Sunday, 29 April 2012

Shrewsbury Town 1-0 Daggers, League One Shrews

Shrewsbury Town clinched promotion at the Greenhous Meadow on Saturday Afternoon thanks to a 1-0 win over the Daggers whose unbeaten eight game run was finally broken in a match that will live in the memories of Shrewsbury fans for quite some time.

The day started at an early 8:45 after a bacon roll at Chadwell Heath Station in the steady rain as Billy & Chaz turned up late; Billy in a banana costume that would be a prominent feature of the day. After sorting all of the tickets out we headed to Liverpool Street where we then got the tube to Euston Square and eventually walked to the main Euston Station in good time to meet Chris, Matt, Joe, Jake & Michael.

Whilst at Euston we received several funny looks thanks to the Banana costume, however it proved a hit with some as one woman on her hen weekend requested a picture with Bill. I then done the same as it's not every day you get to say you travelled to Shrewsbury with a banana, as you may notice I was sporting some very nice shades.

At around 10:20 our train was called and we jumped aboard the plush service for the journey to Birmingham New Street where we'd change for Shrewsbury. The journey passed quickly and it was a laugh all the way which meant we arrived for the change just after 12:00. The new train was extremely old and dilapidated, much like the scenery of Wolverhampton that we passed on the way there; it made Dagenham look modern for god sake! After just over an hour on the sparsely populated train, going past places such as Telford; we arrived in Shrewsbury just after 13:00.

The first thing to do was to get something to eat so we headed towards the town centre that was bustling and rather old which made it quite nice where we eventually came across a McDonalds. Just as we walked in the banana costume once again proved a hit as one onlooker complimented Bill by saying, "I like your banana," which as you may guess had us in stitches. After just over half an hour eating and being recognised from Dagenham because we apparently sounded like Stacey Solomon, we went back up to the station to get a cab to the ground.

After a brief wait the cab was called and we arrived inside a packed Greenhous Meadow car park at 14:10. Whilst here we were pulled in by BBC Radio Shropshire and like the nice lad I am I allowed two others to take the spotlight this week in Chris & Bill following my BBC London exploits at Port Vale a few weeks previous. It all went off without a hitch so we headed inside the away turnstiles ready for the game.

First impressions of the stadium is that it's quite modern, obviously so as it was only opened in 2007 as a new home following the Shrews' vacation of The Gay Meadow after their 97 year tenure at the historic venue. We were housed in the corner of the North Stand that was very plush, plenty of leg room if it was wanted and enough seats for all of us. The rest of the North Stand was allocated to Shrews fans for obvious reasons.

The Roland Wycherley Stand
The other three stands are largely the same with each being 18 rows high in stature. The Roland Wycherley Stand is the main stand of the stadium having several press areas as well as containing the dugouts; this was located to the left of us and it held 2893 people. Opposite that was the West Stand where the more vocal of the home support are situated, it's also the largest stand holding 3302 people.

The final stand is where the lads in morph suits were placed, The Salop Leisure Stand behind the goal which holds 1900 people and was once again packed to the rafters. A little known fact about the stadium is that it's a UEFA Category Four stadium which means it can host a Europa League Tie or even a European Championship encounter such are the facilities of the ground.

Just as we found our seats, the teams were read out and they were as follows,

Shrewsbury Town: Neal, Grandison, Jacobson, Sharps, Cansdell-Sherriff, Wright, Wroe, Richards, Wildig, Collins, Gornell. Subs: Smith, Regan, McAllister, Taylor, Morgan.

Veteran manager Graham Turner named an unchanged side from the one that failed to clinch promotion last week by drawing 1-1 at Accrington Stanley meaning that top scorer James Collins would lead the frontline once more. Former Daggers striker Marvin Morgan was on the bench which meant if he was introduced he was sure to get a hostile reception from the visitors.

Dagenham & Redbridge: Lewington, McCrory, Baudry, Spillane, Doe, Elito, Howell, Ogogo, Bingham, Scott, Woodall. Subs: Hogan, Gain, Green, Rose, Abdulla.

John Still opted to make one change as his side looked to maintain their eight match unbeaten run by bringing in fit again Luke Howell for Mark Arber who would be alongside Stuart Smith in the commentary box. This change meant that Mickey Spillane would drop back into a more natural centre of defence role alongside Baudry. There was some more good news in the sense that Peter Gain was back on the bench after a long period out with an injury.

