Saturday, 30 October 2010

It's Like Chelsea v Man U (but in Essex)

I have said this before and I will say it again, I love the Essex Senior Cup! Something about this little county cup gets me all excited and I was genuinely disappointed when we got knocked out in the semi's last season. So when we were handed a home draw to Colchester United (the self same team that had dumped us out last year) I had mixed feelings. See the thing I love about the ESC is those away days to non-league clubs. So while knocking out Colchester would certainly give me a  nice feeling of revenge, getting knocked out would mean no away days to small Essex clubs and with Grays, Harlow, Canvey, Barking, Romford etc still in the competition I would most disappointed.

Tuesday 26th October - Colchester United - Essex Senior Cup (home)

MrsMetalDagger got in from work just as I was preparing our dinner, my Daggers shirt was drying on the radiator and I was walking around in an old t-shirt and my blue Daggers shorts. Excitement was in the air, tonight we dine in Essex!! (or summin'). With two chicken fajitas well and truly eaten and shorts replaced with combats and cheap shirt replaced with home colours we were ready to leave. We waited at Upney station for Jerk' to get home from his days work as a brain surgeon. His train arrived and in an act of supreme athleticism we ran down to the last carriage where he was sitting. Once aboard pleasantries were exchanged as was a sip of rum and coke, nice!

We pulled into Dagenham East and it was fairly obvious we weren't in for a packed house tonight, from what I could see no one else on our train was here for the Essex derby. Straight into the clubhouse I saw nearly all of my match day crowd were there and I finally got to meet Anthony72 in person. With a quick pint quaffed, we headed for the Carling Stand (the only available stand for the night). We found some seats just as the game was kicking off and sat down for what was gonna be a pretty exciting match.


Looking at the team I noticed Phil Walsh was playing as a centre back and it looked like Danny J Green was playing upfront next to Josh Scott. Straight away this looked like it was going to be an attacking game, with both teams looking to load the ball into the box from crosses and long balls as well as some nice runs. it was sometime in the first 10 minutes that WalesDagger mentioned that he thought that Luke Wilkinson’s hair looked a little feminine or some such, which caused the woman and her 2 girls in the row in front to wheel round and introduce themselves as Mrs Wilkinson and her 2 daughters! So now we had 2 forms of entertainment; one was a football game, the second was watching a red faced Welshman back peddle faster than the Bulgarian international reverse-unicycle team going downhill backwards!

The Sieve, empty - spoooooky!

Luckily Luke's mum is a very reasonable woman and laughed at our embarrassed friend.
About half hour had gone when Josh Scott shot from the edge of the box into the net to make it 1-0 to the Daggers and although Colchester were far from lying down and letting us win, we seemed to be in the mood to get through the round. Colchester nearly scored when a freekick hit the bar and the resulting rebound was headed over the goal. With 10 minutes left in the half, me and Jerk' made a beeline for the burgers to avoid the rush. Back to our seats with one of Dagenham's patented "Fookin tasty" burgers and a cuppa in hand we watched the final 5 minutes of the first half. So far it was looking pretty good for this year’s county cup campaign. The second half started and the Daggers came flying out of the traps looking for goal number two and Colchester kept on looking for that elusive equaliser. So far in this game I had been impressed with quite a few of our 2nd string players, Billy Bingham seems to have a good solid shot on him for a midfielder, Danny J Green looks like he will run his nuts off to get to a ball and his work on the ball doesn’t look to shabby either. Darren Currie looked like the veteran player on the pitch, what he may have lost in pace he made up for with good footwork, good decision making and neat passes. it was a joy to watch the younger opposition players stare dumbfounded at the patch of grass where the ball was half a second ago as Darren was 2 feet behind them whipping in a ball. Chris Lewington continues to impress me as a good shot stopper and improves with every game.

the Carling Stand, Packed to the rafters ^_^

Back to the game; at 70 minutes it was looking like we could shut out United and walk out with at least a 1-0. But Colchester were looking to repeat last season and finally found the net on the 78th minute when Medy Elito crossed the ball in for Ian Henderson to tuck in. 1-1.
After what seemed like quite a long 10 minutes the whistle blew and everyone got lined up for extra time. The match was looking very level as both teams battled for the winning goal and just before the end of the first half of extra time DJ Green struck from the left and past the outstretched United 'keeper, 2-1 to the Daggers. At this time Jerk and a couple of the others disappeared for a smoke (they left the gate open for smokers on this occasion). By the time they had sat back down Anthony Wordsworth had scored an equaliser for the visitors. 2-2. With only minutes left Dagenham were awarded a corner which Graeme Montgomery whipped in, out of nowhere came Mrs Wilkinsons baby boy to smack the ball into a goal, Well if WalesDagger hadn't already eaten his words, he was gonna have to now! We congratulated Mrs Wilkinson for giving birth to our latest scorer and the game continued.
The clock counted down and Colchester hoofed the ball forward hoping to find a forward in a good position, on 120 minute a ball flew out to the right side of Lewington's box and as he scrambled to grab the ball caught Joe Martin and brought him down in the box, the referee pointed straight at the spot and it was looking like this game was going to penalties! Liam Henderson stepped up to the spot, He kicked the ball, Lewington dived to the right, the ball hit the crossbar and went over!! Lewington took the goal kick and the referee blew the final whistle. Dagenham and Redbridge had made it to round four and for those that missed that moment here is a video.

