Sunday, 25 November 2012

Daggers 1-0 Fleetwood Town, The Codfather


Despite the loss of Dwight Gayle to Peterborough United in the week, Dagenham & Redbridge soldiered on to secure an important 1-0 victory in a scrappy game against Fleetwood Town on Saturday afternoon. Despite the driving rain and freezing cold conditions, it was perma-tanned Sam Williams who slotted home a penalty in the 90th minute to seal a frustrating day for the Cod Army.

Despite the fact we've never played Fleetwood in our history, everyone knew this was going to be a tough match. Mickey Mellon's men are notoriously tough to beat on their travels, losing just one game away from Highbury all season - and even that was back in August. In contrast the Daggers are becoming increasingly hard to beat on their own patch; we were without defeat at Victoria Road since mid September. The form and stats between the two sides all pointed to the same thing - a draw.

As the ground began to fill up, the conditions contrived to get even worse with sweeping rain cause the majority of supporters to head for the Sieve. No such problems for the 14 Fleetwood fans that were in the ground at this stage who were enjoying the luxurious corner of the Traditional Builders Stand. The teams were then announced as follows...

Dagenham & Redbridge: Lewington, Ogogo, Doe, Wilkinson, Femi, Howell, Spillane, Saunders, Elito, Williams, Reed. Subs: Seabright, Hoyte, Wakefield, Scott, Bingham, Woodall, Maher.

John Still made a single change from the side that was defeated so dramatically at Burton last weekend. Sam Williams was brought in up front to partner Jake Reed following Dwight Gayle's midweek loan switch to Championship outfit Peterborough. Loan signing Josh Wakefield made it onto the bench at the expense of Jake Caprice, whilst there was no place for Dominic Green once again.

Fleetwood Town: Davies, Beeley, McNulty, Brown, Goodall, Mawene, Nicholson, Johnson, Ferguson, Ball, Barkhuizen. Subs: Maxwell, McLaughlin, Milligan, Fowler, McGuire, Branco, Titchiner.

Mickey Mellon was forced into a quadruple change due to four members of his squad being struck down with illness before the trip to Essex. Former Crawley left back Dean Howell was missing, as was Curtis Obeng and Alex Marrow, meanwhile Jamie McGuire dropped to the bench. They were replaced by Shaun Beeley, Alan Goodall, Barry Nicholson and former Hereford frontman Tom Barkhuizen. Former Scotland captain Barry Ferguson started in
midfield whilst Jon Parkin was missing as the Trawlermen looked to avenge a 3-1 midweek defeat.

After assuming that the Daggerettes had been flooded and hence unable to perform, the teams advanced onto the pitch to brief applause. Due to the poor conditions, no one was quite anticipating this fixture for obvious reasons. Once again the Daggers would be shooting towards the TB Stand in the first half, whilst Fleetwood faced the rather sparse Bury Road Terrace.

With the referee's whistle we begun, although with the first 20 minutes worth of action you wouldn't have known it. Neither side was looking particularly threatening, with Femi and Luke Howell dragging poor shots wide of the target in the opening 10 minutes. The visitors were gradually easing themselves in the game and created a good opportunity when Nicholson slid a ball across the six yard box that was just ahead of Junior Brown. David Ball then came close on 21 minutes, but his shot flew wide of Lewington's post.

As the half wore on, the hosts began to look more and more dangerous. First Luke Wilkinson thundered a head wide of the post, and then Mickey Spillane drove a shot that Scott Davies done well to hold on to. The best opportunity of the half though fell to young Jake Reed. Former Great Yarmouth forward Reed beat the well built McNulty for pace before latching onto the ball and firing a shot against the post. The rebound didn't fall kindly for Reed who then fired over the bar as the scores remained level. 

The half ended as it has started, with very little quality and a half chance to open the scoring. Alan Goodall flashed a shot wide of the upright for Fleetwood, whilst it was Jake Reed again who went close for Daggers. The pacey forward raced through once more, but again his touch let him down allowing for Scott Davies to come out and smother the ball. In a nutshell, that was the first half. A very scrappy and wet affair with few chances. Fleetwood were enjoying the better of the possession whilst the Daggers had the better of the chances.

The teams re-emerged for the second half to very little, if any applause. Both sets of supporters had the same mentality – let’s just get this over with so we can all go home and get warm! Fleetwood started the better with the lively Junior Brown seeing his clever shot stopped well by Lewington. David Ball was next to try his luck but defensive rock Luke Wilkinson was in the way to block. 

