Wednesday, 27 June 2012

2011/2012 Top Twelve Performances.

After a long break due to studying and other projects I'm back to give my annual top twelve performances of the year from the 2011/2012 season. Whilst the Daggers enjoyed a largely torrid year, there were some very good displays in the season that deserve to be noted - if you disagree with any of my choices feel free to drop a comment below.

1. Bradford City 0-1 Dagenham & Redbridge, 20th August 2011.
This was one of the games that I missed off of my list from last season, however from the Daggers Player commentary and reviews from people that were present at Valley Parade - I'm assured that it was one of our most complete performances of the season. Jon Nurse prodded home the winner 27 minutes in following a scramble in the box. It should have been more but Gavin Tomlin & Damien Scannell both spurned golden chances when in good positions, it moved the away side up to 5th position in the league.

2. Dagenham & Redbridge 3-0 Barnet, 26th December 2011.
Just over four months after my first pick comes the victory over Barnet on Boxing Day where Brian Woodall & a Cristian Montano double sealed the points in a dominant performance for the home side. A bumper crowd was present as the Daggers won their first game since the 1st of October in a result that lifted us out of the then bottom three on goal difference - Woodall's diving header being the pick of a very good bunch.

3. Dagenham & Redbridge 2-1 Gillingham, 30th December 2011.
John Still's men ended the year in style by picking up another three points on a cold Friday night against Gillingham - a game which saw Billy Bingham score his first senior goal, albeit deflected. There was a superb atmosphere in the ground as 1200 Gills fans packed into the then Marcus James Stand to witness their side take the lead through Danny Kedwell who took advantage of a Chris Lewington error. Bingham's screamer got the home side back into the game before Woodall netted his second in as many games to clinch the victory with just 25 minutes left thanks to a superb curling effort.

4. Southend United 1-1 Dagenham & Redbridge, 2nd January 2012.
765 Daggers supporters made the trip to the seaside in the first fixture of 2012 as the Daggers put in what would probably be their best performance of the year. A high on confidence Brian Woodall partnered Montano up front whilst the experienced Kevin Maher would continue to marshal the midfield. Despite good early pressure from the away side it was the real travellers that took the lead as Michael Timlin powered home an exquisite volley just before the break.

The Daggers continued to dominant long into the second half despite the presence of the bumbling Geohaghan, but try as they might the away side just couldn't breakthrough as a Billy Bingham strike went just over. With just three minutes left to play though, talisman Bingham arced a ball through beautifully for Woodall who advanced forward before powering the ball home into the far corner past Daniels to send the 765 in the away end into absolute delirium - to this day I think that it's the most I've celebrated a goal, mainly due to how much it was deserved. That was also Woodall’s third goal over the Christmas period and one of his best performances to date.

5. Dagenham & Redbridge 3-2 Rotherham United, 28th January 2012.
Whilst this may not have been a vintage performance, it was an excellent result that propelled the home side back out of the relegation places. Danny Harrison who has a knack of scoring against us opened the lead, but that was cancelled out by Jon Nurse on 50 minutes. As the game began to become end to end, Abu Ogogo's shot deflected off of Mark Bradley to give the Daggers the lead for the first time in the match, just a minute later though and Revell netted to make it 2-2.

With 78 minutes gone in the encounter, the game was won as Scott Doe nipped in at the first post to glance a header into the top corner akin to the one he scored at the Don Valley back in September. Not only was this a morale boosting victory comparable in more than one way to the Play Off Final, it was also the start off the trademark Doe front post goal which would be prominent throughout the rest of the campaign.

6. Morecambe 1-2 Dagenham & Redbridge, 28th February 2012.
This is the second game on our list where I wasn't present due to it being a Tuesday night match, once again though it was an excellent performance and a deserved Daggers victory. A total of 66 ardent Daggers made the trip up to the North West to witness Medy Elito launch the away side into a stunning lead inside the first 15 minutes as he curled an effort around Barry Roche. Within another 15 minutes though and the Shrimps were level as Kevin Ellison fired his own curler around stand in 'keeper Jonathan Bond.

The Daggers didn't give up though and with Medy Elito playing in a more central role we always looked like the bigger threat and it showed on 76 minutes as Josh Scott thundered in a magnificent near post header to wrap up the first three points for a whole month. That was also Scott's fifth goal against Morecambe since he joined Dagenham and what an important one it may well have turned out to be.

7. Barnet 2-2 Dagenham & Redbridge, 20th March 2012.
It's well documented that in this fixture the away side rarely comes away with a win, however the Daggers nearly upset that record in a dominant display at Underhill on a frosty Tuesday night. Mickey Spillane opened the scoring on 25 minutes when he looped in a fine header and it should have been doubled two minutes later but somehow John Akinde contrived to hit first the bar and then the post as the scoreline remained 1-1. As is the way in football, Izale McLeod then went up the other end and showed Akinde how to do it by chipping the ball delightfully over Lewington to send hushed tones around the Daggers section of terracing.

