the daggers voice
Great night in Kent!
For my third league away game of the season, I travelled to Maidstone United with my uncle, Spencer, for what was a fantastic night! The Daggers won 1-0 thanks to a Luke Guttridge goal, with the journey home being both enjoyable and hilariously crazy!
At the start of the day, my focus was on that night's game, but I had to come through a long day at school first which also included a session of Debate Mate, meaning I got home at near enough 5pm. From there, Dad dropped me to Lakeside where I met Spencer, and stage 1 of our journey had begun.
When I switched cars and met Spencer, we went straight to McDonalds and I got a burger happy meal and a Dairy Milk McFlurry. I was having a great time and we weren't even near Maidstone yet! We spent the journey joking around and discussing the match ahead, before we arrived
Daggers prepare for midweek Kent trip
The Daggers are back in National League action as they make the relatively short journey to Maidstone United this Tuesday, kick-off 7.45pm.
The mood of the fans is much more upbeat after the side earned three points at York on Saturday, with Hawkins and Guttridge on target, and with a squad gradually recovering from a big injury crisis that saw us lose against Halifax and Gateshead, most people will be backing the Daggers to gain another three points here.
Maidstone, by the admission of their own fans, have been 'terrible' at home this year - which is what I love to hear. However, against Sutton - my first away game of the season - back in August, we suffered no fewer than three injuries on their artificial pitch, the same surface that the Stones play on, which could present a few problems.
Personally I really dislike 3G/4G pitches. I think that they give teams an advantage/disadvantage, although Maidstone are better away and Sutton are better at home, so it works both ways. However, how is it fair that we play on grass all season yet then have to adapt to a new surface, just three days after our last game? And for Maidstone, maybe the reason they're playing so badly is that their players play one week on astroturf (or whatever they call it) then the next on grass? Just a thought.
Maidstone home record this season is as follows:
I am delighted to say I will be going to this game after my last awayday, not so long ago, saw Hawkins score a late goal at Forest Green to spark euphoria. Hopefully, I will see Daggers win away in the league for the first time this season. I will be accompanied by my uncle Spencer, my companion in the friendly at Thurrock in July, which was a great night. As a belated birthday present, he is taking me as a treat (though I don't think freezing to death in an uncovered stadium in Kent will qualify as a 'treat' for him!) and I can't wait.
I am in good spirits ahead of the game on the back of the victory at York. With Boucaud back from international duty, Guttridge back to full form and Hawkins back in his natural position, I'm hoping Daggers can extend Maidstone's woeful home form.
Hopefully, if we can win, teams around us will slip up and we can move back up the table.
Talking of which, there are some key games happening, with almost a full fixturelist, with only North Ferriby v Wrexham - an unspiring 0-0 draw that was brought forward on FA Cup 1st round weekend - not taking place. After losing in the cruellest ways on Saturday, Forest Green have another tricky game in the shape of Tranmere Rovers at home in 1st v 3rd. Lincoln themselves will be looking to emulate us by beating York away, while Barrow will be heavy favourites to extend their staggering record 15-game unbeaten run against basement boys Guiseley.
In other fixtures, play-off chasers Aldershot and Eastleigh face off at the Recreation ground, Boreham Wood host Sutton, lowly Braintree welcome Bromley, Woking travel to Dover, a local derby sees Chester play Southport, Torquay entertain Solihull and Macclesfield are the visitors to Gateshead.
So hopefully we can get a result. I myself can't wait and, to the large amount of Daggers I expect to be in attendance - I'll see you there to sing about John Still having a dream!
But I'll leave you with this - a completely meaningless highlights reel from a 1-0 friendly loss at Maidstone some four years ago.
Come on you Daggers!
National League Fixtures on Tuesday 22nd November
Daggers' return to winning ways
The Daggers put the disappointment of two successive losses behind them in ideal fashion, with Oliver Hawkins and Luke Guttridge sending the 131 Daggers home happy.
It's great to see Hawks back amongst the goals, hopefully he'll notch another at Maidstone.
National League Roundup
It was an eventful day of Vanarama National League football.
In BT Sport's live lunchtime kick-off, Lincoln City secured a thrilling late win over league leaders Forest Green, who suffered their first home loss this season. The hosts led by two goals from Doidge and Marsh-Brown, and looked set for a comfortable victory against the second-placed side until they got a goal back. Then, in a dramatic two minute spell at the end of the game, Waterfall and Raggett both scored to spark dramatic scenes in the way end.
This opened the trapdoor for both Tranmere and Dagenham, who both won. An Andy Cook goal was enough for Tranmere to win 1-0 at Braintree, while Hawkins and Guttridge scored in Dagenham & Redbridge's' 2-0 success at York - the fourth time in a row that they've scored two at Bootham Crescent. Barrow extended their unbeaten run to 15 games with a 2-1 home win over Solihull, Boreham Wood defeated Southport by two goals to nil and Dover beat Guiseley by the same scoreline at Crabble as most of the play-off chasers won.
Fresh from hammering the Daggers 5-0 last weekend, Gateshead continued their progression as they came from two behind to earn a 2-2 draw at home to Eastleigh. At the Recreation Ground, a brace from Chris Holroyd saw Macclesfield defeat Aldershot 2-1. Fellow mid-table sides Chester and Bromley played out a 1-1 draw, as did Torquay and Wrexham. Towards the bottom of the league, North Ferriby earned a vital 2-1 victory over Sutton, adapting to life without Ross Stearn who this week was sold to Eastleigh, while Woking mastered Maidstone's artificial surface to win 3-0.
Needless to say, a bad day at the office.