As everyone inside the ground expected, with 60 minutes played the energetic Jake Reed was replaced by fans favourite Brian Woodall. His first piece of action was narrowly missing a well flighted ball into the box as the game became grittier. Similarly up the other end of the pitch Alan Goodall who seemed to be involved quite a lot during the match forced Chris Lewington to clamber on to a looping cross towards the back post. Medy Elito then fired a shot goalwards that bounced off the rather large backside of McNulty.

Fleetwood were extremely well organised and tight for 80 minutes, but as the match entered its final stages the game became stretched. The best chance of the second half fell to Luke Wilkinson. A Matt Saunders corner flew across the area where a flapping Scott Davies misjudged the ball, however Wilkinson was just too slow and failed to connect as the ball went out for a goal kick. 

Alex Titchiner was then brought on for the Cod Army as they readdressed the attacking balance and advanced forward. It was Titchiner himself who nearly netted the opening goal, luckily though Chris Lewington was on hand to gather following his miscued strike from Brown's centre. 

The fourth official stuck up his board to show two minutes of injury time for the second half. It would probably be fair to say the two additional minutes were the most pulsating and exciting minutes of the entire match. Following a Fleetwood attack, the Daggers broke away down the left through Sam Williams. Our own big Sam drove into the box before being nudged by Mawene and going down somewhat theatrically. All eyes darted towards the referee who blew his whistle and pointed to the spot. Penalty.

The Fleetwood players berated the referee for several minutes which resulted in two bookings. The big question was who would take the penalty following a succession of two Spillane misses from the spot in recent weeks. To everyone's surprise it was Sam Williams himself who stepped up. I and others around me weren't confident, but after several anxious minutes of waiting the referee blew his whistle. Sam Williams stepped up...and slotted it into the opposite corner of the 'keeper to give the Daggers a surprise 1-0 lead.

video


It wasn't over yet though as we were all certain the hosts would make hard work of the final few minutes. And so we did, Chris Lewington was alert to make a superb diving save to deny Junior Brown's header which looked destined for the bottom corner. From the resulting corner the ball was cleared and the referee blew his whistle once more, this time to single the end of a poor encounter. Intense relief from 1500 odd home supporters and despair for the 118 loyal travellers.

Did we deserve the win? Probably not. Will I take the win? You bet! It makes a change to get a bit of luck where 90th minute goals are concerned, and a goal like that against a side with the quality of Fleetwood could be telling towards the end of the season. Big credit has to go to Sam Williams and Chris Lewington today. Both were called upon after quite anonymous performances and both produced the goods when it was needed. 

It was a gritty performance in poor conditions from both sides and a draw would have been the fair result, but a bit of luck won it. Fleetwood will definitely be at the top end of the league come the end of the season. When you bear in mind they were missing several key players this afternoon - they were still a resolute team who had opportunities to take all three points. Their away form will be key and so far this season it has been superb. One bit advice I would give them though is that they need to be sharper up front, very rarely was Chris Lewington tested yesterday. That however, could be down to several key forward players being missing for the Trawlermen.

As for us, it was such an important victory and an important three points as I've emphasised. No one in particular stood out, although Femi looked like our most creative outlet down the left. Matt Saunders was also pretty good in the middle of the park, acting as the calm member of the team who’s not afraid to put his foot on the ball. The back four were all commendable and Jake Reed done well to make the runs to create opportunities, he just needs to work on his composure.



We follow this game up with a difficult trip to Torquay United next week, before we then travel to Bristol Rovers. It's doubtful that I'll be in attendance for either of those games, so the next time I speak to you will probably be following the home game with Barnet on the 15th! Once again, thanks for reading and have a good half of December!

Remember to follow me on Twitter, @NickDRFCMurphy.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Burton Albion 3-2 Daggers, Billy The Kee


Dagenham & Redbridge suffered their first ever defeat at the Pirelli Stadium on Saturday afternoon as they were downed 3-2 by an impressive Burton Albion side. Goals from Dwight Gayle & Sam Williams were not enough for the Daggers, as Damien McCrory, Matt Paterson and Billy Kee sealed an impressive victory for the Brewers. After such an impressive performance against Rotherham United last weekend, John Still's men can't really have any complaints over this result.

