the daggers voice
A hectic Bank Holiday Weekend sees two matchdays, with every side playing twice. On Saturday, Halifax face Guiseley live on BT Sport, unbeaten sides Dagenham and Bromley go head-to-head in a London derby and Boreham Wood travel to Tranmere, while two days later, Aldershot visit Eastleigh, Maidstone host Dagenham and Boreham Wood entertain Wrexham at Meadow Park in the pick of the ties.
SATURDAY 26TH AUGUST 2017
MONDAY 28TH AUGUST 2017
Matchday five of the Vanarama National League again sees a number of interesting encounters as five unbeaten records go on the line. Elsewhere there are six winless records and one of these sides, Torquay United, will be looking for a positive result after sacking their manager. For these predictions I will be using a points system, with three for a correct result and one for the correct outcome.
About the Match: A hectic start to the new campaign had seen the Daggers play three fixtures in ten days which saw them unbeaten. Ebbsfleet were the visitors to Victoria Road on an exciting night under the Victoria Road floodlights; they also had not tasted defeat and, like the Daggers, had both scored and conceded lots of goals. It promised to be a thrilling contest.
Pre-Match: As Zac and Dad were going to meet me later on, I got to the ground considerably earlier, arriving at around half-past five via the train.
After another interesting weekend of Vanarama National League action the fixtures continue to come thick and fast with another midweek fixturelist approaching. There is a London derby between Bromley and Leyton Orient, while struggling Hartlepool take on Chester and Aldershot - now the only team with a 100% record - travel to Maidstone. The rest of the fixtures are below with my predictions alongside.
Two wins and a draw from a challenging opening three games has left the Daggers unbeaten in the league. It may only be very early days, but it's a very positive start for Still and his team.
Corey Whitely has, as always, been in typically-unstoppable form and he leads the National League goalscoring charts with four strikes already. He has forged brilliant chemistry with fellow attackers Fejiri Okenabirhie and Morgan Ferrier.
With the pace of Fejiri, the strength of Morgan Ferrier and the all-round brilliance of Corey Whitely, it will be hard to find a better attack at the moment than the one we boast, which has found the net six times so far this campaign, at an average of 2 per game. Add to this the clinical poaching of Michael Cheek and, when called upon, the talismanic prowess of Oliver Hawkins, and you can see why we were second favourites to go up as Champions.
Such is our attacking ability that Oliver Hawkins, who attracted plenty of attention in the Summer, has been limited to few appearances. I think that sometimes people forget the contribution that Hawks' made last season; his goals throughout the season were vital and alone earned a total of nine points - the difference between finishing 4th and 7th. Without him, we wouldn't have made the playoffs.
I have no doubt that, once he regains his form, he will score many goals this season, especially as we are likely to create more chances. What you need to remember with Hawkins is that he is still only twenty-five and in his second year at this level. Higher clubs were not sniffing around for no reason.
Yet I've read comments on Views from the Sieve (the online forum) even going as far as saying Hawkins is rubbish. Assuming these are serious, which I simply can't comprehend if they are, then I advise these people take up another sport. I admit that the hype-train did gather excessive steam, but he is a very clever footballer. He used his height brilliantly to hold up the ball and provided a huge outlet with his aerial presence. The fact that he only made the bench for two games shows how strong our squad depth is.
One player who can't be praised highly enough, especially by me, is Corey Whitely. In my opinion, Corey is going a long way to becoming a club legend and he was a joy to watch last campaign. The fans adore him and he was the only Dagger named in the Team of the Season for 2016/17 (though I believe more should've been included). Considering that he's not even a striker, his 0.4 goals per game output is tremendous. He will be our main man, and I hope no bigger club realises his talents come January.
So far, Morgan Ferrier has also been fantastic, though hasn't has a goal to justify his efforts. Much like Hawkins, he is brilliant at holding the ball up and he has already caused havoc with his strength and runs into the box. As mentioned, him and Okenabirhie have linked up well together and he is also one who impressed in 16/17, though unfortunately injuries hampered his progress.
We have no problems in the attack department, but the defence is a different story. Scott Doe is still injured and frustratingly suffered a recurrence recently which will keep him out for longer. Lokko is showing promise but needs to find his feet, and once he finds them, try and control them from tripping attackers up in the box to concede costly penalties. He was highly rated at Maidstone, so could establish himself as a key defender for us.
Losing Widdowson and Staunton, plus Robson pushing up to midfield, means that defence is a problematic area which is really suffering from a lack of pace. Hopefully this is rectified soon, as it will lead to some nervous matches in the future.
But, considering the teams we've played, it couldn't have gone much better. With seven points, we have technically made a better start than last campaign. Our opening three games then only saw us take six points - not too shabby still - but when you consider that we faced Southport, Chester and Guiseley, who would all finish in the bottom six, all of a sudden our start to the current season looks even better.
But, ultimately, it is only three games, and only time will tell whether we can maintain our positive start. But the early signs show promise, I must say.
Come on you Daggers!
I am Joel Page, Dagenham & Redbridge FC fan. Here I will share some of my experiences.