I think all in all the 200+ Daggers that attended can be pretty happy with a win in a match between the 2 highest placed teams in this competition.


Glory and many good non-league ties await!!


Next - Hartlepool, and then I’m off to see family and a football game in Southampton!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Big Bumper Blog

Once again I am late with this blog, sorry people I shall punish myself later by eating a large kebab. So as an apology I am presenting a bumper blog. Also Mr JerkFromTheCoach will be doing some more writing for us so between the two of us you should never have to miss a rambling hung-over rant of any match! Also some new things for you to read and new ideas will be coming to this site. So stay tuned, but for now I shall start where we last left off.

Monday 11th October- West Ham XI (Lee Goodwin Testimonial) - Home

Me, The Missus and The Father-in-Law all jumped on the tube from Upney to Daggy East. I'd been looking forward to this match, a chance to see some old faces and with the chance of a taking a win off of a strong West Ham team would be (although pretty meaningless) a little bit of boost to my morale after our trip to stadium:MK. Leaving the station I noticed a higher than average "little oik" count, sadly one of the side effects of cheaper tickets for games like this. A quick visit to the cash machine in the newsagents we made for the club house and the pints therein. Inside with pints in hand we sat down for a little chat, WalesDagger Nikos, Mikins and Gemma joined us and we sunk a few and conversed before heading to the sieve for the battle of the day!


The Daggers took to the pitch in a Red shirt and the normal home shorts and the game kicked off. Within the minute the Hammers reminded us that they are actually a premier league club when When Benni McCarthy hit the net. 1-0 to West Ham. I know it was only a friendly and all that but I must admit to feeling the slightest bit of warmth under my collar hearing all the West Ham around me fans cheer for the goal. Suddenly I found myself really wanting to have something to cheer about, after all this was our terrace and if anyone should cheer from it, it should be us!! Half time came and a casual crossbar challenge was held as people Lined up for their burgers.


The second half brought something for the Red and Blue army to cheer. On the Hour Josh Scott ran past two of the Hammers defenders and smacked it in. A bigger cheer than before went up as we celebrated the equaliser, a chant of "WHO ARE YA?!" started but with no real idea where we should point!
Then a whole gaggle of substitutions were made, including bringing on Danny J Green (or Danny Green II, The Revenge!) so with two Danny Greens on the pitch me and my little group got to sing the song we had been waiting to sing since we heard we were signing our right wingers name sake. Although I cannot claim authorship of said song (I know it was someone on the old forum, to them I am thankful) it goes thus; *ahem* "One plays on the left, One plays on the riiiiiiight, we’ve got 2 Danny Greens, It's confusing as shite!" So to whoever it was that planted the seed of that song in my brain, I thank you! 5 minutes after our equaliser West Ham scored again, this time it was Freddie Sears who put it in the net to make it 2-1 and my heart sank just a little as the Hammers around me cheered. This was only made worse when Piquionne headed a corner into the goal to make it 3-1. But we Daggers had one last thing to cheer when West Ham keeper Ruud Boffin fumbled in the area to allow DJ Green to turn in a consolation goal. [Insert world cup related West Ham goalkeepers joke here] 3-2. With only a couple of minutes left on the clock all the Old boys came on. Although I would have liked them to come on earlier it was still nice to see some of the old guard. Every player that came on was treated to a cheer and a classic terrace song  as west ham looked on and realised despite the result, this day was never about them. As the match was ended Lee Goodwin lead the team round the pitch to recieve their applause and we said a farewell to a Daggers legend. 


So not a bad match at all, West Ham were very gracious to send out such a strong team and i hope Lee made a nice fat wedge of cash to look after himself and his nearest. Also despite it being a friendly we saw some good performances and i was pleased to see Scott score, maybe this could kick start his scoring this season! The only sore point was seeing people getting hauled out by the police for  various acts of stupidity, one of which i hear was a coin throwing . Seems a bit pointless for a friendly, but hey, what do I know?


Saturday rolled round and so did the inside of my head, I was severely hung over after a little bit of a heavy night (and day) out previously. I was woken by MrsMetalDagger and got myself ready for the day ahead but I wasn't going to today’s clash against Walsall, I was going to Kent to celebrate my little sisters 13th birthday! I may not have been going to the match, but I knew someone who was!