Taking into account our impressive record over the Brewers, a run which includes only three defeats I was pretty optimistic over the game ahead. When you factor in that we've never lost at the Pirelli coupled with the fact we'd only lost three away games prior to this, we had good cause to be optimistic! Burton were also dealt a tough hand considering they were only in action on Thursday night against Altrincham, a game that they won comfortably 2-0.

The journey up wasn't particularly action packed, with two changes at Rugby and Tamworth before we finally arrived at Burton-On-Trent station. A gloomy and overcast sky awaited us as we were forced to make the 25 minute walk to the ground along a straight and extremely long road. After passing several annoying roundabouts we arrived at the ground just before 14:20.

The exterior is pretty modern which is rather obvious as the ground was only built in 2005, making it one of the newest in English football. We were given the corner part of the main stand such was our low number of travelling fans. We shared this with the Burton supporters, although the majority were from a local football club so the stewards didn't bother with any barriers to separate the clubs.

The stadium itself is quite nice; whilst it may be modern it retains a sort of charm that makes it feel more traditional. It's probably helped by the fact that it has three sides that are composed of terracing which allow for a good atmosphere. Otherwise the seating option is available to supporters who want it. The majority of the noise comes from the Rotala Stand, whilst the majority choose to congregate along the nPower Family Stand.

With not long until kick off the muffled PA system finally announced the teams as follows...

Burton Albion: Lyness, Stanton, Diamond, O'Connor, Weir, Palmer, McCrory, Maghoma, Bell, Kee, Zola. Subs: Atkins, Holness, McGrath, Taylor, Dyer, Richards, Paterson.

Burton opted to make several changes from their 2-0 cup victory on Thursday night, with Dean Lyness making his full football league debut in place of the injured Mark Oxley. Daggers hate figure Nathan Stanton also returned, as did forward Billy Kee. This meant Marcus Holness, and Cleveland Taylor dropped to the bench, whilst Damien McCrory started at left back against his former employers.

Dagenham & Redbridge: Lewington, Ogogo, Doe, Wilkinson, Femi, Spillane, Saunders, Howell, Elito, Gayle, Reed. Subs: Seabright, Caprice, Woodall, Williams, Bingham, Hoyte, Maher.

John Still kept with the same side that defeated Rotherham 5-0 in convincing fashion last week; this meant loan signing Jake Caprice had to settle with a place on the bench. Mickey Spillane who netted in this fixture last season lined up in midfield alongside Saunders and Luke Howell, who after some confusion last weekend was available to play in this match. 

The ground continued to fill up as the referee led the teams out onto the pitch under the guise of the floodlights. With the pre match rituals completed and a despairing "Thriller" dance routine waded through, the game began in earnest. The opening five minutes or so were scrappy as you may expect. The Daggers were edging the corner count whilst Burton were looking dangerous out wide, in particular Chris Palmer.

As the game wore on Burton looked the far more likely to open the scoring. A poor header back to Lewington from Femi gifted Kee the chance to open the scoring, however his attempt rebounded back off of the post. Minutes later and the Daggers defence were under pressure once more as Lewington made a superb double stop from Calvin Zola and Robbie Weir to somehow keep the Brewers at bay. 

The visitors had somehow managed to ride the storm without conceding and went on an attack of their own soon after with Abu Ogogo firing wide of Lyness' post. The Daggers were given a boost on 20 minutes as the dazed Calvin Zola had no other choice but to be substituted, he was replaced by Matt Paterson. Lewington was forced into action once more directly after the change, pushing Chris Palmer's curling free kick wide of the post to preserve the 0-0 scoreline.

As we reached the half hour mark, all attention turned to Albion debutant Dean Lyness. The 'keeper made a good stop from Medy Elito's rasping effort, however it all went horribly wrong for the 'stopper just minutes later. A superb through ball released Jake Reed who was in turn brought down by Lyness for a clear penalty as he raced towards the ball. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, giving Lyness a lenient yellow card in the process.

Mickey Spillane who had been hit and miss from the spot so far this season stepped up in confident fashion to take the spot kick. Initially it looked as though Lyness had made amends, pushing Spillane's spot kick onto the post. However, inn somewhat cruel fashion the rebound fell to a delighted Gayle who tapped home for a 1-0 lead and his seventh goal of the season. Cue a sense of disbelief amongst Daggers fans as to how an earth we were leading this contest.

