The Daggers then began to establish something of a foothold in the encounter just after the ten minute mark. The second chance was for Josh Scott, but a wild swing saw the ball go tamely off for a goal kick. Swiftly afterwards a cross came into the box which found the head of Brian Woodall. Brian got a good connection, but the header went just wide of the mark and out for a goal kick once more. Very positive stuff though. Just minutes later and 'keeper Stuart Tomlinson was called into action for the first time. Josh Scott unleashed a fierce shot from outside the box which he palmed away, but only to Jon Nurse. The Barbados International fired a shot low and hard on the volley at the man between the sticks, but he saved it again before Nurse was given a third go. This time it was pushed out for a corner to the Daggers.

Following Port Vale's quick equaliser.
 A minute or so later however and the Daggers did gain the lead of the game. A throw in down the right was knocked forward into the box and it found Brian Woodall.  He controlled it well before getting the shot away; a deflection saw the ball go past Tomlinson to hit the back of the net. The Sieve became very jubilant as did Woodall who netted his third goal of the season. Just as we were settling back down from the celebrations; straight from kick off the ball was given to Jennison Myrie-Williams, he took a couple of touches before unleashing a purler of a shot. From when it left his boot you could tell where it was going; sure enough it flew between Lewington & the post to make it 1-1 about 20 seconds after we took the lead. It was nice while it lasted! A superb goal from Vale nonetheless and one that Lewy could do nothing about.

Port Vale then asserted a degree of pressure on the home side; forcing several corners all of which were cleared away for corner after corner. On about 35 minutes, Lewington produced a truly world class save. Tom Pope got the ball and dribbled forward a few yards before unleashing a belter of a strike on the Daggers goal. Lewington looked as though he didn't have a hope or a prayer, but he got his fingertips on it to send the ball onto the bar and out for a corner. Brilliant play from both the striker and the goalkeeper.

The Valiants then had another flurry of corners before the Daggers went on a mini break upfield; it resulted in Peter Gain been brought over for the umpteenth time by Myrie Williams, this time we got a free kick for it. The free kick was taken be everyones favourite player Gavin Tomlin. He took it and it hit the scoreboard to everyone's dismay as everyone expected. That was effectively the last thing of note in the first half. There were more Vale corners and several more fouls to end the first forty five. A very even game so far and probably a deserved 1-1.

We go in for half time.
My assessment of the first half? Woodall looked like our best player once again although Gainy & Abu were giving him a run for his money in the middle of the park. No matter what anyone says about Gainy being finished, I assure you he is not. Not only is he the engine room of the midfield, he can also string a good pass along to create a move. Tomlin & Exodus were very poor in my opinion, Gav we all know and I'm disappointed for him because if he could actually shoot then he'd probably be a good player to have. Exodus looked sluggish and this would inevitably cause problems at the back if Vale managed to get a break.

The teams came back out for the second half as the sun was descending and the floodlights were being switched on, giving Victoria Road a feeling of dusk. The first opportunity of the second half came from Brian Woodall, just seconds after the restart. I didn't see the build up, but he unleashed one from about 25 yards which was just turned over from Tomlinson between the sticks to give Dagenham a corner. The recent goals have really given Woodall a welcome boost of confidence and he now looks like one of our best players.

Peter Gain was next to get a shot off on goal, but his strike was sliced and ended up going into the far corner of the Traditional Builders Stand. Only causing harm to the Youth Teamers who were sitting there. Up the other end Gavin Tomlin received the first booking of the game for a poor challenge on Myrie-Williams which was quite ironic really. Williams had made several failed attempts to gain control of the ball from a Daggers player in the first half and wasn't cautioned for any of them. I hate referee's. The free kick though was pushed clear of the far post by a Daggers defender to set up another barrage of corners which were all defended aqequately.

Then came a flurry of action at both ends of the pitch. From one of the Vale corners Brian Woodall who suddenly had a spring in his step broke away. He carried the ball the whole length of the pitch in a gutbusting run, but his final ball was intercepted and forced out for a corner kick. From the resulting corner, Vale managed to break away and their best player, Madjo fired over from just inside the 18 yard box to snuff out the danger. The game was now beginning to come alive all of a sudden, however Vale still looked like the side in the ascendency.

Vale celebrate their second.
 Sure enough, on 64 minutes Vale took the lead for the first time in the afternoon. Madjo played the ball back to Robert Taylor who was in his own half. Taylor, formerly of Nuneaton went on a superb run down the left, skipping past a helpless Spillane and donkey like Geohaghan before clipping in a low ball into the box which bypassed the first defender and attacker. However in the middle of the goal, Cameroonian Madjo got to the ball before Scott Doe and proceeded to hit the ball on the half volley into the centre of the goal and past Lewington who couldn't scramble across fast enough. Same old story for Dagenham as Vale who hadn't scored in their previous 500 minutes of football, had netted two in forty-one minutes.

This was the cue for a substitution, Medy Elito coming on for Gavin Tomlin and the general census from the fans is that if any player will be leaving in January, it will be Gav. Just five minutes later and Micky Adams made his first change of the game, swapping Guy Madjo who had been causing the Daggers defence problems all afternoon for Marc Richards which delighted Vale fans. A long awaited return for the striker. Just after this substitution, Tom Pope hit another shot at Lewington, but the stopper saved it well to keep the deficit at 2-1.

Then came perhaps the most bewildering substitution of the game. Brian Woodall (right)was replaced by Adam Cunnington to make his home debut. I have no problems with Cunnington coming on, but the fact Stilly chose to take off Woodall is something that I don't find particularly encouraging. Woodall was probably our biggest threat in the game, our best player and he's been taken off, what kind of message must that send to the lad who's worked his bollocks off all of the game?

The Daggers didn't look threatening at all for the final ten minutes, infact Marc Richards got a shot away on 85 minutes to try and further increase the away side's lead. Vale made tow more substitutions before full time, Sean Rigg replacing another thorn in Myrie-Williams whilst towards the end Clayton McDonald came on for Rob Taylor who had set up their second goal.

For the final ten minutes or so we could only really force corner after corner and these came to nothing as usual. The first ball was headed away, only for the second ball to fall to a Vale player as their was no Dagenham challenge whatsoever. This is how a lot of clubs score goals, through second balls, yet we seem scared to go in for them; another thing that needs working on. The final play of the game was on 93 minutes, the Daggers earned a corner, we were all urging Lewington to go up; after all, what did we have to lose? Yet John Still said no. I'm sorry, but our goal difference is so bad what will it matter if we concede another through trying to equalise. The wrong decision that angered the supporters and Lewington alike.

Full time, 2-1 to Port Vale. The only league club that's name isn't actually a place ended their league losing run to stretch the Daggers to a very unhealthy 9 straight league defeats. I have nothing to say, I mean what is there to say?

Vale Fans.
 Next up is Walsall on Tuesday night for the chance to get to the FA Cup 3rd Round and a lucrative tie against Millwall. In the league, we have our final away game of 2011 next weekend, away at Burton Albion, before we return to Victoria Road for a vital London derby against Barnet on Boxing Day.

I'll speak to you again next Sunday as I won't be able to attend the game in Poland in midweek.

Oh and the general consensus amongst the majority of fans when asked if Stilly should stay or go. Is stay. Here Here!


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  2. Remove Still and Harris immediately,they dont know what they are doing.You honestly think we can stay up with those two clowns at the top.Get real.