Saturday 16th October - Walsall - Home

A Match Retort (words by JerkFromTheCoach)

My day began bright and early with a rare outing to work on a weekend.  I can pretty much say that this was the most eventful part of the day for me.  Tube issues in the morning meant I had driven to Rainham to take the C2C to work, and thus was unable to have a drink before or after the game too – which didn’t really go a long way to help things.
We arrived at the ground just after kick off, and made our way into The Sieve, and to be frank I was quite hopeful of getting three points against a side who were struggling at the wrong end of the table along with us.  Watching us up front at the moment can seem a bit like watching that show where the contestants have to bend themselves into all kinds of shapes as a wall travels toward them – invariably more often than not they don’t go through the hole, and get knocked back out and into a pool of water.  Now our shots don’t get knocked into a pool of water, but the shape of the goal is a lot easier to aim for than some of those body bending contortions – however you’d not think it by looking at our strikers scoring record.  That’s something that I find quite concerning at present.  Whilst I admire Bas Savage and his ability to hold up the ball (though his ability in the air for a big fella is questionable), it’s really not that much of a bonus if the players he is supporting shoot with less power or accuracy than an opposing defenders pass back.  We are desperately in need of someone who is able to score, or at least make their goalkeeper sweat a little – and we are lacking anyone who will try and have a go from outside the box at present too. Combined, these factors really mean we aren’t looking dangerous, and aren’t finding goals from the players who should be scoring.

The Daggers took the lead through a Darren Currie header following some good work from Danny Green on the right.  As seems to be the way with us at the moment though, we found the lead too hard to hold onto and allowed Martin Devaney time to strike from the edge of the box to equalise and ensure that both sides went away with what neither of us really needed – one point.  It’s these home games, against sides similarly placed to us that we really need to be taking 3 points from.
Further note, I thought that for probably the third or fourth game in a row the standard of refereeing was just awful. I really fail to see how so many decisions can be so blatantly wrong.  It’s often easy to blame the referee or his assistants when things aren’t going your way – and whilst things currently are not going our way, I’d be saying this even if things were.  We don’t need the bad fortune brought on by a low standard referee at the moment, it’s not helping our cause - with referees at the moment we are having less luck than a ginger stepchild, but judging by how often it’s said, I sincerely doubt we are alone in that, and the standard as a whole is really something that needs looking at.
In the end, probably 1-1 was about what we deserved, we got very lucky toward the end when a ball trickled against the woodwork in slow motion was cleared to safety.

So two points dropped, not one gained definitely.


Well another week of everyday normal life came and went until Saturday arrived once again. And once again the action was going to happen without me with a trip to Southampton to finance and the long hard act of saving for Bah Humbug already underway I knew I couldn't afford the trip to Rochdale!
But luckily by the time I had dragged my carcass from the warm comforting grasp of tangled sheets there was already rubber being burned on the M1 by Mr FromTheCoach who was already well into an away day adventure that included; snakes, tailbacks, high speeds, Diversions and about 60 minutes of  a football match!!                  Over to you Jerk!

Saturday 23rd October - Rochdale - Away
Another Match Retort (words by JerkFromTheCoach)

What a day what a day – and not an especially good one luck-wise.  I did a mini cross country run which saw my early morning jaunt toward Acneland, the home of Rochdale broken up into three separate stages involving a road to nowhere with a drop of twenty feet either side and two huge ditches my reward should I lose control, a collection of some of the most bizarre looking and obviously related people in a village, and a Boa Constrictor.  The action packed day began for me at 07:30 when I made my way to the car to begin the first stage of my journey north.  This leg of it would see me travel east of Peterborough to collect a Boa Constrictor, along the above mentioned road to nowhere (I swear I saw a sign that said “Welcome To the Land Of The Nearly-Living”) and through countless villages with roads bumpier than a cystic lepers arm, and inhabited by the strangest looking people this side of Kent.  I cannot stress enough how quickly I got out of there after collecting the snake, I felt like some sort of hero too liberating him from that madness he was born into.  The Sat Nav informed me I was to arrive into Nottingham, my drop off point for the snake, at around midday.  Plenty of time I thought for the trip onward to Rochdale.  I made reasonable time and ended up arriving into Nottingham after passing The City Ground,  The Cricket Stadium, and some prison-esque stadium in a poor area where I am told a team called ‘Notts County’ have played since 1336, at around 12:05. The snake was duly dropped off to a very grateful young lady, money was exchanged…….(Jesus, reading that bit back sounds seedy), and I immediately left to get into Rochdale as soon as possible.  Up until then the roads had given my plenty of luck, were running free and smoothly, and had me feeling like lady luck was shining down on me and smiling fondly, as if proud of my achievements.
Then, lady luck started to frown and spit in my face.  Rain clouds gathered, winds began to howl, and I realised I was close to Rotherham, and belting it up the M1 at 80 (read 70mph if you are a police officer).  Disaster struck amidst the rain and cloud, as my Sat Nav decided to turn white and stop working.  When something goes wrong, everything goes wrong.  Looking back, I should have turned back as a result was never going to go our way with things being this bad – but onward I ploughed.  I decided to switch Sat Nav off and to head West from Leeds and onto Manchester’s version of the M25, which amazingly, is largely traffic-free every time I use it.  I guess the locals are too busy recording Oasis-worship indie music in their cellars to be driving.  I made it in the end to Acneland with five minutes of the game gone.