The away side were now looking more confident and nearly doubled the lead minutes later. A shot from the left hand side was parried well by Lyness and the follow up header from Saunders was clutched admirably by the 'keeper who was being given a stern workout on his debut. Abu Ogogo then went into the referee's book for a poor challenge as the Stanton/Ogogo rivalry amongst the supporters reignited once again.

Without a doubt it was John Still's men who ended the first half in the ascendancy as Matt Saunders twice went close to doubling the lead. Jake Reed was then released thanks to some clever play from Gayle, but the inexperienced forward got overexcited and overran his touch. Burton had one last attempt before the end of the half with a tricky looking ball running across the six yard box begging to be put into the back of the net - but alas there was no one to steer it in.

Almost inconceivably given how the opening half an hour had gone, the Daggers went in 1-0 up at the break. The standout player of the half was Chris Lewington without a doubt, without him inbetween the sticks we could have been 3 or 4-0 down going into the break. No one had really impressed for the Daggers as yet, although Elito was looking somewhat sprightly on the left hand side.

With the half time break, I took the chance to sample some of Burton's cuisine, aka the burger bar. Annoyingly they ran out of sausage rolls at half time, much to dissatisfaction of one supporter who took the chance to vent his spleen at the catering staff...who proceeded to have a good bitch about him after the customer left. In the end I settled for a tea which was pretty horrible. 

Upon returning to the stand everyone was optimistic of an improved second half where the Daggers would hopefully push on and extend the lead. The teams emerged from the main stand back onto the pitch, ready for what promised to be a pulsating second 45. 

With six minutes of the second half gone, Burton Albion found a deserved equaliser. As fate would have it, former Dagger Damien McCrory was the man who scored it. Jake Reed foolishly tried to keep the ball in play when a better option would have been to boot it into row Z. This allowed McCrory to interchange with Maghoma before firing a deflected strike over a helpless Lewington to compound the misery. Of all of the times to net your first goal for your new club eh?
Lewy left with no chance

Just as we recovered from that setback, we were sent reeling once more as a defensive mix up allowed Burton to take a 2-1 lead. Luke Wilkinson didn't get enough on his header back to Lewington which allowed substitute Paterson to nick in before anyone else and slide home to give the Brewers the lead. Cue the 10 year olds sitting next to us celebrating like 10 year olds do - getting a rise out of some of our supporters in the process.

The visitors now went in search of an equaliser, with Medy Elito & Femi both coming close on the left hand side. Dwight Gayle should have done better when allowed space in the box, however the forward decided to open a box of tricks rather than attempting to get a shot away when the time was right. John Still then made his first change; Billy Bingham was brought on for Matt Saunders in the midfield.

Almost immediately a Bingham corner nearly led to a goal, Dwight Gayle rose highest but his header went high over the bar. A good opportunity that really should have tested the 'keeper. Sam Williams was also introduced for the tiring Jake Reed; his first attempt was easily gathered by Lyness who was enjoying a quieter second period.

Within minutes of that attempt, the Daggers drew level in spectacular fashion. The ball was played forward to Luke Wilkinson who nodded it down for Sam Williams to finish emphatically into the top corner of the net. Cue delirium amongst the travelling support and songs of, "Sam Williams, he scores when he wants." Now I don't mean to ruin this moment...but I told you so!

Burton kicked off the game once more and within seconds the Daggers were brought back down to earth with a bump. A ball was lumped towards Kee who chested it down, took a touch and advanced forward before unleashing an unstoppable shot that rifled past Lewington and into the corner of the net. With a strike like that, there's nothing that you can do but applaud it really. The defending from Scott Doe could have been better perhaps, but there's no denying the sheer quality of the goal.

You may have expected the Daggers to put Burton under relentless pressure from this stage, but in reality it wasn't the case. The brewers held onto the ball admirably and restricted the Essex side to speculative efforts, none of which challenged Lyness in the slightest. In fact it was Burton who looked the more likely to extent their lead with Billy Kee firing just wide during the five minutes of injury time.

The referee blew his whistle to signal the end of the match, the end of our unbeaten run and the end of our unbeaten streak at the Pirelli. All good things come to end I suppose. All credit to Burton though, they deserve the win and Billy Kee's strike deserved to win any game - utterly superb. The best way to describe our performance is ordinary really, as John Still said after the game it was naivety that cost us.