Then came possibly a moment that defined what our club stands for with John Still coming into the area where we were situated and shaking the supporters' hands, a simply superb gesture by Stilly. Whilst he didn't get through everyone it was still a great thing to do, showing his appreciation for our support throughout the season, moreover I doubt any other club or manager in the league would do such a thing; that's why I love my club.

The ground was filling up rapidly and the mood was only enhanced by a superb selection of tunes over the tannoy, including one of my favourites by "The Killers", cue the first karaoke episode of the day. As kick off approached the atmosphere began to intensify whilst a hoard balloons were released on to the pitch much to the annoyance of several stewards who were doing their level best to destroy them.

Just as 15:00 approached the teams came out of the tunnel and the decibel meter went through the roof as all four sides produced a raucous arena. The Daggers would be free to play football under no pressure for the first time this season, whilst the Shrews would be going for that all important win that would take them up to the third tier which meant an enjoyable atmosphere was created.

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The teams lined up and we were all set with vast anticipation from the record 9294 home supporters who wanted to witness a day of history at The Meadow. With the pre match rituals complete, Mr Jock Waugh kicked the game off just after 15:00 much to the delight of the crowd.

The first opportunity of a lively opening fell to Woodall who has scored twice already this month, this time however he could only screw the ball into the chest of a thankful Chris Neal. The Shrews then advanced forward for the first time in the match which only helped to intensify the already vibrant atmosphere, however the Daggers defence stood up to the test well and snuffed out the danger.

The Daggers continued to have the better of the play early on, Abu Ogogo in particular dominating the midfield and putting in some no holds barred challenges to show that the visitors meant business. Damien McCrory then hit a half chance over the bar following a defensive header outside the box from Scott Doe's ball in, encouraging signs from John Still's men.

With just over 10 minutes played in the contest Shrewsbury thought they had an early lead when James Collins headed Mark Wright's cross goalwards, however Damien McCrory was on hand to clear the ball over from underneath his own bar to keep the scores level. From the resulting corner Luke Howell & Mathieu Baudry made sure that the Shrews were denied thanks to two good clearances from inside their own area.

The Shrews most vocal support.
Shrewsbury then continued to come close as skipper Ian Sharps curled a delightful shot just wide of the far post to once again raise the noise level inside of Greenhous Meadow which was surely encouraging the home side to take the lead. Jermaine Grandison whose name was being sung by the home support then had another attempt hacked off the line from a corner as the Shrews edged closer and closer to the opening goal.

The game then calmed down slightly in the attacking sense with both sides fighting for possession in the middle of the park. The Daggers were playing some neat football on the deck but that was nearly undone when a lofted ball over the top forced Lewington to come out and punch the ball clear under pressure; more good goalkeeping from the somewhat lightweight 'stopper.

The visitors then nearly flipped the script on the hosts by coming close via the boot of Medy Elito. A good breakaway saw Medy go free down the right hand side before cutting in and unleashing a fierce shot that drifted just wide of the uncertain Neal's post much to the angst of Shrews supporters. Minutes later and the Daggers looked as though they may create another opportunity however Bingham's cross drifted out of play for a goal kick much to my frustration.

Going into the half hour mark and the Shrews began to dominate once more with only some astute defending from the Daggers defence denying them. Firstly Terry Gornell looked to be in on goal down the right hand side; however Captain Scott Doe came in from nowhere and launched into a superb sliding challenge to win the ball. Damien McCrory was also having his best game in quite a while, looking composed on the ball as well as making a few top quality interceptions.

With just 7 minutes to go until the half time interval, Town made the breakthrough in not so emphatic style. Former Torquay man Nicky Wroe found space on the left hand side and crossed in a ball that found the head of Collins who directed the ball home past a helpless Lewington. That goal was his second against the Daggers this season and it sent 9,000 home supporters into overdrive including two who thought it would be apt to run on the pitch.

Following the run onto the pitch and the brief signage towards Lewington, they took it upon themselves to walk back off the pitch as the stewards just watched. This did of course end not so prettily as the trespassers and a few others got into a fight with the police which resulted in a beer bottle being thrown by a Shrews fan in the North Stand before several were ejected from the ground for good.

