Saturday, 30 April 2011

Daggers 3-0 Carlisle: The Final Showdown

Steve Thompson deserves
the credit.
Dagenham & Redbridge signed off their home campaign this season with a convincing 3-0 home victory against mid-table Carlisle United. Two Jon Nurse goals and a Danny Green strike late on made sure the fight goes down to the last day, although Daggers will have to down without the talismanic Green against Peterborough after he was shown red late on.

Walking down Victoria Road I was understandably nervous, after all a defeat at home and a Walsall win would be enough to send us down. Seeing "pulse", the Daggers dancers with buckets asking for donations at the gate made us laugh a fair bit, they must have been trying to get enough cash to afford a choreographer. The usual fix of golden goal, 50/50 and a programme were bought so I headed through the turnstiles for the last time this season to watch the might Daggers destroy the Cumbrians, or so I hoped. Getting my burger and coke I went to the stand to just hear the teams over the tannoy, our only change was Solomon Taiwo coming in for Billy Bingham in the middle. As all four sides of the ground filled up the atmosphere was very good, with Carlisle bringing a very impressive 350 in my opinion, it was all set for a tense, exciting and potentially nerve racking game. The teams came out onto the pitch, the sunlight glaring down on us all, every single one of our fans hoping for a repeat of the scoreline at Brunton Park in December.

Arbs & Paul Thirwell done the coin toss, which Thirwell won and decided to switch ends, this meant Dagenham would be attacking Bury Road in the first half and Carlisle attacking the Marcus James Stand. The game kicked off and almost instantly there was action. Just four or so minutes in, John Akinde done well to win the ball back down the left, he cut into the box where Lubo Michalik tried to tackle across and win the ball, but only succeeded in bringing down the Bristol City loanee inside the penalty area. The referee blew his whistle and pointed to the spot. This is the point where I owe everyone an apology, because I have previously said that Danny Green has not missed a penalty this season. True to form. Green stepped up and hit the penalty towards the bottom left corner, Adam Collin got a superb hand to it to, but he didn't push it wide of the post. It fell out onto the 6 yard box, where Nurse was running to, he got there ahead of the Carlisle defence and calmly hit the ball home into the bottom right hand corner to give the Daggers a one goal lead. Sigh's of relief rang round Victoria Road along with the decibel counter going crazy, three sides erupted as Jon Nurse ran to the sieve to celebrate the goal.

Everyone composed themselves again and Carlisle kicked off after suffering that very early blow. Nothing much happened for the next 10 minutes, very much a midfield battle, Zoko was released down the left, but a good challenge by Ogogo was Dagenham get a free kick after the Frenchman tried to get the ball back. Danny Green was then given another chance to showcase his set piece ability, he floated a brilliant corner in which met Vincelot's square on the head, he glanced it just yards wide of the far post. Colin's goal kick went up the other end where a Daggers defender cleared it for Carlisle's first corner of the game. James Berrett hit one towards the back post where JPT goalscorer Peter Murphy was on hand to put a bullet header far into the MJ Stand for a Daggers goal kick. Danny Green then got another corner on the left hand side, he whipped it in and it nearly found its way over Collin and into the net, just hitting the top of the net so Carlisle got the goal kick. The Daggers then had another decent appeal for a penalty, John Akinde's shot inside the box, it struck an arm, but it would have been almighty harsh if given. Just on the twenty minute mark and Vincelot got his head to the ball from a Danny Green long throw and it bounced identically to the one he had previously, going just wide of the mark.

Simek shot just wide

A Carlisle United corner was cleared well, where it fell to a Cumbrian player about 40 yards from goal, Danny Green done exceptionally well to tackle him and get the ball. He played it forward to Frenchman Vincelot, with two strides he played it towards Jon Nurse who was in acres down the right hand side. He got to the edge of the box and took slightly too long to choose what to do, it ended up getting stuck under his feet before he played a neat little ball to Akinde near the penalty spot. Akinde, like Nurse got it stuck under his feet, looking to swivel and shoot on the spot, his path was blocked so turned once more and hammered a shot goalwards; it cleared Collin's post and cannoned back off the brick wall behind the goal. A great opportunity that really could and should have heralded more. Carlisle were then give there first real chance of the game, the ball fell to Simek who was about 30 yards out near the corner of the Daggers box, his fierce shot whistled just wide of Roberts' right hand post. A warning to the Daggers of what Carlisle are capable of.

Collin saved Carlisle from a hiding, but couldn't prevent
Nurse's second of the afternoon.