As some have alluded to it's going to be a long season as it's unlikely the squad will be consistent for long periods. But that's to be expected. You have to remember we have a young squad who will both impress us and irritate us in equal measure this season. The important thing is that we have the basis of a good squad of players who will continually improve both performance and results wise. I said before the start of the season I'd be happy with a mid table finish and that's where we are at the moment. 

Chris Lewington deserves a lot of praise for his first half performance and realistically there's not a lot he could have done regarding all of the Burton strikes. The left side didn't impress me yesterday either, with Femi being caught out far too many times for my liking. This left Medy in a lot of trouble trying to cover when Femi galloped forward which ultimately didn't work. Here's hoping Luke Wilkinson enjoys a quick recovery as well as he clearly wasn't at the races with his heading yesterday due to the amount of staples in his head.

As for Burton, as I say I can't really begrudge you over the three points. Chris Palmer tormented us all afternoon and Billy Kee's strike was superb and deserved to win the points. Considering it was his League debut, Lyness also put in a decent display. I have no qualms with Burton so wish you and Damien McCrory good luck for the season ahead. Unless it comes down to us two for a final Play Off spot, in which case here's hoping we get it!

That's it for another week and another 3-2 away defeat as well. My next game is Fleetwood at home next week, before we take on Torquay & Bristol Rovers - both of which I won't be attending. 

Remember to follow me on Twitter, @NickDRFCMurphy is what you need...thanks for reading!


Here's a little gallery of other pictures from the day as well...


North Stand (nPower Family Stand)










Sunday, 11 November 2012

Daggers 5-0 Rotherham United, A Not So Taxing Affair

2002 Runners Up
www.fansfocus.net/dagenhamandredbridge.com

It has taken 10 years, but the Dagenham & Redbridge class of 2012 have avenged the Daggers class of 2002, with a fine 5-0 win over Steve Evans' Rotherham United. The game was not just about the result, but the context behind it with Evans having effectively cheated the 2002 Daggers out of promotion to the Football League. This result was not just for the current, but for the past and the likes of Janners & Vickers et al.

Before the game, my gut feeling was actually that we'd come away with the win. We were also joint top in the form table along with a host of other clubs including Rotherham, so it looked as though a tight affair was in order (how wrong was I?) Our record against the Millers has also been improving season by season, with a 3-2 victory at Victoria Road last year being the solitary Daggers victory, bar the Play Off final. 

There were also reports of some supporters "ambushing" the Rotherham team coach as it arrived, but thankfully there was no violence. With Rotherham unbeaten in five games, four of which have been victories it was certainly going to be a tough afternoon. And with that, the teams were announced...

Dagenham & Redbridge: Lewington, Ogogo, Doe, Wilkinson, Femi, Howell, Saunders, Spillane, Elito, Gayle, Reed. Subs: Seabright, Hoyte, Bingham, Currie, Green, Scott, Woodall. 

The Daggers were forced into two changes from the impressive midweek victory over Oxford United. Kevin Maher served his one game ban which meant Mickey Spillane was reintroduced following injury at Bournemouth a week previous. Sam Williams was also ruled out of contention late on with a mystery injury and rather surprisingly John Still's choice to replace him was Jake Reed. Reed has impressed before for Daggers, but the majority would have expected the more experienced Brian Woodall to start.

Rotherham United: Warrington, Sharps, Morgan, O'Connor, Bradley, Pringle, Morris, Frecklington, Rooney, Revell, Odejayi. Subs: Thompson, Wilson, Hunt, Denton, Taylor, Evans, Nardiello.

Steve Evans was forced into two taxing changes, with Kari Arnason & Jamie Devitt both being ruled out through injury. That meant loan signing Luke Rooney & Michael O'Connor were brought in as replacements. The Millers side was packed full of higher league experience which would pose a threat to the Daggers, whilst only Sharps & Warrington remained from the 3-2 Play Off final defeat. Perennial thorn in the Daggers backside Alex Revell also started up front.

Just as the atmosphere was getting going the two teams came out to good applause. Then as you may expect the pantomime villain Steve Evans graced the holy turf where a chorus of boos greeted him. What was even more laughable was the fact a selection of stewards were placed in the sponsors seats - where's Bob Crow when you need him? A minutes silence was respectfully observed before Premier League referee Roger East made the signal to start the game.