I should have stayed away.
My first gripe came at the turnstile.  A fee of £20 was required for entry into the ground.  For a League One club comparable in stature to our own, I think this is too expensive – and it shows when a crowd of 2600 are in a 10,000 all seater stadium – which I do have to say, is one of my favourite grounds to visit.  The view is decent, the leg room good, the stewards aren’t too heavy when it comes to people standing.  Furthermore the locals in and around the ground are a realistic, friendly bunch, and are very welcoming.  On that, Rochdale would score a 10/10.
Dagenham away can be a frustrating team to watch sometimes.  Some weeks ago, we had performed fantastically well at Charlton and at Colchester  – only to travel to MK Dons and play like a team who’d been thrown together on the morning of the game.  Rochdale picked up where MK Dons had left off, and we went in at half time 2-0 down.  The refreshments at half time didn’t exist, beer wasn’t served, and only one kind of pie was available – apparently due to the turnout, which in fairness, isn’t how it should be, we paid the same money as the other 22 teams who go there will have to pay, if they want to take away from us the essentials then they could drop our ticket price accordingly, at the end of the day we aren’t getting the entire package for the £20 we paid, are we?
Second half came round soon enough, and back out we went.  After a decent break from us, Rochdale hit us with the counter attack 60 minutes in and went 3-0 up.  Game over.  A number left after seeing that goal go in, myself being one of them.  This is nothing to do with turning our backs on the team, but there is no reason why we should be expected to sit there when the team doesn’t turn up.  If we are in this together then we all have to be there, and as they weren’t on the pitch that was enough.  I hope that it helped give them a bit of a kick-start, soon after leaving we got a goal back from Damien Scannell, and then a further goal from Mark Arber.  The score remained 3-2 – but from what I had seen before leaving, Rochdale should have been home and dry.  Again, to me these are the sort of games we should be taking something from.  A point would have been useful, but we returned home with nothing.
I arrived back into Dagenham a full 25 hours after leaving for Rochdale.  The evening was spent with some Rochdale fans in The Church, a pub next to the ground.  The journey home after diversions, accidents, more diversions and so on took a whopping 9.5 hours to complete. 

It has to be said, this was not one of the best away days I have ever been on…


As I couldn't go to the match I listened to it on the Daggers Player and it didn’t make for the most pleasant listening, once the third Rochdale goal went in I closed the window and decided to play FIFA on the Xbox instead, where I proceeded to get knocked out of the league cup by Fulham. Out of curiosity I decided to check on the forums to see what was happening and to my surprise found we had closed the gap with 2 goals. I decided to leave the player off hoping somehow that would help as if my not listening somehow made the Daggers score. Sadly it wasn't meant to be. 
So before we close this rather long page of text and little pictures I have a couple of footnotes.

1, Well, Sunday was the FA cup first round draw, and I watched on the edge of my seat and was greeted by some rather pleasing news, first Helen Chamberlain yanked our ball out of the pot, giving us a home tie! (Finally!) Then Fat Boy Slim (who I’ve heard is mid coitus in the afterlife) handed us what could at least financially be one of the best ties for us to have, Leyton Orient! So naturally I am very excited about the possibility of a packed house local-derby cup-tie! And while it would be certainly foolish to think we're going to walk over our neighbours I have to say I really hope we stomp a metaphorical mud-hole in them and move on with £18,000 in prize money plus any gate receipts in the clubs pocket.

2 ,Today see's our first match in one of my favourite part of the season; The Essex Senior Cup!! Yes I know it's not the biggest and most prestigious but it's a nice local pride cup, we get a chance to play some of our old rivals, check out our second string team and it is (at £6 to get in) a bargain.  Also as we have drawn Colchester (in the cups battle of the giants) we get a chance to dump out the team we lost the semi final to last year. So Colchester, I’m gonna cheer on our boys and hope for a measure of revenge!

So we are gonna finally bid you farewell till next time.



Next - It's the battle of the white trainers and fake tan; yep it's the Essex Senior Cup!!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Better Late Than Never

OK yes, I know, maybe I’ve been avoiding it, maybe I’m just a little bit lazy. But I’m here and I’m finally sitting down and writing this up. So let's get this over with

Saturday 9th October - MK Dons - Away

I woke up looking forward to the relatively local away day. Dragging my carcass from the warmth of my bed I put my green shirt, sat down with a tea and put soccerAM on. MrsMetalDagger and her family left for the joys of lakeside so I was on my own today. I warmed up a pasty and watched as the TV showed me Bas Savage celebrating with a moonwalk to the tune of "Smooth Criminal". With pasty polished off and Chris Kamara getting footballs fired at his arse at 70mph on the telly I saw Ian (my lift) pull up outside. I jumped into the car and we sped away to pick up Mitch then on to Stadium MK. Getting to Milton Keynes was pretty easy, But once there it took us a while to find the actual ground. Ian had heard that it was well sign posted from the motorway but the first sign we saw was a picture of a football with an arrow but by then we could already see the ground!!



