the daggers voice
For the first time this season, the Daggers were booed at the final whistle last night.
And it was fully deserved. Most of the players, apart from Whitely, Doe and a couple others - looked like they wanted to be at home just as much as I did. I wasn't watching promotion, or even title, chasers. It felt like I was watching the Dagenham of last season.
Just like Saturday, our finishing was the problem. Or rather, our use of the ball in the final third. Sure, we had more chances and more of the ball, but weren't creative or threatening enough. As Dad said, if we were there until midnight we still wouldn't have scored. Torquay had less chances, but the chances they did have were much more clear cut. We tried to force the issue by putting two up top, and from then on Torquay were much the better team. Hawkins going off injured (surprise, surprise) just compounded a truly miserable evening.
I can't tell you how frustrated I am. I know we have injuries, but looking at our squad it is still good enough to compete with any team. Yet yesterday, we lost to the 18th-placed team in the division. No disrespect to Torquay, who were much better than I expected but - if we're to fulfil our aspirations this season, those are the teams we have to beat. You wouldn't see Forest Green lose at home to Torquay, nor Lincoln, nor Barrow, or any other team around us. At the moment, our season is going to crash and burn. The wheels have well and truly come off.
Of course, it's no coincidence that - with a full squad - we beat Lincoln City, and even with some injuries overcame Eastleigh, Aldershot, Dover and drew with Forest Green, Macclesfield and Tranmere. But yesterday we looked a million miles from that side.
Disappointingly, we slipped out of the play-offs yesterday for the first time in ages. But even more disappointingly, we have Dover, 5th played Dover with free-scoring Ricky Miller up front, this weekend. Dover's result last night away at Sutton? 6-0.
But at least it's away, because home really doesn't feel like home at the moment.
Good luck boys - something tells me we'll need it.
Yesterday was cruel for us. The Daggers, despite their many injuries, fought well throughout and were the better team throughout the first half. However, we found ourselves 2-0 down thanks to one dubious goal and one fantastic one. In the second half, we kept pressing, but again conceded two and ended up losing 4-1.
From a neutral perspective, if you were to look at that result, people would think we would have been battered. We weren't. The scoreline was flattering and deceiving. Barrow were good, yes, but we were also good. Looking at the chances minus the goals, if we would've won 4-1, I don't think anyone would've been surprised. Instead, we've lost 4-1 and people think it's Gateshead all over again.
This is what frustrates me. On the Vanarama National League facebook page, you have people slamming the Daggers, saying we're rubbish, that we're out of the title race, that Barrow dominated. Do these people realise that we have countless injuries? Do these peope realise that before all the injuries, we beat Lincoln, Dover, Aldershot and Eastleigh, and drew with Forest Green, Tranmere and Macclesfield? Even in some of those games we had injuries! And we still got points - so what can we go with our strongest side?
Yesterday, in spite of having Robson, Robinson, Doe, Boucaud, Okenabirhie, Williams, Pennell, Ling and a few others out, we managed to compete with a full-strength Barrow team sitting in 4th on a 20-game unbeaten run. All of a sudden, 4-1 doesn't look that embarrassing now, does it? All I'm saying is - don't rule the Daggers out ye.
But it'd be unfair of me just to curse our misfortune. I have to give credit to Barrow- they executed their gameplan perfectly. Their forward trio were lethal and their defence solid; their goalkeeper, unbelievably on his debut, was absolutely superb. I wish them the best of luck for the rest of the season.
But this could've been so different. But we must remain optimistic. On Tuesday Torquay are the visitors to Victoria Road, which is a lot less daunting than I hoped. Before the Gateshead game, we had lost once at our fortress and conceded just three times. Two home losses and nine goals later, the lowly Gulls will be hoping they can get the points here. Hopefully, though, we get the win - regardless of how we play. Yesterday we played well but it got us nowhere. Performances don't win you points.
Come on you Daggers!
Dagenham v Barrow
It's 3rd v 4th in the National League as Barrow's 20-game unbeaten run (all comps) goes on the line at Victoria Road, kick-off 3pm.
It's been a good week for Daggers, who recovered from successive losses against Gateshead and at Halifax with back-to-back away wins against York (2-0) and Maidstone (1-0.) This has coincided with a welcome return to form for Luke Guttridge, who has scored two goals in as many games, but was overshadowed by an injury to Scott Doe and suspension to Boucaud, meaning the duo will miss tomorrow's game. Thankfully, though, John Still has added Magnus Okuonghae to his squad, meaning Doe will at least be covered for three weeks. Hawkins, though, will probably be in defence still.
It promises to be an entertaining game, but I'd take a point for sure against the league's surprise package this term.
I am Joel Page, Dagenham & Redbridge FC fan. Here I will share some of my experiences.