Dagenham & Redbridge then doubled the lead. Michaliks ball back hits Akinde who runs at the defence down the right, his shot was parried well by Collin, but Nurse was once again their to score a simple tap in to make it 2-0. Carlisle's defence was too slow off the mark much to Collin's disgust, but Nurse wheeled off once more to the sieve as we all celebrated another priceless goal. Just after Carlisle kicked off, they managed to get another corner. Berrett whipped it in once more, Robbo had to come through a tough crowd of players to catch the ball, head and shoulders above the rest. News then filtered through of Walsall taking the lead against Charlton which dampened spirits slightly. Jon Nurse then smashed a ball towards goal which was pushed wide by Collin who was more than earning his wage this afternoon. A lovely little move down the left for the Daggers with Akinde & Gain inter changing lead to Gain firing a pin point cross into the box, which the keeper couldn't come for. Nurse could only stretch out a foot and prod it tamely to Collin who was grateful it was straight at him I should think. Another great piece of play, Jon Nurse outstanding in the first period. To any Carlisle fan reading this and thinking I'm being unfair, I have to say, it really was this one sided and there was one more piece to come in the first half. Femi was fouled about 10 yards out the box, Danny Green lined up the free kick and smashed it at Collin who once again parried it down. John Akinde got there ahead of the Cumbrian defence and looked a certainty to score but fluffed his lines and hit it high over the bar and into Bury Road.

That was half time and a sensational first half performance looked like it may have wrapped the game up, but as I was quick to point out at the time, we've been in positions like this before and thrown it away, no room for being complacent just yet. Carlisles fans were understandably not happy and voiced that at their team as they went in for the break. I did of course, not win the 50/50 draw and as the half times were read out it was fairly muted, the good news that Plymouth had won, the bad news being that Walsall were winning and Bristol Rovers were drawing. It was tense and as Pulse performed for the final time this season, one performer stood out from the rest for me. Digger the Dog, how he isn't spotted by a talent agency is simply beyond me.

Antwi made a vital block to deny Zoko
The teams emerged for the second half and I noticed something as Robbo took his place in front of the Bury Road terrace. He was wearing odd boots. One was green and red, the other was black with the Nike tick, make your own assumptions with that one. Carlisle kicked off and gave the ball away straight away. John Akinde I think it was, crossed from the left, Jon Nurse was on hand at the back post, he headed the ball into the floor and just as it looked as though it was in the back of the net, Collin got back to pull off a great save to tip it over the bar. It earned praise from all sides of the ground, this keeper was saving Carlisle from a hiding, excuse that amazing pun. Carlisle then had their first shot of the second period. Zoko was given space on the edge of the box, his rasping shot smashed off Antwi's thigh and out of play, a great block from the big central defender who looked slightly suspect in the first half. Jon Nurse then picked up a booking after a Carlisle free kick on the half way line was blocked by the Barbadian international who wasn't 10 yards away. Tom Taiwo was then taken off for Paddy Madden for Carlisle.

Femi was excellent this afternoon.
Just over 10 minutes after that, Femi who was having a superb game, tackled Zoko excellently down the left and went on a surging run forward. He got to the edge of Cumbrian box before not knowing what to do. Everyone urged him to shoot on his favoured left foot, but he tried to cut inside, he lost the ball but almost won it back, Akinde & Nurse were both on hand to help out but they cleared the danger once again. Danny Green then found his way into the referee's book. As Carlisle looked like breaking away Green tripped Matty Robson after he played the pass. To their dismay the referee blew for the free kick even though Zoko was clean through down the right. Danny Green received a yellow card for his troubles. Then came probably the funniest moment of the game you can't deny we've all wanted to see it. As Dagenham went on the attack, a Carlisle player put his boot through the ball, it ended up in the little hut at the top of the sieve where the camera men are. It made everyone laugh and I'm pretty sure the camera man bricked it.

Madden threatened
Paddy Madden had a first time strike on the edge of the area, but his poor effort goes wide of the post without troubling Roberts. Carlisle then made another substitution, this time Lubo Michalik came off for Danny Livesley. They then threatened once more. Madden who looked like their biggest threat after being introduced, hammered a good shot towards Roberts' far side, the palmed it clear, unlike the Daggers goals, there was no player in a block of blue shirt there to pick up the re bound and slot home, so Green cleared it upfield. Just minutes later after that, Akinde laid the ball off to Nurse on the edge of the area, he hit a curling shot, that was well saved once more by Collin, not even going out for a corner. Greg Abbott then made his final change of the afternoon on 80 minutes, Craig Curran being replaced by Rory Loy. Then Carlisle looked like they would finally get their goal. Mark Arber was dispossessed towards the middle and a Carlisle player sprinted down the left, he put a beauty of a ball in with the unmarked Rory Loy waiting to tap it in. Then, from nowhere big Will Antwi came back and made a priceless interception to deny Long and Carlisle, possibly the challenge of the day. Just another minute later it looked as though Madden was in, however Roberts came out big and strong and collected the ball, sending Madden tumbling as well.

From hero to
villain in seconds
Danny Green then had a good shot from the right saved from Collin, the ball was then cleared. Just a couple of minutes later however Green did find away past the stopper, Akinde prodded the ball to Green who cut inside and hammered the ball past Collin who stood no chance for the visitors. Game, set, match, we were taking our fight to London Road on the last day. John Still then made a sub, John Akinde coming off to rapturous applause, being replaced by Basir Mohammed Savage, Bas Savage to you and I of course. Then came the moment of madness from Danny Green. Lunging in on Matty Robson to earn him his second yellow and a sending off. More importantly, it rules him out of next weeks crunch game against Peterborough, a stupid sending off after his brilliant strike, the only sour note to a great day. Zoko got himself booked in injury time after a bad tackle on Bas Savage.