As we pulled into the car park I noticed that there had been a lot of development since I was last here. The car park was now nearly completely tarmaced and there were now more places to eat than the nearby ASDA. We were directed by some stewards to an area with more stewards, one of these stewards then directed us away from the tarmac and made us park on what looked like the only bit of muddy un-layed car park!

The muddy car park

Now out of the car we all felt the need for a beverage, with no other real options locally we headed for "the Red Dot Bar" as Mitch got a round in I took in the surroundings. Well you can tell the cash has been splashed in stadium:MK, the bar had the feel of a trendy wine bar or a yuppie sports bar, you know the kind, usually found in canary wharf frequented by soulless suits with pink shirts and far too much money. Not saying it wasn't nice, but I’m used to our club house and I’m used to usually being able to sit down, this bar was desperately low on seats (maybe they could borrow some of the unneeded ones from in the stadium!).Conversation pre-game was reflecting the positive mood in the daggers fan base and the recent good results had lifted spirits After a few pints I was up for the match and maybe a little more pissed than I normally would have been (oh well). So we made our way to the ticket office via the cash machine outside ASDA, picked up our tickets and headed to the turnstiles.

Silent Hill, Packed to the rafters as always!

Once inside the pang of hunger had hit, so a quick trip to the hot food outlet was in order. I ordered a cheese burger; it was a sorry looking biscuit of meat that I proceeded to smother in garlic mayo. After eating the burger I was still starving and I had beer to soak up, so Ian suggested a hotdog and I have to say that was far more enjoyable that the burger! We took our seats as the teams came out, the first half was a comparatively tepid affair but the atmosphere was pretty good with our away boys in good song and in a "taking the piss" mood both teams had their chances with 2 of our best coming from Danny Green long throws. Then Luke Chadwick's shot deflected off of the Daggers defence and Lewis Guy ran for the loose ball and Robbo ran for it too, sadly for us he got Guy instead and before the MK player could hit the deck we knew the result. The referee pointed at the spot Jermaine Easter stepped up and put it wide!!!  We cheered like it was a goal, although it looked like Robbo may (and I stress "may") have got to it anyway I will never complain about the other team missing a penalty! The half time whistle blew and the teams went to the dressing room the score 0-0. A quick toilet break and a plastic bottle of Stella later (nice one Danny!) and I was back in my seat. I knew that if we stepped up like we did against Swindon, we could walk out with a win or at very least a point.

Within 5 minutes the Gaffer brought off Gavin Tomlin for Stuart Lewis a move John Still later said was an effort to "get our wide men higher" but sadly at 55 minutes substitute Sam Baldock was found with a cutting through ball and when he found he had no support drilled the ball past Robbo at the near post, 1-0 to MK. Despite it being a fairly even game the mood in the away end changed, I think we all expected some kind of point from this one and the songs were not as freely flowing as they had been in the first half. Danny green had a go from Long range which took a deflection but MK keeper David Martin did well to keep it out.  on the hour MK had a corner, Angelo Balanta sent the ball over the box which was headed back into the box by Dietmar Hamann and met by Doumbe's head and into the net 62 minutes, 2-0 to the "Dons" There was some more football played after this point and Greeny nearly gave us a consolation but it wasn't meant to be. Just as the full time whistle went I was already walking up the stairs heading for fresh air.

Looking back I shouldn't have been as disappointed as I was at the time, I think I just got my hopes up a little bit too much. But anyway, after that we made our way back to the bar for a little pick me up. After our second pint (but not for Ian, he was being a responsible driver!) we were informed that the bar would be closing!! The feeling of confusion must have been plastered all over our faces because we were then informed that we could continue to drink in the even swankier upstairs bar, so in the lift we jumped (with another Ian now in our group), and boy was the swankier bar even swankier than the swanky bar we had just left.


So posh it has a ballroom!!

Lush sofa's and carpets were the order of the day, so with my next lager in hand we sat on a comfy couch and chatted about the game then someone (not sure who) noticed there was an Xbox 360, which I noticed had a brand new copy of FIFA 11 being played on it. So once the local kids had left it my Alcohol addled brain decided that the only way for me to avenge today’s loss was to play FIFA 11 and beat MK dons with the Daggers!! So with Mitch Ian and Ian cheering me on I partook in an epic battle which ended 2-1 to the Daggers! Then after just for the hell of it I Beat West Ham 7-0 because I can! If only real life was me playing FIFA eh? With pride restored I polished off my drink and said goodbye to the swankier Bar. The journey back was filled with loud drunken conversation, with most of the loudest and drunkest probably coming from me. So now I will say thank you and apologise to Ian for putting up with us drunkards and driving us there and back, well me anyway.