Following a sustained period of Daggers pressure throughout the first & second half where Josh Parker was a focal point, it was the away side who netted once again as Scott Doe thundered home a header at the back post this time to send the 351 travelling faithful into raptures. As the Daggers looked to find a deserved third, Ben May picked up the ball and launched a speculative 50 yard lob that found Chris Lewington wandering as it hit the back of the net. No one could quite believe what they had just seen, not least Lewington who wanted the ground to swallow him whole – 2 points dropped rather than one gained in many cases.

8. Dagenham & Redbridge 2-1 Accrington Stanley, 24th March 2012.
This was the result that really underlined our survival bid, which really gave us a fighting chance of retaining our league status - having been giving the newly named TB Stand we were also able to create some worthwhile noise for a change as well. Following a slow opening half an hour it was Accy that opened the scoring on 43 minutes when Bobby Grant fired into the far corner with a shot which gave Lewington no chance.

As echoes of our defeat in Lancashire earlier in the season began to come back to me and our Football League life appeared to be slipping away, Mickey Spillane crossed the ball to the back post where Woodall powered home the header to make the scoreline 1-1 with just five minutes to play - credit should also go to McCrory here who supplied Spillane with the original ball.

As the game ebbed into injury time Nsiala got a very late early bath as Stuart Attwell sent him off for violent conduct. From Medy Elito’s resulting free kick Scott Doe was on hand to head home at the back post - cue wild celebrations that nearly saw me nearly fall down the stand itself. Emotion was running high and not least with Scott Doe who looked overjoyed at netting the winner that saw the Daggers move out of the relegation zone for the umpteenth time. (Video owned by BBC.)

9. Port Vale 0-1 Dagenham & Redbridge, 31st March 2012.
I attended the game at Vale Park and from what I remember I was very disappointed with the team John Still fielded originally as it looked too defensive - this is probably a reason why he's a manager and I'm not. A tight first half saw minimal chances with Medy Elito clipping the post just about 5 minutes before the break, as we advanced into the second 45 someone would appear to turn up the heat in deepest darkest Burlsem.

With 65 minutes played Damien McCrory’s free kick found Mickey Spillane who was on hand to head the ball home between the hands of Tomlinson and give the Daggers an unexpected lead (from my point of view at least.) Just as it looked like we had the game sewn up, substitute Charlie Wassmer gave away a penalty which certainly increased the tension. As Marc Richards stepped up to take the penalty, we all prayed to the gods....and it seemed like they heeded us as Chris Lewington dived the right way to keep out the spot kick to ensure a vital Daggers victory.

This would have to go down in my top three matches of the season personally; an overall great day and a result that I feel personified the survival push. Not just that but the above picture is one of my all time favourites connected to Dagenham & Redbridge.

10. Gillingham 1-2 Dagenham & Redbridge, 9th April 2012.
A windy and wet football match on an open terrace is the way we all like to spend our Easter isn't it? Well 313 Daggers agree with me (and a few more who were stranded on trains) as we witnessed another fantastic performance that allowed the Daggers to get fear of vertigo we climbed so high in the table!

It was another match the Daggers dominated and took the lead in as Woodall scrambled home the opener before Rowan Vine curled in an equaliser not long into the second half. With 20 minutes to go and John Still not heeding my warning of leaving Dom Green on the bench, said player went on a mazy run before finishing it off with a spectacular shot that crept under Gazzaniga - another reason why I'm not a manager then. Back to back away victories combined with other results meant the Daggers were virtually safe from relegation.

11. Dagenham & Redbridge 1-1 Crawley Town, 21st April 2012.
The Daggers finally made sure they were mathematically safe thanks to a convincing draw with promotion chasing Crawley Town – unfortunately though no fat boy Evans. A slow first half saw Charlie Wassmer do the twist by netting the opening goal, coming back to haunt the home side following his loan spell at Victoria Road a month previous. Just before the close of the first half Bingham rifled in a spectacular equaliser from outside of the box that was later voted the goal of the season.

The second half never really got going in truth and the best chance fell to John Akinde, who as you can guess made a complete hash of it, slamming it over the bar from close range. The TB Stand remained full for long after the final whistle as the home side assured themselves of league football once again next season - a fine effort from all involved in our "mini 10 game season" from which we hadn’t lost a single so far.

12. Dagenham & Redbridge 4-0 Bristol Rovers, 5th May 2012.
For once the Daggers went into the final game of the season not needing a result meaning that everyone was calm and there was no pressure on the players. Rovers started the better when Harrold struck the bar, but from then on in it was all Dagenham, specifically Brian Woodall who opened the scoring with a well executed volley where he had to adjust his body to connect with it correctly.

 Into the second half and Woodall doubled his tally by firing between debutant Gough's legs impressively; not long after and DJ Green got in on the act, some neat footwork in the box being rounded off with a composed finished to make it 3-0. The day and in fact the match ball though belonged to Woodall who finished the game off by firing a low drive into the far corner of the net to cement his Daggers Scale award as the most improved player of the season. (Video property of the BBC.)

That concludes my review of my top twelve games of the season and I hope as usual you’ve enjoyed reading. I may return with another couple of Blogs before the pre season starts, but until then, have a good Summer internet folk!

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