As for the goal it was a well placed header but the visitors will be disappointed with the lack of marking which enabled Collins to head home with no pressure; a trait that is gradually creeping back into the squad after it was eradicated in the March period of games.

The atmosphere at the Greenhous Meadow was something special and the Shrews would have doubled their lead had it not have been for Lewington making a tremendous block from Collins' shot towards the end of the half. That was the end of the action in a first half where Shrewsbury did perhaps edge the best of the play and ultimately probably did deserve their lead; much to the delight of their supporters.

Woodall needed to see more of the ball
The Daggers however had played one of their best 45 minutes in terms of on the floor football of the season. We were playing a fluent passing game and at times that cut the Shrews open; however the ball wasn't going through to the anonymous Woodall enough as he was our main threat. The defence and midfield were looking solid as they have been in the previous eight games so there was reason to be confident ahead of the second half.

It was then that time of the match to sample the cuisine at Shrewsbury. It was set out as the kind of food you'd receive at a party with a single table separating the customers from the staff and to be quite honest that's what the burger tasted like, absolutely horrible. I have no hesitation in saying that it's the worst food I've had away from home this season and I paid £3 for the privilege.

Salop Leisure Stand (Pre Match)
As I resumed back for the second half of play, the teams did as well with Shrewsbury only needing to hold out 45 minutes to secure their promotion back to the third tier. In this second period of the match the Daggers would be attacking us in the North Stand whilst Shrewsbury would be heading towards The Salop Leisure Stand.

The game resumed shortly afterwards and it was midfielder Ogogo who got the first shot away of the second half, firing a 40 yard strike towards goal that Chris Neal had to gather twice after fumbling it the first time around. The visitors continued their good early pressure as a ball in from a corner trickled across the area, begging for a Daggers player to hammer it into the back of the net, no one did though and it was cleared.

The noise level rose once again with 55 minutes gone as Terry Gornell spurned a wonderful chance at the near post by putting the ball wide following a delightfully weighted ball in by Grandison. Gornell came close once more just five minutes later when he fired a speculative 30 yard effort straight at Lewington who was more than happy to claim it under no apparent pressure.

The Daggers weren't really offering much in the second half in terms of open play, however several set pieces including a couple of corners were proving a nuisance for the Shrews defence. Scott Doe was once again on hand to attempt to score via his infamous front post run however the home side were clearly aware of this tactic and as a result their marking of Doey was very stringent, not allowing the former Weymouth defender any leeway.

The North Stand Shrews
John Still's men continued to be limited to shots from distance as the Salop defence was proving to be extremely resilient, a trait which has seen them go 37 games unbeaten at home. Medy Elito saw an effort from outside of the box deflected wide whilst Luke Howell's looping effort gave Neal a scare in goal as the home side began to look slightly shaky.

News then filtered through that Hereford had taken a shock lead at Crawley which meant that regardless of the score here Shrewsbury would be going up. Then came an old Daggers "foe", as Marvin Morgan who has never been forgiven for that miss at Orient last season replaced the tiring Gornell. Not so marvellous Marvin was quickly in the thick of the action as he won two corners, further increasing the crescendo of noise inside the ground.

With 15 minutes left John Still opted to bring on Peter Gain for his first appearance since Boxing Day meaning Medy Elito would be replaced. In the same minute Billy Bingham was also withdrawn which gave Dominic Green a chance to shine for the final quarter of an hour and possibly open up the Shrewsbury full backs. 

If anyone was going to score now it was looking like the dominant Shrews who simply had too much for the Daggers up front, Mark Wright being denied by inches after curling his shot wide of the post. With five minutes to go the final change was made as Brian Woodall was taken off for Ahmed Abdulla in a sub that left quite a few travellers rather bemused.

With just minutes left to play the Daggers were given a golden chance to get the equaliser that would have silenced the home crowd. Luke Howell broke free down the right hand side and delivered a pin point cross that was met by Josh Scott, however his diving header went just over the bar when he probably should have got it on target from inside the box.

Shrewsbury then made their final change of the match, bringing on Jon Taylor for Aaron Wildig as the fourth official announced three minutes of injury time would be played. This coupled with the 3-0 scoreline coming in from the Broadfield was too much for the Shrews fans who were now stood on the perimeter of the pitch, nearly encroaching the field of play in fact. Several hoardings were booted down in the excitement and eventually, the final whistle sounded meaning that Shrewsbury Town would be in League One next season.



