the daggers voice
It was a grueling week but finally it came to an end. Even though I love school, the week leading to a game tends to be much more elongated than usual. This was no different, but time did elapse and I could prepare to board the bus home for the final time before my eagerly-awaited early birthday present that was Barnet away.
The previous day, upon it's release, I was in awe as I unveiled the packaging on the spontaneous present that was FIFA 16. Another unanticipated amazing early birthday present! I immediately inserted it into the console and lined up none other than Barnet v Dagenham & Redbridge, obviously. It ended 2-0 to Wayne Burnett's boys but I obviously could distinguish between fiction and reality. And the reality illustrated just how difficult the six-pointer clash at Barnet would be.
So now I could fully prepare for the game once school ended on the Friday and I headed straight to Becontree Station. There I met Zac & Dad but I would be unaccompanied on the train. A big step for me. At least Mum thought this was quite the milestone, but I was adamant I deserved the independence and this could be the catalyst for further responsibilities. The journey was short and precise, we were at Plaistow in no time. I met Nan who would be my accomplice for the encounter at The Hive. That night I watched a bit of television, enjoyed a endulging meal of Spaghetti Bolognese and just had a relaxing night. With the coach leaving at half twelve, that meant we could have a similarly calm morning. After packing the bacon sandwiches, and Scott came over with Reeve, we set off and were duly at Dagenham East in no time. Instead of entering the clubhouse per our usual routine, we decided to wait for the coach to arrive and stand with usual match mates. It pulled in soon after so we boarded the coach and, 1.5 hours and a relatively short passage through London, came to a stop outside some football pitches adjacent to The Hive. It seemed more like a centre than a football ground and the perimeter was fitted with a club shop and other eventful areas to visit. Me & Nan didn't and went straight for a programme. We then entered the ground. It's a bizarre arrangement, with a bar connected to toilets which sit just beyond the turnstiles. We were informed beforehand that our terrace tickets would be invalid and we had instead been allocated a large stand, rendering me quite disappointed. However when I took my seat and admired the elegant scenery I realised this was a fortuitous stroke of luck. It was lovely, a tad smaller than ours but very well organised and efficiently run. Predominantly grey, the perimeter of the pitch is occupied by stands whilst the areas behind the goals are all-terracing. The ground then began to fill up and I identified around 300/400 away supporters. Then the teams emerged to an intense ovation; Barnet donning their traditional black & orange whilst the Daggers were in their red and blue home strip. The game started at a fast tempo but immediately Barnet gained a foothold in the game. Then a flickon released Akinde on the right, in a shooting position. Oh no! Not Akinde, not the goal machine Akinde. Then, as if in a blur, he played it to the onrushing Gash who slotted into the corner. One minute gone. This was a new experience for me, I'd witnessed many-a-mauling from the opposition but never this early on. One minute! One flipping minute! Both me & nan, and the other 328 away fans, exploded into rage. Awful start. I watched as the scoreboard flashed 1-0. Our optimism had been dashed within sixty seconds, if that. My hypothesis was that Barnet would dominate after that and sadly it came true because they were first to every ball and in complete control. We had a solitary chance but even that didn't materialise into futher opportunities. I knew Barnet would score. But Nan did even more, and as Andy Yiadom shaped to shoot in the box she uttered, ''Here we go, 2 nil.'' She was right, the ball nestled into the corner and only then did the away chanting hit it's true heights. There had been some noise but as soon as that occured the diminishing slurs began. Rightfully so, because for almost £40 combined you expect more than a toothless performance. The rest of the game was just that, and aside from a third which nan also predicted the only positive was from Jodi Jones. As soon as he was introduced to the action the starlet was in the midst of the action, speeding beyond defenders and bending beyond challenges. So when he scored a fantastic curler half-hour from time he cemented his position of our most creative player. By far. The remainder of me was easily the worst I'd witnessed of Dagenham & Redbridge. It honestly was, god knows how Barnet didn't add to their tally. John Akinde went through on goal three occasions but Liam O'Brien prevented further goals.Somehow. And that was it, game over. Silence on the coach home, understandably too because each and every occupant was thinking the same thing. I reiterate: easily the worst performance I've ever seen. Our misery was compounded on the train home when I heard an accusation of Kane Ferdinand 'shushing' a loyal fan who had made the trip only to witness that sickening performance. Combine that with an abysmal performance, with fans being ejected too, and you have a miserable day to be a Dagger. Nonetheless, the journey home was short and I'm thankful to nan. Not only for providing the laughs but for taking me, despite the game's climax. Now onwards to Notts County on Tuesday where a proper spirited performance is needed, to atone for the above-mentioned woeful match.
I am Joel Page, Dagenham & Redbridge FC fan. Here I will share some of my experiences.