Final score: Dagenham & Redbridge 3-0 Carlisle United

A simply superb performance all round from the Daggers, especially in the first half, Carlisle were quite poor, although a pick up in the second half saw them pile on a bit of pressure at times. Take nothing away from every Dagger today, they worked their socks off and I'm not even doing player ratings as they were all maginifcent. Stand out performers for me today?  Jon Nurse, Peter Gain, Romain Vincelot & Femi. They were all magnificent, I think special praise deserves to go to Femi, I'm not a fan of him, but he put in a performance again today, considering he's on £175 a week, he's doing a great job and he didn't give Zoko
any time today. Simply superb. A great way to sign off at Victoria Road for the season, and I look forward to seeing the ground again in pre season.

A Vital Game

I'll speak to you next during the week for a Romain Vincelot special blog, until then, I hope you've enjoyed reading this and let's hope we can do it next weekend !

Peterborough United details: Coach Tickets on sale from the Ticket Office at Discounted Prices.
Priced at £10 for Adults & at £5 for everyone else. (Must be purchased by 5th May.)

Moy's End Terrace Prices:
Adults £20, Senior (Over 60) £15, Student (NUS) £15, Junior (U16) £12

A Block Main Stand Prices:
Adults £25, Senior (Over 60) £15, Student (NUS) £15, Junior (U16) £12.

All Under 10's must be accompanied with an adult over the age of 18.
The Tickets are available to purchase at London Road on the day

Can you call it ?

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Huddersfield 2-1 Daggers: Hanging On

Dagenham & Redbridge succumbed to yet another defeat, this time to promotion chasing Huddersfield Town by two goals to one, but this game wasn't a walkover by any means.

The day started with an 8:30 start from Victoria Road, where two coaches awaited to take around 100 Daggers to Yorkshire and back. Everyone got on board and by 8:35 we were on our way up North, the DVD is usually a key point of a long coach road, and as per usual Swallow performed greatly again in these stakes, with the TV on board not working. Top marks there then. The first couple of hours passed quite quickly with a little bit of music and such, until we reached Leicester I think it was, where we had a service break and everyone had the chance to stock up and get some food. A 50 minute stop meant there was time for some McDonald's, or a big breakfast if you fancied it, to be honest that went rather quickly and by 11:25 we were all back on board once more and set off again for Yorkshire. No major things to report on the rest of the journey in all honesty, just a normal coach journey with Dagenham, what more can you say ?

We arrived at the Galpharm for about 13:25 I'd make it, where everyone went there own ways. The local pub called "The Gaswork" or something like that, I'm probably miles off, was the pub of choice, whilst some people chose to saunter into the ground or around it. We ended up going to the pub where we then found a mile long queue and that you had to pay admission to get in, so we spun around and set back off in the direction we started, walking back to the ground. Walking over the bridge and threw the Hudds car park the northern accent was becoming ever clearer and when we got to just outside the ground we were greeted with the locals, who you cannot understand. Getting into the ground we bought a programme which was of a good standard, looked like a book and at £3 is in line with most others in the division. However the most disappointing aspect of the day was the fact that the Huddersfield burger bar, did not in fact sell burgers or hot dogs, just pies and crisps, typical northern food eh ? With kick off getting ever near we picked our seats just behind the drum at the back, we were told that we would have to sit, but the stewards were pretty lenient and luckily that rule didn't apply. All four sides of the ground were now filling up to the magnificent arena which had a Bolton like feel to it. Just afterwards the team was read out and it showed two main changes from the Plymouth defeat, Will Antwi was in for Scott Doe who injured himself on Friday and in an unforced change, Billy Bingham replaced Darren Currie.

Rhodes for Hudds
 The teams came out to a good atmosphere, all of which came from the Pink Link Stand, one part was for the Daggers, the other Terriers, this group of home supporters were the noisy not so nice ones if you want to put it like that. The teams lined up and all the usual stuff was done, pictures, coin toss etc, it ended up with Huddersfield attacking the Pink Line End and Dag & Red attacking the opposite end. The opening minutes were spent in the middle of the park, Dagenham getting the first shot away, a neat piece of play ended up with Green chesting it down on the left and volleying a strike that went just over the bar. Unfortunately though it was the team from Yorkshire that opened the scoring. A long ball lumped forward from their captain Peter Clarke was being shepherded out of play by Antwi until he let his guard down. Dagenham lad Benik Afobe snuck behind the big centre back to nick the ball and play it to Jordan Rhodes who was standing on the 6 yard box, waiting graciously to smash it into the back of the net, placed well in between the post and two Daggers defenders on the line. Just after the kick off Afobe cut inside down the right and his low left footed shot was comfortably saved by Tony Roberts in the goal. One of the main problems in the first half was the kicking of Roberts. Not going to anyone or going out of play, it was pretty poor one of the worst we've seen this season. Just after that there was a lengthy stop for an injury to a Town player, Jon Nurse caught him with his boots after the Hudds player went into head the ball.