Almost immediately the Daggers were on the front foot with Matt Saunders & Dwight Gayle both directing shots just wide of the target. With five minutes gone it was the home side that took a deserved early lead. Jake Reed got down the right hand side and beat his man to the ball before getting to the byline and pulling it back to a delighted Gayle who was more than happy to slot past Warrington. The Sieve was in full voice and the Evans abuse was flowing.
Spillane

Rotherham then began to feel themselves back into the game, although Mickey Spillane went close for the home side soon after as he curled a shot round the post. With 12 minutes played Ian Sharps spurned a gilt edge chance as his header went sailing over the crossbar. Matt Saunders nearly made it two directly after, but Warrington pushed his central free kick onto the roof of the net. 

Lee Frecklington was looking like a threat for the visitors as his superb volley was well saved by Lewington as Rotherham notched their first shot on target. Some frantic blocking from the Daggers defence prevented the Millers from netting an equaliser much to everyone's relief. Gayle was looking like a threat for the Daggers and on 20 minutes his lob over Warrington was cleared off the line by the recovering Sharps.

The away side were then forced into an early change through injury, with former Bolton defender Nicky Hunt replacing Craig Morgan. The rock in the Daggers defence Luke Wilkinson then had to undergo some treatment for a head injury which saw him retreat down the tunnel for 5 minutes. With his head bandaged up, the original ironman returned to the field of play to rapturous applause as the home side returned to have 11 men.
Femi

Despite the best efforts of Michael O'Connor who tested Lewington with a free kick, it was John Still's men who doubled their lead just after the half hour mark. Femi skipped past a Millers defender and burst down the left wing before squaring the ball to Luke Howell who fired coolly underneath Warrington who may feel he could have done better. Whilst Howell scored the goal, the build up play was amongst some of the best I've ever seen - Femi you are God. It was now 2-0 and the Evans abuse was getting louder!

Minutes later and it was almost even better as Matt Saunders flashed a superb shot wide of the post that had everyone celebrating as we thought it was in. The only slight blip was a yellow card for Luke Howell for persistent moaning which means he'll miss the trip to Burton Albion next week. The half time whistle went to a crescendo of applause, meanwhile Steve Evans, aka The Penguin, aka Fat Bastard was left to mope into his half time bovril.
Evans in his Crawley days
Courtesy of FMD

The half time break was spent in reflection of how good our first half performance was - and Femi's immense run down the left. It then emerged through @Post_Daggers on Twitter, that Evans was considering not bringing out his players for the second half after complains of referee Roger East swearing at them. Meanwhile in a nearby kitchen, there were reports of the pot calling the kettle black. 

Unsurprisingly the two teams did emerge for the second half as darkness set in over Victoria Road. Evans opted to make a single change, bringing on Gareth Evans for Gillingham loanee Luke Rooney. The second half started how the first had ended, with the Daggers dominating. The ball fell to Elito in a good position, but the former Colchester winger could only contrive to curl his shot over the bar from a good position.

Michael O'Connor found himself in the referee's book as the Daggers continued to push forward for a third goal. Before the home side could get on the attack, Abu Ogogo made a superb block to deny Lee Frecklington a near certain goal for the Millers. Matt Saunders was now making much more of an impact and his superb run should have ended with a goal, however Luke Howell could only fire the cutback over the bar.
Warrington
www.PFA.com

There was only one team in the game, and Gayle nearly made it three just minutes later. Some superb persistence from the pint size forward saw him come face to face with Warrington where the aging stopper denied Gayle his second of the afternoon. Soon after some good play down the left hand side saw Saunders cut the ball back for Spillane, unfortunately for the Daggers his leisurely shot was saved well by Warrington.

Chris Lewington was then forced into action for the first time in the second half as Gareth Evans threatened to pull one back for Rotherham. Steve Evans who was clearly agitated judging by his hand movements then provided some entertainment for us all. As he continued to wave his hands in a passionate fashion, the guests and sponsors behind mimicked him in Stoke/Wenger style - much to my amusement.

It wasn't long before Dagenham & Redbridge made it 3-0 to wrap up the match and the three points. Femi went on another fantastic run before squaring the ball back for Luke Howell who finished in emphatic style for his sixth of the season. We were in dreamland by now and could barely believe the scoreline.

