the daggers voice
Dagenham and Redbridge never cease to amaze or astonish me. This is the story of how an amazing day can turn into an awful one in just a few minutes.
That morning, and the night prior, I was with my other nan from Canvey, Susan, who had come to look after me and Zac due to Mum being in hospital and Dad staying with her. I went down, played a bit of FIFA, and watched some television. The remainder of the morning flew by and before I knew it my other nan had arrived.
Upon arrival to the ground after a short journey, I was surprised to see Ben who was - to my sheer horror - clutching a torn and creased programme ready to be signed by the Mansfield squad. I then got mine. This was when Nan asked to see the programme before subsequently flicking to the page entitled 'Club News'.
I was shocked to see a picture of me alongside a message saying, ''The club would like to wish a very happy birthday to young Daggers supporter and season-ticket holder Joel Page. Joel is 13 on the 11th October, and attends Sydney Russell School in Dagenham whilst also playing for junior football team, Tigers Stripes''
This was just incredible. Previously I had had a couple of lines but to have a picture and almost a paragraph - that was unbelievable! I only hoped the day would continue as it began. Finally I saw the coach coming into the ground and, thanks to Nan summoning the players, received a high quantity.
One thing about Nan; she's just hilarious, as evidenced by what she said during the players descent from the coach to the entrance. When one player told me to ''wait after the game'' specifically for his autograph, she said with no attempt to conceal her words, ''Yeah, like we're gonna wait for it's autograph. Who does it think it is?''
Then I, thoroughly delighted with the autographs I had got, ventured into the clubhouse with Nan, who swiftly brought me my thirst-quenching drink of (Diet) Pepsi. After reading the programme and discussing various things, I prepared to enter the ground. Even though I've been to so many games, I still get that buzz of excitement when entering the turnstiles. It's a moment I live for.
Following a few bad experiences, we had decided to forgo the food we usually get at away games when at Barnet on Saturday, with Nan bringing some homemade food instead. This proved to be a stroke of genius and she brought some more this time. I think this is a really good alternative to the food we usually buy which amasses high expenditure.
When inside the ground I was left stunned once again, hearing a birthday announcement over the tannoy. This was incredible and I was delighted. Only a win would make this day better!
Time passed very quickly after that and before I knew it the beautiful, lush greenery was graced with the Red/Blue shirts of Dagenham and Black kit worn by Mansfield. However, the game began in the worst possible way, a sensational Mansfield goal; just six minutes gone when Malvind Benning scored a thunderous volley from outside the box that flew past O'Brien. Worse, the golden goal we bought had the seventh minute!
Usually this would be the cue for Dagenham to roll over and concede defeat but all of a sudden we were level, with another excellent finish. This time Matt McClure rifled an effort past Jensen into the bottom corner. I was stunned and, for the first time in ages, started to believe.
And it got even better for us after half an hour when Ashley Chambers latched onto Boucaud's threaded ball and turned, before firing into the bottom corner. Just as we were recovering from the joy of that, we were cheering once more almost straight away. Chambers bore down on goal, he was through.
The fans held their breath as he prepared to shoot, before erupting as he poked past Jensen and into the corner. I, like many others, looked on in disbelief. I couldn't believe we were 3-1 up. Not even a converted penalty could put a dampener on my ecstatic mood. Half Time: 3-2.
At half time I did something very stupid and imagined Daggers easing to an emphatic 5 or 6-2 victory. In the second half we looked more nervy as Mansfield created more and more chances, but couldn't score. Until, that is, the 81st minute, when the Stags earned a corner on the right.
The ball was whipped in and I just hoped we would head it clear, even though we had always been unconvincing at clearing set-pieces. Unfortunately, this was when Mansfield delivered a cruel blow. The corner evaded everybody including Liam O'Brien, and arrived at Pearce, leaving the defender to head home.
But Mansfield weren't finished. On 85 minutes, Adi Yussuff received the ball out wide. ''Just hoof it clear'', I thought, ''a point is better than nothing''. But my warning wasn't heeded and, as Yussuff raced through and devastatingly fired into the corner, I had a familiar sinking feeling. It had happened once again.
Me and Nan were shocked and furious. How we'd managed to throw away a 3-1 lead and lose 4-3 at home was beyond me. But, sadly, I was used to it - I was used to Daggers capitulating after being in a commanding position. It's true: Dagenham really never cease to amaze, but not in a good way.
I am Joel Page, Dagenham & Redbridge FC fan. Here I will share some of my experiences.