the daggers voice
On a personal note, this game concluded a frantic sequence of four games, all at home, in a spell of just ten days. Next on the agenda: Oxford United, sitting comfortably in second-placed and serious promotion candidates.
So we needed to throw absolutely everything at the U's, and would hopefully be rewarded with a place in Saturday's Johnstones Paint Trophy area semi-final draw. The previous night, Millwall had booked their place with an emphatic 5-2 victory at Plymouth alongside Yeovil - progressing on penalties at Gillingham's expense.
Just alike in the last round when we won at Stevenage, I would be with Dad for this clash. I would be compromising the autographs, though, as he arrived home from work late, meaning we would leave around 7pm. But with us hosting them just ten days later in the league, it was irrelevant.
And so off we went, me chatting incessantly the Essex Senior Cup draw which took place earlier that evening, and handed us a midweek trip to Heybridge Swifts. I also conversed about the match I was soon to witness - and predicted a 3-0 reverse. This was not mainly due to our lowly league position, but due to their high one further jeopardising our chances of progressing.
If it were away, I may have been confident. We'd been good away from home this season; playing well and earning a few results. Both our wins in this competition had come away from home, with us defeating Cambridge & Stevenage - of which I was present - enroute to this area quarter-final. However, we were at home where we hadn't tasted success all campaign meaning we were facing a treacherous task.
I arrived at the ground at around seven, venturing into the ground soon after. I'd hardly call the ground 'buzzing', but the small amount that had gathered in the terrace were clearly excited. By this point a large away crowd had also mounted and they were roared onto the pitch by an expectant following - whilst me and Dad chatted about the game, alongside Ben.
Eventually the referee blew his whistle and the game got underway. Unbelievably, it took just 27 seconds for Oxford to open the scoring - Pat Hoban poking home in front of a dumbfounded home support, as I hung my head in disbelief.
Dad was baffled, too, and from that moment Oxford dominated the game; tearing our defence apart with some pulsating attacking football. I thoroughly expected it to be a cricket score. By half time we had been thoroughly humiliated by a youthful U's outfit who terrorised our shaky back four with slick, fluent and potent attacking football. Thankfully the score stayed 0-1, which seemed rather irrelevant considering the circumstances.
I am Joel Page, Dagenham & Redbridge FC fan. Here I will share some of my experiences.