Well we had something to cheer afterall

We dropped off Other Ian and Mitch at the Crown in Romford and popped in for a quick pint as well, there was a covers band on playing an assortment of "poppy" goodness. There were loads of other daggers there and Mark told me not to let tonight’s band reflect on the venue as they usually have some good rock bands on. In between songs the bassist of said band started playing the Bass line from "seven Nation Army" by the White Stripes, it was then I realised how many Daggers there were in the bar as "We're the red and blue army!!!" filled the air. Pint finished, back to the car it is then. I was driven back to my front door via the kebab shop. Once indoors I ate the rather tasty kebab, had a rather large glass of Jagermiester and then passed out face down on my pillow.

drunk in the posh lift

All in all despite the result I had a pretty damn good Saturday!!

Chin up boys!! And UP THE DAGGERS!!!


Next - The Lee Goodwin Testimonial and then it's Walsall

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Swindon get Savaged!

I was woken by the sound of my 2 year old nephew screaming my name as he had just realised I was still in the house. I sat up on my fold away bed and rubbed my eyes and surveyed the situation. I was at my sisters gaff and I was now awake, I was still tired after the late night before hand but  I was already thinking about the quickest way home so I could get some breakfast down me an get changed before the game. So with a rucksack stuffed with an Xbox and a carrier bag of Halloween novelty items I made my way home. Today was going to be the hardest home game so far so I needed fuel!

Saturday 3rd October - Swindon Town - Home

Once home I had a cup of tea and swallowed my medication for morning, (as I mentioned previously I am due a root canal so I’m on antibiotics) I switched on SoccerAM and finally got to see Bas do the moonwalk at Colchester. Nick had told me he would be at the Clubhouse at about midday but as I couldn't drink (antibiotics!!) I wasn't so keen to sit in the clubhouse for 3 hours with only a coke to cradle. So instead I sat on my arse and watched the rest of SoccerAM.

Once I got the motivation together we headed for the ground, luckily the tube was actually working on the Barking to Upminster section for a change so at least I would have a nice short journey. Stepping on the train who do I see sitting down with a giant kit bag, stitches and a black eye? None other than our top scorer of the season so far; Mr Romain Vincelot. We shared a nod and I let him get back to listening to his mp3 player. As we alighted at Dagenham East I snatched a quick conversation with the very approachable Frenchman where he told us he was ok to play that day and that he didn't remember scoring the goal. Looking at the damage to his eyebrow it looked like it must have been very sore, but he said it was all better now even if he did have a whacking black eye with it too. Wishing him good luck we left the station and headed for the newsagents to get some cash.

Once in the clubhouse chatting with fellow Daggers I felt a little out of place surrounded by what I knew were tasty pints of lager while I was cradling a small coke! Looking around one thing was very apparent; there was a lot of Swindon about, it seems like they had taken up the smaller main room completely and they were spread out on most of the tables in the big hall too, it was becoming clear this was quite possibly the biggest club that had been to Victoria Road (suck on that Notts!) I'm getting used to being nervous about games in this league so it seems a bit pointless to mention it.

Unimpressed by Coke

It's amazing how slow the time can go without a pint in hand so I was glad when it became time to head for the turnstiles. I ducked into the club shop to have a look at the jackets (winter is nearing after all!) then walked round the terrace towards the middle of the sieve. Looking at the Marcus James stand it was noticeably full which instantly explained the amount of Swindon fans in the Daggers bar!  
The kick off was one us Daggers would probably rather forget because 47 seconds into the game Michael Rose crossed the ball onto the head of Thomas Dossevi who flicked it into the top corner of the net. 1 minute into the game and we were 1-0 down, things were not looking good! And for the first ten minutes we looked a little lost at sea with Swindon testing Robbo again. Bas Savage nearly made it 1-1 when Gavin Tomlin found his newly red and blue dyed head, but sadly David Lucas managed to push it wide of the post. Then it looked like we should have been awarded a penalty when it seems Tomlin was pushed over in the box by Sean Morrison but it was waved of as nothing. At this point the referee and nearest lino were in for a lot of stick, especially when Rose got away with (what to us seemed) a harsh tackle on Danny Green (no doubt a slice of revenge for a similar iffy tackle by Green on Rose) considering Greeny had received a card for the same thing earlier the least we could hope for was some consistency! McCrory also created a chance but Lucas dived at his feet to smother the ball. The Half time whistle blew and although we had definitely picked up the pace I couldn't help but feel we would rue letting in that early goal. Despite the lower attendance (West Ham were home!) the atmosphere was pretty good, it seemed everyone wanted to continue noise we had made at both Charlton and Colchester.

The start to the second half was much more to the liking of the red and blue army 3 minutes in Tomlin set Damien Scannell free who put a lovely ball through the legs of Kevin Amankwaah and into the far bottom corner past the outstretched Lucas. 1-1 and the sieve rocked as we all hugged and cheered! I think we're all enjoying the goals we get as much as possible because they aren't going to be as easy to get in this league and to us a goal against Swindon was a big thing! Swindon was not out of this yet though and they attacked but the Daggers defence held strong. Scannell nearly netted another after a nice one-two with Tomlin put him one on one with the Swindon keeper but a very good save from Lucas kept it out and Damien was quite animatedly frustrated. It was very nice to see Scannell doing so well, his injury seems to be behind him and his fitness seems to be at match levels, if he plays every match like he did that match we can expect good things from the former Southend man. As if to prove my point Scannell stole the ball off of Amankwaah on the edge of the Swindon box and hit a right-footer just over the far corner, Dagenham were definitely signalling their intent and they intended to win!

