Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Daggers 0-1 Northampton, Daggers Not Drawn.

All season long, I've said that our inability to draw games has cost us, and once again I was proved right as the Daggers lost 1-0 at home to relegation rivals Northampton Town, plunging us further into the Blue Square mire. I will say this now, unless we have a drastic upturn in fortunes over the next two weeks, I think we will be plying our trade in the Forest Green Rovers league next season.

There will be no in depth match report, simply because I am too gutted to outline it, this is the worst I've ever felt after a Daggers match. We started the game with a high tempo, looking to attack down the wings, looking to get Woodall into some good scoring opportunities, but we just couldn't find that all important breakthrough first, as has been the case countless times this season.

I should point out the team showed four changes from the one that was defeated in Kingston Upon Thames on Saturday afternoon. Jonathan Bond, Billy Bingham, Scott Doe and Ben Reeves were all out of the side for one reason or another. They were replaced by Chris Lewington, Matthieu Baudry, Josh Parker and somewhat surprisingly Luke Howell, who had made a miracle recovery from injury. Parker & Howell excited me in particular as they could possibly add some extra pace and urgency to the midfield, something that's desperately needed.

The first half was very slow paced, although Dagenham did start the brighter with a rather high tempo, getting the ball down the wings on several occasions. One particular storming run from loanee Josh Parker causing problems for the Cobblers back line before he was halted in his tracks. The closest the Daggers came in truth was a Mickey Spillane free kick that was a fair few yards away from testing former Premier League goalkeeper Matt Duke. However, it was a promising first forty five from our point of view, possibly because we had kept the scores at level pegging.

From a Northampton perspective, they may have been disappointed at not being a goal or two to the good. Michael Jacobs was providing a valiant threat from the back, forcing Mickey Spillane to make a vital block on more than one occasion. However, the away side’s biggest threat was right midfielder Toni Silva on loan from Liverpool. His pace was exploiting the right side of the pitch and causing numerous problems for McCrory and Arber. In one instance he ran from the half way line, fooled two of our defenders before cutting back into the box and forcing a superb save from Lewington to send the ball out for a corner.

The Daggers looked a bigger threat from set pieces as per usual; however the Scott Doe front post run wasn't in effect as the centre half was ill with something so unable to play. However, Spillane nearly got on the end of one, whilst a Medy Elito shot from outside the box after the ball had been cleared was also blocked, meaning the scores would remain level going into the break. That was probably a fair result in all honesty.

We had hoped that the half time interlude would encourage the Daggers to push forward as we so often do in the second half, but that wasn't the case. The second half started sluggishly, but was brought to life 62 minutes in when a superb run and shot from Michael Jacobs who has been a threat all evening, was tipped away superbly by Chris Lewington. Unfortunately for Lewy, he palmed it straight into the path of onrushing winger Toni Silva, by far the Cobblers' best player. With the quick swing of his foot it made the net bulge and the Daggers were 1-0 down. I personally don’t believe Lewington was at fault for the goal, the defence in front of him could be apportioned some of the blame.

This left an eerie silence around Victoria Road as three quarters of the ground were plunged into despair, meanwhile the Traditional Builders Stand was rocking with the hardly 660 or so Northampton supporters celebrating their massive goal. There's a reason we're down the bottom you know, we've conceded first on 23 occasions, whilst we have the worst record in the league against teams in the bottom half, picking up just 14 points from a possible 42 before this game.

John Still made a delayed substitution, bringing on big Rob Edmans for the somewhat ineffective Brian Woodall. If there's one criticism I have of John as a whole, it’s his substitutions, this one for example was made far too late in the game, especially when you consider Edmans was ready to go twenty minutes previous.

Aidy Boothroyd then went all defensive with just ten minutes left to play, bringing on Byron Webster for the tank Akinfenwa. This move made sure that the away side had defensive cover as several successions of crosses were headed away from the box, the Daggers simply couldn't break down the resolute back line. The one good chance the Daggers did have in the dying moments was massive, a ball came in and it found the head of the unmarked Parker, however his header was straight at Duke. Game over.

I cannot describe to you my own and several other fans' emotions after this game. Everyone was so downbeat as you may expect, such a massive defeat in the context of the season. I can now confirm that I, the eternal optimist will believe that we will be relegated. There is just no way of us getting out of it at the moment, we cannot beat the teams around us, it’s as simple as that.

The major thing for us this season is our lack of draws. If we converted just four or five of these twenty two or so defeats into draws, we'd have been in touching distance. The constant conceding from individual mistakes as well as the amount of late goals we let in has really done us up. If we are to go down, this is the thing that I will look at the most.

I think I'm going to end this Blog here, no pictures, no jokes, no real meaning, much like the Daggers performance, extremely bland. However, I will congratulate Howell & Parker who both look like playing a vital role in the coming games; Howell especially who looks like he will be driving the midfield.

One last thing to bear in mind is that this end of the season anything can happen. Games come thick and fast and teams go on winning and losing runs; we just have to hope we can manage to string some good results together.

I'll be back for a hopefully more cheery and lengthy report from the game against Macclesfield on Saturday.

Follow me on Twitter, @NickDRFCMurphy.


  1. An accurate assessment.

    Let me ask this question....

    Why has nothing actually changed tactic wise for the last almost 2seasons now? Our long ball/hoofball/direct football worked splendidly 3 years ago with players that knew the system but has been most unsuccessfull since promotion to league 1.We sold the players that could work that system and everybody knows exactly what way Daggers try and play.They all defend it well get us on the break.(I was standing right in front of Spillane when he let the N/ton winger go inside by the way)again from a breakaway.

    It aggravates me intensely that you know on Saturday we will do exactly the same and most likely lose again.Harris and Still will tell us how unlucky we were and all about the injuries.I've had enough of them and if I could get £30 for the rest of my season ticket you can have it.We do need new management,Im not sure its the players at fault anymore,afterall they just do whats instructed.There is life after Still and I noticed even LeeWilson getting a bit bit miffed by it all lately.Agogo should stick at Right back by the way,with Baldrick , Spillane and McCrory/Femi completing the back 4.Arber should have gone a year ago and brings nothing to the table and my last rant is.....Why cant Lewy kick the ball straight,I know what he's trying to do but it dosent work 60% of the time.I will only renew my season ticket if they boot out Still i'd say its becoming a joke but actually its been one since we got into league 1.I used to mock those that yearned for the conference days,well,they got what they wanted and I wager gates will be less than 1000 next year maybe lower and maybe another relegation with these clowns in charge.We need 22 points out of the last 30.I love being right about football but have no pleasure predicting this outcome for nearly 2 seasons now.Terry Harris/Thommo actually thinks we are gonna stay up.I can smell strong coffee,why cant they?

    Im gutted,gutted and gutted.


  2. For me the biggest issue is that players were released at the end of last season and during this who where better than what we've been left with.

    Does anyone really believe that a team with Savage, Ifil, Antwi, Scannell, Monty or Walsh in it would be as bad as this one?