Romain Drew Us Level.
 Just afterwards came the Daggers first goal of the game. A neat piece of build up in the midfield led to a lovely one two around a Huddersfield player just outside the box. Romain Vincelot laid the ball off to John Akinde, whilst Vincelot continued his run, Akinde placed the perfect ball back to the midfielder who smashed him post Bennett in the goal who could only get finger tips to it, to make it look even better. The 125 away fans were sent into raptures, some of whom couldn't believe we'd equalised I don't think, but we had, and we were now looking to push on from it. However just four minutes later, the lead was restored. Gary Naysmith swung a cross in, which was initially cleared by the defence, but when Gary Roberts tried again from slightly further back, his point perfect cross found the head of Jordan Rhodes who had eluded Mark Arber to head home just underneath Robbo. The Daggers were again silenced as Huddersfield erupted, it was now looking like an uphill task once more. During the injury time of the first half, Danny Green thought he should have had a penalty, he appeared to be tripped by Gary Naysmith inside the box, but referee Eddie Ilderton waved it away as Huddersfield looked to mount a break away. Jordan Rhodes clipped a fine long ball over the top of Arber that found Afobe, who couldn't hit it sweetly and it fell into the arms of Roberts.

As the half time whistle blew, the Daggers could feel rather confident of still getting something from the game, Huddersfield hadn't really torn us apart and at the same time we showed glimpses of what we were capable of going forward. The half time at Huddersfield isn't really top notch. With no scores being read out and a couple of parades going round the pitch there was nothing of note, not even the cheerleaders came our away. Hearing that most scores were going against us did not help to lighten the mood, although with Bristol Rovers going down to ten men it gave us a spark that Bournemouth may get back into it at Dean Court. The only major entertainment was when the Huddersfield fans started chanting to Robbo about KFC, good banter that had everyone smiling, even Robbo himself I'd bet.

Bennett was in fine form

The teams emerged once more for the second half, both looking to score, one to consolidate the lead, the other to get that equaliser that would see a precious point. The half opened with Huddersfield making the first attack, Scott Arfield's effort was saved well by Roberts in goal. Just afterwards Huddersfield showed more intent and only a smart interception from Femi made sure the danger was cleared once more, Mark Arber then denied Afobe a header on goal after a good clearance. Then the Daggers started to take over and begun to dominate the game, Firstly a good ball over the top was just a little to far ahead of Vincelot who couldn't prevent it going from a goal kick in front of the Pink Link. Up the other end a good ball in found Jack Hunt who's shot was well blocked by Peter Gain who was having his best game in quite a while. Then came our first golden chance, a great ball whipped in from the left found John Akinde, unmarked with just Bennett in the goal to beat, the ball glanced off his head and past the post, an opportunity that he really should have done better with. This of course was a head in hands moment for all of us. Peter Gain then had a shot that was saved by Bennett as it became all Dagenham.

Akinde should have made it 2-2

With about 20 minutes to go, John Still made a change, Danny J Green who looked impressive against Plymouth on Friday afternoon came on to replace Billy Bingham who had a fairly decent game as we switched to a 4-4-2 formation in hope of that precious equaliser. Shortly after it nearly and perhaps should have came. A ball in the air was superbly nodded on by DJ Green that released front man Akinde. After taking a touch his prod at goal found it's way rolling slowly until it hit the outside of the post, cue the "ahhs" and cried from Daggers fans. But it wasn't over yet, a scramble between Akinde & Bennett ended up with Akinde taking another shot at a tight angle, about 5 yards from goal that was surely going to make the game 2-2, but no! Bennett made another save to push the ball out for the corner, the away fans had heads in their hands, after these two brilliant chances, everyone realised that perhaps it wasn't to be our day. A penalty box scramble from a corner almost found the ball go into the net, but alas it didn't and was once again cleared. The last two changes for the Daggers were made, Bas Savage replacing Jon Nurse and Darren Currie coming on for Femi who had shown his £175 a week wage in this game, another poor performance from him. Savage then looked like he could create something, after being given the ball he had space to run into, but after about 6 or 7 strides he was ushered off the ball as Huddersfield looked to counter down the right.

Peter Gain was brilliant yesterday
 Straight after the sub, the goal nearly came. Peter Gain who averages a goal once every 7 years or so nearly found a way to get the equaliser. On the outside of the box, his ferocious left footed strike went just wide of Bennett's post, needless to say everyone thought it was in, so when it went wide, a tremendous amount of groaning occurred. Once more everyone thought we'd found a way through. A cross come shot from Danny Green, the one on the right was going into the top corner until a superb tip over from Bennett denied him and forced the corner as the game pushed on into injury time. Other results were coming through as well, frowns turned to slight smiles as we learnt Rovers had throw away their lead and were losing 2-1, Walsall were now drawing as well, it wasn't as bad as it all seemed. The four minutes of injury time went up, it was all Dagenham now, corner after corner, cross after cross, but no way through the stern Huddersfield defence. The last chance fell to Danny J Green, a good knock down from Arber inside the Terriers area allowed Danny J to fire it with power goalwards, but he scuffed his shot and it went out tamely for a goal kick. That proved to be the last action of the game, as the Daggers looked to mount another attack from the centre circle, referee Eddie Ilderton blew up for full time.