I have to say watching the joy of over 9,000 Shrews including a mammoth amount who ran on the pitch congratulating their heroes was something to behold. The sheer elation showed by them was fantastic and I for one would like to offer my congratulations to them, especially in the way several of their fans shook hands with our supporters and our players in a very nice gesture.



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The result lifted the Shrews up to a deserved place in the third tier and in doing so saw them become the only club in the Football League this season to go unbeaten at home this season, a tremendous achievement.

As for the Daggers, a pretty good performance considering there was nothing left to play for, just the lack of sharpness up front costing us. An enjoyable afternoon for all 147 Daggers in attendance as we witnessed the final ever outing of the green away kit. No player really shone for me today, however Abu Ogogo would probably pick up my man of the match award for another tireless display in the middle of the park.

The day though belonged to Shrewsbury and seeing their fans on the pitch made me smile, even if one of them felt it was appropriate to urinate on the corner flag. After exiting the stadium to escape the traffic, we waited for our cab where we had a few friendly exchanges with some Shrews fans whom wished us luck for next season and we done vice versa with them.

A good journey which included a karaoke session saw us arrive back at a wet Euston station just after 21:00 where the singing of several Daggers songs continued. After a few tube trains and the over ground home I arrived back just after 22:00 to end the final away day of the season.

I have to say it was one of my favourite ones of the season as well, mainly because there was no worry about the afternoon; we were free to enjoy it. The people of Shrewsbury were very nice and the town was quite unique as well, whilst the game and the stadium was just a bonus on top. Well done to Shrewsbury I wish you luck next season!

I’d also like to congratulate everyone who has followed the Daggers away from home this season as our away support has been terrific. We have taken an overall total of 4226 away in the league this season whilst that average’s out at 183.7 over the entire league season; that’s over 10% of our core home support which is a very good figure if you ask me.

Last up for us is the visit of Bristol Rovers on Saturday where we could see the introduction of a future Daggers star in Dwight Gayle. Until then though I hope you have a good week and enjoy my picture gallery of the day below.

Remember to follow me on Twitter, @NickDRFCMurphy.


Roland Wycherley Stand Pre Match

The Daggers Warm Up.

John Still amongst the travelling supporters.

The West Stand




Pitch Invasion


Pitch Invasion



Three Daggers players brave the masses.

13 comments:

  1. Great review! and we thought your fans were brilliant to stay and applaud our team at the end -all the best next season


    Shrews fan

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    Replies
    1. super read. shows how decent fans can appreciate each others views and opinions

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  2. great read, thought it was nice to see John Still in with the fans for a while and much thanks go to your club in allowing us to have most of the away end. Also from speaking to a few daggers fans when selling programmes, you seem a polite nice lot, all the best for next season,
    shrews fan

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  3. Brilliant stuff and great review, you really should send this review to Duncan Adams @ www.footballgroundguide.co.uk as that betters any of the reviews on that site IMO.

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  4. Good read, shame about your burger. Good luck for next season.

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  5. As a Shrews fan, i thought this was a very fair and honest view of the game. Fantastic read and I hope you reach your personal dream, like we did yesterday!

    Enjoy League 2 ;-)

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  6. Shrewsbury fan here - glad you enjoyed your outing to Shrewsbury and the Meadow - though shame you didn't get the best catering! Over in the East stand where I was the pies were much better I think... ;) Weird account of the corner flag antics at the end. We do have some oddballs, like most places in England!

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  7. Relegation for the fake Daggers?....Well there is always next season!

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  8. excellent report that

    http://blueandamber.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=79127



    another Shrews fan!

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  9. An excellent report.I would like to personally thank your club for agreeing to let us have the majority of the away end and also how your supporters behaved in what I can only imagine was a daunting occasion.As for John Still going into your end to thank you is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen at a football match!Top Man.Good luck for next season.Shrewsbury Fan

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  10. I wonder how many fans who shook him by the hand wanted to shake him by the neck when the team lost game after game?!

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  11. Great report good luck in the coming season !!

    Salopian

    ReplyDelete
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