Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The Return of The Prodigal Son

 Tuesday 1st February - Brentford - Home
Words by JerkFromTheCoach

The bible is open to interpretation, and also, since being forced as a child to study it I have to admit much of it I have forgotten, so I shall have to fill in the blanks as I go along, please bear with me. The book is also comparable to Dagenham & Redbridge in some ways. Mainly because I have a beard and can walk through puddles without drowning (rumours I catch fish and share my sandwiches out though are unconfirmed), but also this little known tale below

Daggers 1-2 Shrewsbury - 2nd May 2009

The year was an unholy 2009, and The Daggers had ended the season in 8th position having gone into the final day needing only a draw against Shrewsbury to cement a place in the play offs for promotion to League One.  The aim had not been achieved, Dagenham went down 2-1 at home and Shrewsbury pipped us into the final play off position (and, it is worth saying, managed to screw it up for themselves afterwards too).  Nevertheless, after the previous seasons late escape from danger, the season had been a remarkable turn around for a club run on a shoestring budget, the mood was of disappointment (you’re never going to get that close and not feel disappointed) but also of great optimism for the future after such a good showing.  As supporters, little did we know that the next time we had a home league fixture,
the squad would look remarkably different.

the old Pondfield end

Come summertime, the family was broken, and certain members left for pastures new.  The most significant change to the squad being the three players who moved on to Brentford for a total fee of £0 two of whom (Ben Strevens, and Danny Foster) have since transferred again, to Wycombe.  So leaves our prodigal son of the tale, step forward please Mr Sam Saunders.

Whether you liked him, or he frustrated you (I never really got the latter myself, but you do sometimes hear it said) there is no doubting the ability of Sam Saunders, and likewise no doubting the countless shifts he put in whilst wearing Dagenham colours.  Without him (and
the likes of Matty Ritchie), I don’t think we’d have not gone into the aforementioned final day fixture aiming for a play off place.


On the 1st February 2011, it was our chance to say hello to Sam Saunders again.  The return of the prodigal son!  He’d missed the Boxing Day fixture with a broken nail, but I was pleased when it happened to be that his first appearance coming back from injury was to be at The Artist formerly Known As the London Borough Of Barking And Dagenham stadium.  And what a game it was for him to return to!

Our home form this season has been frustrating when stood on the terrace.  We’ve not often played bad, but we have been hit by late goals generally robbing us of points – and there have been occasions when many spoke of a curse on us scoring at a certain end of the ground.  Myself, I think all this superstition is rubbish, but well, some people cant help but put their left sock on before their right in case their Nan has a coronary (weirdos!).  I therefore think that a big win for us in front of our own fans has been long overdue, and what better way to get it than in a derby against a team that includes one of your old players?


When it comes to the actual game, Brentford were appalling from start to finish, and its easy to see why their supporters were so frustrated with how things were going.  After a worrying start to the season which saw them in the bottom four they’d picked themselves up and made
progress for a couple of months, but at the time of this game were sliding back towards danger.  The kneejerk reaction since to sack Andy Scott was, in my opinion, not the best move for the club – but I guess the people in charge think they know what they are doing.  Easy to
forget the achievement of promotion  in 2009 followed by survival the following year it would seem – survival being no mean feat, as im sure our supporters can testify that League One is far from easy.


Sam Wood, managed to rob himself of the chance to play a number of games this season since he broke his arm in the reverse fixture back in December, and was still absent for this game.  Shame really, would have been nice to see his happy smiley “I cant tackle for shit” face
trotting around during this heavy Brentford defeat.  It’d certainly be a huge disappointment if he missed out on the Paintpot Trophy final, perhaps he could invest his time that day studying tackling techniques, or working out ways not to do a mischief to himself when
advertising boards are nearby.

The deadlock was broken on 20 minutes when the ball seemed to strike Jon Nurse and roll in.  Brentford stand in keeper Simon Royce looked every bit the player I remembered him to be.  Numerous chances came and went, but come half time the two sides went in with the score remaining 1-0, we should have been out of sight but it wasn’t to be – it can be nerve wracking as a Dagger being 1-0 up this season at home. Thankfully come the second half femininely named Karleigh Osborne decided he felt great sympathy for the Dagenham cause and scored for us, which was nice.  Cheers ‘Carly’…Jon Nurse made it 3-0 ten minutes
later scoring his second of the day in a little more convincing style following Damien Scannells ball in.  What victory this season is complete without a headed goal from Romain Vincelot?  One wonders just how difficult it will be to keep hold of him come the end of the


season.  Just a minute after the third, Vincelot pretty much assured victory with his goal.  Disappointingly Charlie MacDonald grabbed a consolation at the death meaning we missed our chance of a clean sheet, but this was the only down side in an otherwise fantastic
night, other than the paltry attendance of 1,907.  For a local team, this really wasn’t great.  Brentford’s travelling support was very insubstantial – but then, if you had to watch that every time your team went away, its got to be difficult to motivate yourself into
going if you aren’t a die hard supporter.

In ‘The Prodigal Son’, the young man returns home a broken man after wasting his fathers money, and he is welcomed with open arms and generously looked after.  But there was to be no ending like The Prodigal Son here for Sam Saunders, in fact the only thing biblical
about this one is that someone ended up being crucified – and it wasn’t Dagenham.



NEXT - An adventure in Oldham.

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