After that second half performance you have to be proud of us, after all we pushed the team that are one of the favourites for promotion and on a 23 game unbeaten run all the way and if not for a couple of squandered chances it could have been a different scoreline. They all looked like "Daggers" out there today, fighting for the cause, not giving up on anything, Peter Gain especially looked up for it, raring to go, along with Vincelot who's superb strike took his tally to 12 I think it is now this season.

Coming out of the ground however, a bit of trouble ensued. With several Daggers supporters being surrounded by loutish Huddersfield ones and even a rock being thrown in the direction of our supporters, that clipped someone on the head. It somewhat marred a good game, even more frustrating when the stewards refused to do anything about it. None the less, we all got back on the coaches and set off back for the long trip back to Essex with nothing to show for our travels once more, bar a good performance. It passed quite quickly, a half hour stop off at Peterborough services for a bite to eat and drink broke up the journey well, where we encountered some other fans, Gillingham, Leeds & an Exeter supporter. All aboard the coach again for the final leg and we arrived back at Victoria Road at about 9:50 I think, I can't quite remember off hand.

Crunch Game
A good game and it's really same old for the Daggers, if we were to finish our golden chances and we wouldn't be in this position. We now go on to a crucial home match against Carlisle on Saturday where nothing less than a win will do, should Walsall win and we lose I think that it may see us relegated, so it isn't even in our hands anymore. However I'm quietly confident that we can pull off an escape, but with 4 teams all pushing for one survival spot, it's anyones guess who it will ultimately go to.
Next Match: Dagenham & Redbridge vs Carlisle United, 30th April 2011, 15:00 Kick Off.
Final Match: Peterborough United vs Dagenham & Redbridge, 7th May 2011, 15:00 Kick Off.

As it stands
Click Here For John Still Interview With BBC Essex

Friday, 22 April 2011

Daggers 0-1 Plymouth: Not So Good Friday

Dagenham & Redbridge lost out by a single goal to Peter Reid's Plymouth who still hold hope of completing the greatest of great escapes. A quick mention at the start must go to Plymouth's fantastic away following, despite the misfortune they've had this season, just over 800 of them turned up today and they have been fantastic all season considering the situation their club has been in. At this point I have to say i don't blame any Daggers for not reading on, because I definitely won't be.

Currie Started
 Starting off on the walk up to Victoria Road, I was feeling optimistic as per usual, considering Plymouths position that is a false one in truth, when you see a team below you, you expect a fairly decent performance, no disrespect intended to the pilgrims. Getting into the ground, the programmes outside were sold out and there were no golden goals left so i had to just settle for a 50/50. I then made my way to the ticket office, to purchase a couple of tickets for Huddersfield away on Easter Monday, at £8 a ticket, quite a good deal, although after today I'm not sure I want to go. However I got the tickets and made my way back and through the turnstiles where I picked up a burger and a coke and set away on demolishing that in record time. When the team was announced, I have to admit I was slightly surprised that Darren Currie had been chosen over Oliver Lee who looked a really good player in the couple of games I've seen him play. Currie works as more of an impact player for me, but John Still sees what goes on day in day out so maybe it was the right decision.

Credit to Argyles fans
 The teams came out of the tunnel and done the usual as you all know. What was great was seeing the sieve, it was packed to the rafters for this one and everyone looked up for it, full voice and all, you couldn't ask for more from our supporters. The referee blew his whistle to start and the usual lump down the left occurred and if my memory serves me correctly it went out for the obligatory throw in. No real attempts in side the first five minutes, just a lot of lumping it in the air and hoping which set the tone for the rest of the game in all honesty. The first shot on goal was from an unlikely source, the ball was headed out of the Argyle penalty area and it fell to Arber who's volley ended up going out for a throw in down the left to Plymouth. The pilgrims first opportunity of note was when a throw in was flapped at by Roberts and the header hit a Dagenham players head before getting cleared. A real warning to the long throw threat from Plymouth, much like we have. Peter Gain then had a half chance when a Danny Green free kick was headed away, instead of taking it straight on his right foot, he dribbled to the left to get it on his right before he hit a shot that was slightly too late before it hits a few bodies in the box which meant a few meek penalty claims from the Daggers fans.

Akinde Missed A Golden Chance

The game seemed as though it might just be coming to life at this point especially when Rory Pattersons shot when just wide of Roberts' post. Just over 20 minutes in came one of Plymouth's best chances of the half, the dangerous Bolasie went down the right, nutmegged Darren Currie before running into the box and pulling the ball back for one of three Plymouth players to strike. All of them missed it and it fell to a pilgrim on the edge of the box who's shot found it's way high, wide and not very handsome. Having not heeded that warning Plymouth had an even better chance to take the lead. A clever flick on let Bolasie through again, this time against Roberts and his scuffed shot was excellently saved by the Welshman who tipped it over for a corner. It was about another ten minutes before some more goal mouth action, with a Zubar header going high over Roberts' bar after some fairly poor marking. Just before the half time whistle some great play between Akinde & Nurse, saw Akinde go through, one on one with David Button, his shot was poor and fired straight at journeyman Button who saved with relative ease. Then came the half time whistle.