The break finally came when Swindon’s defence let a Danny Green throw bounce in the box, Bas Savage was the man to latch onto it, turn and Bash it into the goal and the sieve went nuts again! 2-1 to the Daggers and 10 minutes to play!! Now I was nervous these last 10 minutes were going to be hell to watch.  With Swindon now looking like they could leave with nothing they seemed to switch on again and started attacking and every missed shot, tackle or save was met with nervous but excited applause, we didn't want anything fancy, we just didn't want that ball to go past Robbo and into the net and I think we all collectively shat a brick (for want of a better expression) when Alan O'Brien found Jon-Paul McGovern unmarked in the middle of the box. McGovern hit a beautiful strike and I knew it was going in, his position and the placement of the shot was far too good and the ball sailed into... the outstretched fingers of Tony Roberts who pushed the shot up and over the bar making an amazing save! And boy did we cheer, our absolute legend of a goalie had just kept us in it with a winning save before turning round, hands on hips and gesturing to the crowd "4-1" and then went on to safely grasp a McGovern header with the body language of a player on top form. The referee finally blew the whistle and a mighty cheer went up, the little team from Dagenham had beaten last year’s play-offs finalists and we were there to see it. We heartily clapped the boys off of the pitch and made our way to the exits, a group of very happy Daggers.


On the way out of the ground I ducked into the programme shop to pick up the programme for the last Charlton game (which I somehow forgot on the day) on my way to the exit Bas was siging autographs for the kids so i called to him "hey Bas, Give us a smile!" and snapped a quick pic of our latest hero.
Bas Savage, Red and Blue, Through and Through!

outside I chatted with fellow Daggers as we all took the moment to enjoy the win. Waiting outside we saw Robbo and congratulated him on that awesome save then as I couldn't drink and needed food before I could take more antibiotics I decided to go home, looking forward to watching the highlights on the Football League show.

It's starting to look like the Dagenham & Redbridge brand of attacking football is starting to catch even the biggest of League 1 teams out and long may it continue! But I do have to ask, "Damien, What's this all about?"





Next - A trip to the ground I like to call "Silent Hill"

Sunday, 3 October 2010


So after counting the pennies I realised I couldn't afford to get to Colchester for this game so I resigned myself to listening to yet another game I really wanted to go to! So with a beer in hand and a headphone in my lug'ole I sat down for what had to be the most intense game to listen to at home!
So as is the fashion of the time, I am gonna hand you over to JerkFromTheCoach for a look at the Essex Derby!

Tuesday 28th September - Colchester United - Away
A match retort (by JerkFromTheCoach)

So, here we are. A nice Essex derby for us to sink our teeth into with a club showing immense ambition with the new stadium, and having had a superb unbeaten start to the season.
After a hard day of sleeping until 11am, and doing nothing from then on, I made my way to meet friends at around 4pm, looking forward to this encounter maybe a tad more than any game we had played thus far at this level. I had to stop myself numerous times from licking my lips at the prospect of a local derby against our Essex kin from Colchester. At least, that was, until there was no longer any sugar on my lips. In fact, in fairness, I was probably just licking the sugar for its sweet sweet taste – but I felt it’d make a good start to this write up, so there you have it.

The five of us set off for an adventure in the deepest darkest country. Travelling with me was Dick, my border colli…..hang on a second, that’s not my story at all.
…anyhow, we set off at around 5:15pm, and to be fair we probably should have driven through Hornchurch (I thought I’d be the first to say it – private joke I guess, but included nonetheless) as the traffic through Romford wasn’t the best. Still, I suppose it could have been worse, after getting through the tangled mess around North Street we hit the open road and managed to not get stuck en route to the ground thereon. At least not that I can remember. It all seemed pretty plain sailing. Being that it was around rush hour I expected there to be a bit more of a fight getting into Essex but this was never to be thankfully. Other people arrived at the ground late (kudos to the lads who got an old school rush of blood to the head and went to Layer Road instead on the spanking new Western Communist Phones stadium), some giving details of traffic issues in the Gallows Corner area which for some reason we managed to clear within around 8 seconds. I would say that we timed it just right, but not being a confident fellow, I think that everyone else just timed it wrong. This man knows his plastic cup is half empty.

Sampling the Western Communist Phones Stadium for the first time, I have to say I was quite impressed by it aesthetically, and the experience was good for me, save the price of refreshments and foodstuff which seemed more than a touch OTT given that they are a club realistically not much bigger than ourselves whichever way you look at it. The price of the car park (actually, read car swamp, I thought it would have been a nice gesture of them to lay on some towels for when we got out of that swamp to save fungal infection rates sky rocketing) could have been a bit more reasonable too. I suppose though, that this is how a club like Colchester makes extra money these days. Build a new ground well out of town forcing people to basically buy your beer and food, and pay to park in your car park because there are no further options available. I’d be interested to see what their fans think of it.
Toilets were clean, well presented, and everything you expect from a new stadium – i.e. they flushed and locked.