Despite the best efforts of Daniel Nardiello and Michael O'Connor, who forced Lewington to race out of his goal to beat away the danger - the Daggers were still in a comfortable position. Dwight Gayle's header from a pin point corner was saved well by Warrington, but Medy Elito made amends by finishing in Jon Nurse slow motion fashion to make it 4-0. The Rotherham fans had now had enough and a small minority began to head for the exits.

The final 10 minutes went by in a flash. The Millers sought a consolation goal, but Abu Ogogo was on hand to block Mark Bradley's header on the line and deny the 297 travelling supporters something to cheer about. The result was compounded with three minutes remaining as Brian Woodall sprinted down the right and laid a wonderful ball across the six yard box where Gayle couldn't miss. The whole game was rounded off perfectly by a well timed firework behind the Carling Stand - the term poetic justice has never been so apt.

Final score, Dagenham & Redbridge 5-0 Rotherham United/Steve Evans. Doesn't that sound wonderful?

Courtesy of @AmyVincentSays on Twitter


As we exited the ground, it felt like a party or a promotion atmosphere amongst the supporters. Even Abu Ogogo done a little kick and a fist pump in celebration as the singing continued towards the exits. The atmosphere really was superb from start to finish and all credit for that goes to the supporters. Yesterday was a special occasion of sorts, and we certainly got our revenge on Evans, but let’s try and get the atmosphere like that on a weekly basis!

As for Rotherham, Evans is correct when he says he deserves all of the blame. Both full backs were completely torn apart, the midfield went missing and whilst the forwards were feeding on scraps, and they didn't really put a lot of effort in to boot. Ben Pringle attempted to cover some ground, but the real star for Millers fans was Andy Warrington. Even at the ripe old age of 103, he still turned in an exquisite performance and prevented the scoreline from being double figures.

Dagenham & Redbridge - that was marvellous. From start to finish we bossed that game and it was like watching the Daggers of old. It was completely attack, attack, attack from start to finish - so much so that we're now the 3rd highest scorers in League Two. Jake Reed deserves a lot of credit for coming into the side which was a bit of a shock, he made the first goal and for that he should be applauded.

Femi was sensational, there's no other way to describe it. His run down the left to set up the second goal was just immense; probably one of the best assists I've ever seen (granted I don't remember many assists.) He fully deserved man of the match and seems to improve on a weekly basis, both defensively and offensively. Femi, never leave.

Luke Wilkinson & Scott Doe were both rock solid. You can see why Premiership scouts were watching Luke at Oxford on Tuesday night. He has such a commanding presence at the back which compliments Doey superbly. Scott himself has had a pretty rock solid season and goes into the Ogogo group of doing his job competently and rarely putting himself in trouble. I reckon we have one of the soundest back fours in the league.

In the middle of the park, Luke Howell was the engine room. Previously I've compared him to Romain Vincelot, but I think that's doing him something of a disservice. He's his own man and he has his own style, and yesterday he was superb. He's the engine room, he breaks up play and he has an unparalleled amount of energy. To top all of that off he knows where the net is as well, his two yesterday take him to six for the season.

Matt Saunders is coming back to form as well, he looked very creative yesterday afternoon and is great value for a couple of assists. I cannot fault him or Mickey Spillane who both played their part admirably along with Medy Elito who also grabbed a goal. It was also a good performance from Dwight Gayle who nabbed a couple of goals to extend his tally to six for the season and add a couple more £££'s onto his price tag.

Overall, it was a superb team performance which is key. They were playing as a team, not individuals like they have done in recent weeks. What's also important is that you get the feeling they want to wear the shirt, they're not just there for the sake of being there and a week’s pay. I'd rank it as one of my top three Daggers matches for both performance and atmosphere - if we can play as good as that for the rest of the season, we'll do very alright for ourselves.

So in conclusion, Janners, Heffers et al that result was for you. Finally that ghost has been laid to rest somewhat.

Next up for us is a trip to Burton Albion next week, a team against whom the Daggers haven't lost since 2003. Here's hoping we can extend the unbeaten run in the league and our winning streak. I'll be there as well, so hopefully I'll be able to report on another Daggers win!

My final word however, goes to the Daggers Supporters Club. The Programme shop was burned down during the night which means a large part of club history has been lost. I’m sure you’re all with me when I say if there were a collection to try and raise funds or something of that ilk, you’ll donate. Hopefully the culprits will be found and prosecuted.

Remember to follow me on Twitter, @NickDRFCMurphy.