As the teams went in for half time the 50/50 was announced and as per usual, I wasn't a winner, but as long as we got a result I wouldn't care. The half times were then read out, none of which really concerned us, although Tranmere drawing maybe counts as one? After that I was left with the programme, after having a quick foray through, the Ted Hardy piece was brilliant in my opinion, a great man and a great interview. The other thing was the predictions in there with Lee Wilson, I wonder how many he got right. Then a quick nip down to hand a Huddersfield ticket over to Mr O'Sullivan and a walk to get a coke signalled the start of the second half, well that went quick!

Patterson for Plymouth
 Just a few minutes into the second half and Mark Arber gave a silly foul away for tugging his man back, around 7 yards out from the 18 yard box. As Patterson lined up the free kick the wall got in the place, the referee blew and Patterson struck it. The net rippled as Tony Roberts didn't get a strong enough hand to it and it scrambled cruelly into the back of the net. Three sides of Victoria Road were stunned into silence as the other erupted into rapturous applause and singing.

Just minutes later after we had kicked off once again Bolasie fired another shot only a couple of feet wide of Roberts post down the right after Femi didn't keep hold of him yet again. Then came a rare site, with the ball headed out of the Plymouth box, Femi was waiting on the edge to hit it, his strike nearly knocked out someone in Bury Road, show's why he's a defender. Then a brilliant bit of play from Dagenham, Green down the right played a wonderful ball through to Akinde who was rather slow off the mark and prodded his effort at Button who saved it. The ball came back out to green just inside the box who hammered it towards goal, the Spurs loanee made a desperate dive and blocked the ball amazingly to deny Green a certain goal. Another minute later Akinde's shot was well blocked before Ogogo had an effort that went just wide from outside of the box.

The pilgrims then made a change with half an hour or so to go, Simon Walton came off and was replaced by Luke Summerfield. Plymouth then staged a superb counter attack, Arnasons ball to Patterson on the edge, it looked like Doe was about to get to his man before pulling up with an injury, the shot was well saved by Robbo. This signalled a couple of minutes of treatment for Doe before coming off and I fear that his season may be over which is such a shame as he would have played a key part in the run in. He was replaced by Will Antwi, he will more than likely partner Mark Arber in the centre of defence for the remainder of the season. The corner comes to nothing for Argyle and the ball is cleared safely away. The Daggers then gained a corner and it was cleared, but Plymouth took that chance to break away at speed, a great run down the left was stopped when Ogogo got back superbly to tackle the winger and the ball found its way back to Roberts in the goal.

Danny J Green was a bright spark
in a poor game

John Still then made his first tactical change of the afternoon. John Akinde who looked slightly sluggish by no fault of his own was replaced by Danny J Green who came on to make his debut and I must say after seeing him in the Essex Senior Cup and a couple of friendlies he looks like a good player. His first touch won the Daggers a corner which he put in himself but it comes to no avail. Then we had two very good penalty appeals rather unsurprisingly turned down. The first of which was when Green was bundled to the ground, which wasn't given then just seconds later Nurse went to the floor and it also wasn't given. The frustration was growing now and with 10 minutes left it was becoming last chance saloon. Then as the home side were clearing, the ball was passed out to the debutant Green who's sublime little flick released Arber to put a cross in, the ball was low and just on the 6 yard box. Nurse missed it but was hauled to the floor, Victoria Road erupted into sound with penalty claims, the linesman put his flag up; for offside. No one could believe it, but the decision stood, should it not have been offside it may have been a different story. John Still then went all out, Femi was replaced by Bas Savage in the Daggers final change, as we reverted to a 3-5-2 formation.

Yannick Bolasie sprinted to latch on to a long ball over the top as almost all Daggers players were forward, he went into Roberts & Antwi in a three way pile up before the ball scrambled clear. Bolasie's effort that hit the bar was in vain anyways as Linington blew for the foul seconds before hand, Bollasie even got booked for his troubles. Back up the other end we went, Green's long throw fell to Vincelot who's effort was blocked, another cross in led to a corner. Green took the corner and the bounce down once again fell to Vincelot who's acrobatic effort was superbly blocked by a Plymouth player. Just minutes later, Patterson got himself sent off after leading with an elbow against Danny J Green after being previously booked in the first half. That was the last piece of action in truth, a late penalty appeal was once again turned down and as the ball went back to Roberts the referee blew the final whistle
Dagenham & Redbridge 0-1 Plymouth Argyle

Huddersfield On Easter Monday

Hearing some Dagenham & Redbridge fans booing at the final whistle really riled me, after what our team has done this season how they have the cheek to boo them is beyond me. Granted it was dire today, all up in the air no one really being composed and taking a strangle hold in the game, they gave it their all as they do every week, it was just the same story as before, enough chances but didn't take one of them. All I can really say is, it was a horrible game to watch and we have a mountain to climb if we want to stay up now. We have three tough games coming up starting with perhaps the most difficult of the lot on Easter Monday, away to Huddersfield Town, I'll be there and I urge anyone who can to be there. One thing that has been fantastic this season has been the support and we need that more than ever now. I could sit here and single out individuals this afternoon, but I won't, there will be enough of that on the forum tonight which I will more than likely be doing as well. The bright spark for me was Danny J Green, he looked energetic and full of enthusiasm, quite skillful and had a decent touch, he'll be a great player for us in the future, I'm sure of it.