Upon taking our seats, one couldn’t help but notice the big empty gapes where people probably were expected to be sitting when the stadium went through its planning phase. In fact, I think we had been moved from the Away stand to an area at the end of one of the home stands. I can see why clubs do it, but I don’t really like it. As it goes, the view was superb. I thought it was quite roomy too. All in all, for a flat pack, run of the mill new ground, I thought it ranked quite highly.
So, to kick off. After the curse of the green kit was quashed down at Charlton, and a superb second half display in which we were unlucky to come away with just a point at the end, I think a lot of people had high hopes for this. I won’t use the word expectation as we all know we are Dagenham. If we go down but go down fighting and the lads give us the usual 100% I’ll be happy – I don’t think anyone would argue that. We have more than enough quality to mix it up here in League One, and I think we are starting to show that. A bright start from us saw us performing the usual high tempo game, but with the same purpose we showed in the second half at the Valley – all credit to the boys on the pitch, and further applause goes to those around me in the crowd who once again managed to make a helluva racket constantly throughout. [FMD – I could hear you all on the commentary!! Are you sure there were any Colchester fans there?]

Quarter of an hour in and we got what we deserved. One nil up in the Iron Curtain Stadium, and Bas Savage moonwalking off into the distance. Great to see him get his first goal under his belt, tapping in from a couple of yards out after a ball in from Tomlin. Unfortunately it wasn’t to last the entire half, Colchester did have their own chances in the first half, though I felt we edged it. A couple of minutes before half time, Colchester levelled through a well taken goal by Vincent. A further chance for Dagenham at the end of the half again falling to Bas Savage went agonisingly wide of Cousins’ goal, and we went in at half time all square at 1-1, but with our heads held high. We were playing well.

During the break we were treated to what Gareth Gates [FMD – Isn’t he dead?] will become in the future, when Colchester’s announcer s-s-stuttered his way through his a-a-announcements, which I have to admit I found a little tedious as I do with all games. I don’t know why we can’t just have a little funky music so that those of the persuasion can do a little body popping before the game recommences. Okay, so that never happens when we do get music, but we live in hope.

Second half time upon us, Colchester were much more lively and created a good amount of chances, I don’t think it was undeserved that they managed to put another in the back of Robbo’s goal, at the same time though I can’t say we deserved to be a goal down. The crowd continued to get fully behind the team, with the same song continuing before, during, and after Colchester scoring (and giving us the most bellended goal celebration ever when they all ran along waving at the empty stand in a tepid attempt at humour. Face it lads, nothing is going to be as funny as those poxy U’s gnomes they sell, is it? We got a deserved equaliser through Romain ‘Je Mal A La Tet’ Vincelot, who I think worried us all when he just dropped to the ground showing no movement whatsoever on 72 minutes. [FMD - It was about this time I texted Jerk’ to find out if it was as bad as it was described, to which he replied “it was horrible”]. Nearly ten minutes, and a lot of medical attention from a lot of different people passed before thankfully he was on his feet and walked off the pitch. During this time, Colchester fans started singing, which wasn’t taken well by us – but I have since read that no offence was intended by it (the timing was poor though) and he got a standing ovation from all fou…..three sides of the ground. Some bloke called Magnus also went off, but que sera sera…my tongue is in cheek when I type that. [FMD - anyone who clashes heads with Magnus and lives to tell the tale is double ‘ard!]

The game at times was like ping pong in the boxes, Colchester had a couple of great late chances striking the post and having a ball cleared off the goal line – we are starting to show the sort of fight we will need to stay in League One, and long may it go on!
Upon the final whistle, I was pleased with the point, a point on the road to an unbeaten team in a derby game is a decent result for a newly promoted side.
So off we trudged, through the swamp and back to the car to sit there doing nothing for half an hour while Colchester versions of the Chuckle Brothers tried to work out how to get people out….and then seemed to just disappear having left the job three quarters not-done.

So that’s that.
Remember people, in Soviet Colchester – game decides you!

Thank you Jerk-miester!
You’ve now made me wish I had been there even more. Sooooooo "bums" to you!
Good report though ^_^

And as a little treat, here is Bas doing the moonwalk, because every other highlight cut it off!

Also I’d like to introduce a new video segment I call “Loan Watch” this time we have Phil Walsh scoring a screamer for Barnet! (edit - i don't know why youtube insists on showing this in windscreen, the original video file doesn't cut the bottom off! oh well all new things have teething problems!)

So with that I have nearly caught up with everything after the week off due to the bad tooth (root canal this Thursday!!) I will write up the Swindon game very soon.
Up the Daggers!!


Next – Swindon go home with NOTHING!