Saturday 22nd January 2011 - MK Dons - Home
words by FullMetalDagger
The day started as most football Saturdays do; I dragged my carcass out of my bed and refuelled with tea whilst watching soccer AM. I was looking forward to this game and not just because it was a chance to finally get something from a match with the franchise and not just because the missus was bringing her father along for a family day at the game, no, the main reason I was looking forward to this match was I had a ticket to sit in the Marcus James stand for only the second time since its completion because today was the "no segregation" experiment and cheap ticket day!
Now I ain’t gonna bring up the old topic, but I really like the MJ; it has comfy seats and a bar. I have a theory about the MJ stand; I think it's better for making noise, I’d put this down to the shape of the stand and it's flatter shed type roof which all combines to project the noise made by (usually away) fans where as the sieve has gable roof and I feel that while inside we could be hosting a concert by Disaster Area (generally held to be not only the loudest rock band in the Galaxy, but in fact the loudest noise of any kind at all.) but the noise would get trapped and no one outside of our north terrace would be able to hear anything. Ok maybe that's a little tinged with hyperbole but you know what I mean!
MrsMetalDagger's Mum kindly gave us a lift down to the ground and dropped us off at Pondfield Park. We made our way up the newly laid ramp towards the car park. I grabbed a programme and ducked into the club shop after picking up a nice new wet jacket I took a peek inside the supporters club bar and it was *ahem* “rammed to the point of buggery” but not to worry I had found out from my former college buddy in the shop (hello Dave) that the MJ bar (heeeeheeeee) was open and waiting for my custom. We went in through the turnstiles and into the bar. It was empty; I’ve seen more people at the first round of the ESC. I can only assume that everyone had squeezed themselves into the club house while me the missus and the father-in-law propped up the bar. I sent a text out to Jerk and the rest of our little mob telling them to meet us in the sparse bar. Chugging down my ice cold beer in the ice cold bar I did feel a little jealous of away fans, it might be freezing in that bar but it has beer!
With everyone now present talk turned to the match ahead, I think we were all quietly confident, I have no idea why because MK are somewhat of a bogey team for us but as a Dagger you have to remain positive! We downed our drinks and made for our seats. I do enjoy the view from the MJ and it's amazing how close to the ground the rest of the ground looks from up in the ivory tower of the away end, but the new stand does have its downfalls; for one it can get very cold up there, being the tallest stand makes it very open to the elements and I for one will laugh on a cold windy day as we huddle together in the sieve for warmth while the away fans slowly freeze themselves in the footballing equivalent of cryogenics. The second downfall of the MJ is you don’t feel as close to the action, the thing I love about the sieve is how close to the pitch you are and if every stand was like the MJ we would definitely lose some of the intimacy that makes Vicky Road so special.
The teams walked out onto the pitch and the ref got the game underway. Early on we had a good chance when Marvin Morgan wrestled the ball off of an MK defender in the box then put a low cross in front of goal looking for Tomlin but MK defender Mathias Doumbe cleared it for a corner. Shortly after Mark Arber put a long ball forward and once again Morgan battled past the defence to peel of a shot which was parried away by MK keeper David Martin. It was around about this time, like a little kid asking to go out and play, I enquired to the missus and her dad weather it would be considered rude if I buggered off to the back of the stand with my mates as I was feeling a little isolated from the noise. Once told I was free to go, I scampered to the back climbing over seats. Once I was there I was glad I did, the view was about the same but I could see the Dartford crossing! Which leads me to believe the MJ is the highest point in Dagenham. At the back of the MJ in the middle is what I can only describe as a pulpit and being the loud mouth attention seeker I am, I planted myself there and proceeded to lead some "digger dagger" chants. Back to the game, we were really taking it to MK and looking like we really wanted the points and as the Whistle blew for the end of half time I was convinced we should come out with points, I should really learn to tell my brain to stop thinking, because it's cursed! (I remember the same feeling at county!)
After a quick pint in the MJ bar (luxury!) we filed back into our seats (which were never actually sat in! props to the stewards for that!) the second half was a little less impressive than the first but we still looked sure to get something out of it and our mob were enjoying the atmosphere up in the back of the MJ. Mk had their first proper attempt at goal when Chadwick made a sweet back-heel pass to Peter Leven, who took a swipe which came very close. At the over end of the pitch Daggers were awarded a free kick, which Danny Green Dually smashed into the first man and then (out of what I can only guess was frustration) lead into the MK defender with his elbow. He was carrying a yellow already and even from the other end of the pitch I could tell he was going off but I thought it would be with a second yellow. Jerk nudged me "it's a straight red! He didn’t get another yellow". I feel for Greeny I really do, he has a lot of pressure piled on him and I think it got to him a little and he snapped. That was the reason I and the others around me clapped him off the pitch, he is one of us and despite his mistake, he is appreciated. The red card made what had been a very average MK turn up the heat a bit and Jabo Ibehre's ball across goal should have really been met by a foot for a goal.
The Daggers weren’t done yet though! And a cross from Johnny Nurse just missed Morgan’s head and Femi's foot! Robbo made a very good block to keep out an Ibihre shot when the ball just wouldn’t get out of our box, but sadly the lot of a goal keeper is "hero one minute, villain the next" and when Mark Carrington took a speculative shot from somewhere in Hornchurch a nasty little bounce and maybe Robbo diving a bit early saw the ball awkwardly flop into the net, 1-0 to the Dons in the 93rd minute.
as soon as the ball went in it appeared we were surrounded by MK fans, who had been pretty quiet throughout (that's not a dig, I think the lack of segregation left them a bit unsure of themselves) but now they were cheering, this included a little mob in the sieve was too far away to see what happened but it looked like it got a little rough in there. I don’t mean to put a dampener on the no segregation idea but people don’t like having people rub a loss in their face right next to them, especially in the sieve.
The final whistle blew and that was that, another game where a late goal was our undoing against a team that didn’t really deserve the result, well definitely not all 3 points! We grumbled our way out of the stand and into the club house, where much grumbling was done. But overall I had had fun, I had been the preacher to the converted from my little pulpit and a day at the football is always better than no day at the football!
So the next match was Brentford at home on a Tuesday night and I ain’t gonna lie, I wasn’t feeling confident. But luckily I’m quite often wrong eh!
Next - The best result in front of the lowest attendance, funny how things work out!