I'm not going to do ratings tonight, as I feel they are rather pointless, they didn't perform well as a unit and they should all take part of the flack. My man of the match however would be Ogogo, made some great challenges and looked up to the battle.

As It Stands

Next Up: Huddersfield Town vs Dagenham & Redbridge. Easter Monday, 15:00 Kick Off

Last words, keep fighting and try to believe we can still do it.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Daggers 0-2 Peterborough: 4 Minutes To Kill The Game

Dagenham & Redbridge returned to Victoria Road earlier tonight to face Peterborough United who had former Dagger Craig Mackail Smith in their ranks.

Mr 500 !

Walking down a strangely empty Victoria Road, I thought that maybe we could snatch something from this one, although Peterborough have the best attackers in the league in my opinion, they have an unbelievably shaky defence and goalkeeper Joe Lewis hasn't been on form recently either. Getting into Victoria Road, who was there ? You guessed it. Winkballers. After ushering them aside for the umpteenth time this season I preceded into the ground with the usual routine, you should know it all by now. After getting a cuppa instead of my usual coke, I made my way to my place to hear the teams over the tannoy, the big news and expected was that John Akinde replaced Bas Savage up front after a good debut in the defeat at Exeter at the weekend. This was a night of returns and awards, the first of course being Welsh stalwart Tony Roberts making his 500th appearance for the club, what an achievement for the man, a true Daggers legend who started against Leigh RMI, a real character and we'll see him on our hallowed turf for many years to come I should think. Then there was Jon Nurse making his 150th appearance, Mark Arber & Peter Gain playing against their former clubs, but the biggest of these was Craig Mackail Smith who returned to the club that "made him" so to speak. Robbo picked up a tankard as the teams were preparing at the start and the game got underway.

Ball was on the Ball
 The Daggers were the first off the mark, with a lively and energetic first few minutes, West Ham loanee Oliver Lee putting a half volley just wide of the far post. Then just as it seemed the Daggers were getting a hold of the game, Peterborough broke, Craig Mackail Smith playing a pass outside the box to David Ball who is on loan from Manchester City, he took a couple of paces into the penalty area before firing well past a beaten Tony Roberts in the Daggers goal. Peterborough's first attack on the break and they had scored. Just as John Still's men tried to get back on their feet, the lead was doubled on just 8 minutes, a move down the left looked like it was going to be cleared until bouncing back off of Scott Doe's heel and into the path of David Ball who was in the right place at the right time. He put it into the left corner of the net after getting to the ball before the two Daggers players. Inside 10 minutes and the Daggers were already staring down the barrel at a defeat. Dagenham fashioned another chance just afterwards, the ball falling to Akinde who was making his home debut, his turn and shot went wide of the post, should it have been on target it would have been an easy save. Posh then got a free kick just outside the box after a foul was given, McCann's week effort was easily saved by Robbo.

Lee was looking good for the Daggers
 Once again the Daggers went down the left hand side of the pitch, Akinde doing some good hold up play, turned his man easily before laying the ball off to Lee, the ball was bobbling which may have justified his shot that went harmlessly over the bar. Oliver Lee was looking a good acquisition at this stage, doing some neat passing and being Dag & Reds main goal threat, another smart dip into the loan marker by JS. George Boyd then made his way dangerously down the right, controlling the ball well before looping it into the area, no player was able to get there, Arber headed it clear before Lee made sure the danger was averted. Then a moment of danger, Ball broke again down the right this time before cutting in, his curling shot just bounced wide of Robbo's far post before hitting the advertising boarding. A good spell of football then from the home side, after keeping hold of the ball for well over a minute in the far pocket of the pitch, Green exchanged passes with Akinde before hammering a shot over the bar, Nurse in the middle was furious that Green didn't cross the ball considering the time and space he had. Mackail Smith then broke free up the other end, his pace seeing him run through before Arbs got a block in on his shot. Then probably the closest we came to a goal. Another decent move down the right resulted in Akinde turning, running a few steps before blasting in a shot, it deflected off of a Peterborough player and went just wide of the far post, Joe Lewis was stranded in the goal as it went out for a corner. Just before the half time whistle the ball fell to Vincelot who was being given a torrid time by the Posh players who nodded it down to Gain. Peter Gain, famed for consistent goalscoring of course dually volley tamely wide of the target, that was the last action of a poor first half.

Into half times when the scored were read out, hearing Spurs 1-0 down to Real Madrid naturally made me laugh, especially considering a number of Daggers fans probably stayed in to watch that rather than come out, which begs the question are they Daggers fans ? Then came probably the best action of the game. Someone complaining that a Peterborough fan was in the Carling Stand, was he; yes. Was he causing any trouble seeing as he was with his wife; no. A small incident blown out of proportion because of someone complaining to the steward, simply ludicrous, get a life ! The usual thinking I might win the 50/50 was dashed as I didn't win it. So i read the programme, especially enjoying the piece on Robbo, what a read !

Green in the thick
of it

The second half began with a Peterborough free kick, McCann whipped it in from the left and Arber got a firm head on it to clear it away. Dagenham were then given a golden opportunity, a good flowing move down the left hand side ended up with the ball being played into McCrory who was about to pull the trigger, but he stepped on the ball. A golden chance wasted, should it have been Danny Green, an almost certain goal I should think, but alas another chance wasted. The Daggers then had a handball appeal turned down, was it, wasn't it, you decide ? George Boyd was then given his first chance, a ball floated over the top found its way to him, before Scott Doe made sure the ball found its way back to Roberts, a good piece of defending. A few minutes later Danny Green earnt a free kick down the right hand side which he floated in towards the back post, Vincelot failed to get a decent connection on it as he used his right foot, had he used his left it may have been a different story, but the ball found its way back to Lewis. Nurse then continued to work his bo****ks off by chasing down a ball and forcing the Posh player to boot it at him, one again though, no lucky break came from it. Charlie Lee then done well to intercept Green and he then went on a mazey run, half the length of the pitch in fact before clipping a delightful ball over the top to Mackail Smith who dazzled Doe, getting him in a tangle before firing into the side netting to the anguish of the Borough fans.

Akinde, my man of the

Joe Lewis then showed his recent frailties, a chip into the box by Gain turned into a shot and what looked like a simple same from the Posh keeper turned into a palava, having to just tip the ball over the bar for another Green corner. Abu Ogogo was then the next Dagger to misplace a pass, plenty of time in the middle of the pitch so he decided to pass it back to Peterborough who then of course broke away. Mackail Smith took the ball forward before playing it right to Tommy Rowe, his dreadful touch allowed McCrory to pace back and put it out much to Ogogo's relief. Then came the usual flurry of late subs. The first being John Akinde who made a tremendous home debut in my opinion replaced by Damien Scannell much to my dismay, surely Lancaster would have been a smarter choice, but John Still knows best. Then Tom Kennedy was strechered off for Posh after coming off worse in a 50/50 challenge with Ogogo, he was replaced by Grant Basey, he went off to a round of applause, good sportsmanship there. Just a minute afterwards Greeny was then replaced by Currie as Still looked to bring a new dimension to the game, which may have been tried ever so slightly too late. Mackail Smith then broke free once again down the left before cutting in and swinging a shot into the Marcus James Stand with just minutes of regular time left. The final think was Langmead coming on for Wesolowski for Peterborough.

The referee blew his whistle and 1600 or so Daggers trudged out of Victoria Road knowing that we may be back in the relegation zone if Bristol Rovers had won tonight. This game was much like Sheffield Wednesday on the opening day. The game was finished because of two early goals that were well taken and had a slice of luck about them. We were simply not at the races tonight, despite that we continued to fashion opportnities and we looked capable of scoring. What didn't we do enough ? We didn't press the players particularly well and the midfield were simply over run, we also didn't test Joe Lewis enough, in this league the keeper has to be tested or you will simply go down without a fight. Peterborough had two clear cut chances and they took them, what more can you say ? The lads always battle hard and they'll continue to until that last whistle blows come about 16:50 at London Road on the 7th May, they are Daggers and Daggers always give it their all, always give it their heart and always do it for the fans. From what I can see every player was abiding by those rules, ok maybe the performance wasn't to much but in recent weeks despite results we have been sensational. Against Brighton last week we were brilliant, against Exeter we were brilliant, you cant fault the lads for that, but we have to score the vital goals and defend that much better if we're going to stay up. Just a word on the Peterborough support, considering they're up there in the league, I feel the 400 odd they brought tonight was a very poor showing regardless of what's on the TV.

My Ratings:
Roberts 7: Nothing to do real, good kicking on his 500th game for us.
Ogogo 7: Done ok, couple of misplaced passes, challenged well.
Arber 7: Mopped up everything thrown at him, again some un needed hoofing.
Doe 7: Don well against CMS, did get wrong side sometimes, overall was pretty good.
McCrory 7: Done well against the winger, whipped some good balls in as well.
Gain 7: Battled well, couple of shots as well.
Vincelot 8: Good headers again, got stuck in, as good as ever.
Green 7: Decent crossing, good set pieces, consistent of late.
Lee 8: Great game, composed, looks to shoot, will be a future star.
Nurse 7: Done well, got the headers, chased down loose balls.
Akinde 9: My star man, as far as debuts go he was great, held the ball up, good passing, played it, actually got some shots away and even manages to head the ball. What we need.
Currie/Scannell 6: Couldnt get into the game, not their fault though.

Well, we need at least 50 points to stay up and we need to win our home games from now on, three left against teams that we can beat. Will we win them ? Only time weill tell.

Unfortunately for you I'm away from Saturday morning onwards so you will have to miss two match reports, I can tell you're crying into your tea/lager/whisky or whatever you're drinking.

Next Up: Notts County 9th April, 15:00 Kick Off