After getting over the tough October run, this was supposed to be the day that Daggers gained ground on both Lincoln and Forest Green, who both had tough games. It was supposed to be the day that Daggers earned three points. Instead, our fantastic home record went out the window as we fell to our heaviest defeat since 2012.
Gateshead ran riot in East London and, to the disbelief of the home fans, scored three goals in four second half minutes to go 5-0 up. You can't be too critical of the lads, who've been excellent all season and are suffering from injuries, but the performance was comical to say the least.
At least three of the Heed's goals were avoidable. For the first goal, Justham should've raced out and rushed the striker, but instead he had time and space to pick his spot and score. The second one was even worse, Justham palming a central free-kick into the corner of the goal. Then, the defending for the next three goals was ridiculous. For the third, the defenders just stood and watched as the striker smashed in right in front of the keeper! The defending for the next goal, just a minute later, was very clumsy from Doe and the resulting penalty was smashed in. We failed to clear our lines from the fifth, and the ball was crashed in off the bar.
But this doesn't tell the story. The visitors hit the post with an overhead kick in the first-half and also struck the woodwork in the second. They had efforts cleared off the line and should've scored more. It could've easily been seven or eight. We didn't even register an effort on target all game.
But, looking on the bright side, it's only one result and we have the chance to put it right Tuesday. We do have injuries that we're suffering from, and with a young side, these things happen.
Football is a funny old game.
''This is a killing.''
My Matchday Experience
Winter is upon us. Frost graces the cars, the biting wind makes the walk to school unbearable. It is dark come 4pm, but nothing - nothing - will deter me from going to the Daggers. Not even this.
My Saturday morning reflected most of my Saturday mornings since my birthday. Training was cancelled, so I played a bit of FIFA on PS4. Then I watched the Playoff Final video - reliving Daggers' L2 Wembley triumph. At around midday, I started to liven up, and Dad's timely arrival back from shopping with Zac brought a lovely meal of McDonalds.
We left at just after 1pm with the dull, drab rain dropping down. Upon arrival at my second home, I bought my programme which I placed in its protector to prevent it getting wet (Note: I tried in vain to make this sentence sound less sad but it simply cannot be done). We then went into the clubhouse and I got a Pepsi, all was good.
After a while, we finally venture out of the clubhouse, but I want to retreat as I am greeted by the wet, miserable conditions outside. We do though, and are soon in the stadium. Kick off is less than an hour away. After debating various issues with Dad while devouring 'Sour Snakes' and speaking to my fellow fans, this time goes quickly, and soon the two teams - led by the armed forces in honour of Remembrance Day - step onto the hallowed turf. The Daggers team was announced as follows:
01. Elliot Justham
03. Joe Widdowson
04. Scott Doe (C)
06. Matt Robinson
08. Frankie Raymond
10. Luke Guttridge
12. Oliver Hawkins
15. Jordan Maguire-Drew
19. Sam Ling
25. Corey Whitely
32. Josh Staunton
After a unified silence in tribute to the War victims, the match gets underway, with the travelling so-called 'Heed Army' in decent voice. A few minutes in, I begin to realise something was wrong. It was the same feeling I had at the start of our only home loss prior to that against Boreham Wood - I can't explain it. I turn to Dad and say, ''This is going to be a frustrating game I think''
Frustration turns to desperation as John Still's men fail to get their fluent play going, and this leads to a Gateshead chance. It's an acrobatic effort that just about clips the post - for a minute, I feared it was in. Thankfully, it stays out though, as news filters through of Forest Green and then Lincoln City's early openers, I am somewhat less relieved at this. Again, frustration is the overriding emotion.
Then, frustration turns to dismay, as Gateshead take the lead. It was a simple turn from Sam Jones - simple yet effective - and he spins away from his marker. Three touches later and Justham finally comes out to try and clear the danger, but it is all in vain, as the ball nestles into the corner. They celebrate by the cornerflag. I don't.
To be continued.......
Views From The Sieve (Daggers Forum) - Reaction
Adrian said: ''We have a young inexperienced side. We have quite a few players out injured.
They're actually quite good. Not sure what he level has to do with anything. We are a National League team. It's quite possible that we will occasionally get hammered by other teams at this level.''
NBDag said: ''Course it's possible but it doesn't make it excusable. Been in the top 5 almost, if not all, season so far. No team should be beating us, or any of the other top 5/7 teams by this margin. Understand fatigue and off-days come into play sometimes, but for me I just don't think a scoreline like today's could/should be explained so nonchalantly.''
NickMurphy said: ''We have a whole host of players out, some that aren't playing in their natural position, others have been rushed back when usually they'd get an extra two weeks or so and on top of that due to the injuries we've had no chance to rotate when we've mainly been playing Saturday/Tuesday. Admittedly I didn't think we'd get thumped this afternoon although from what I understand it was that 10 minute spell where I can only assume that we, as a young side, lost concentration which did for us, it's not the end of the world. An exception rather than the norm, but we may have to get used to some difficult games and a couple of poor results in the short term while we cope with the situation we have. And no matter how you disguise it, the number of injuries we have is a huge issue at the moment.''
Dagdale said: ''Can't believe what I've seen today, after such a pretty good few months and a side that showed some decent football and a team working pretty well together, out comes this almighty dire display. Yeah, I know we have some players who are very important to our side out injured and it's taking its toll. Looks like Matty Robinson could be another one gone but looking at our line up, it didn't look that bad a side. Before Gateshead even got their well-deserved first (goal), they must have had at least four really good chances that went awfully close and should've been put away full stop, and after that calamity of a second (goal) what today was our biggest mishap - OUR defence. It was all over the place and Heed players were freely standing in positions so close to Justham that every attack looked like another would rattle in! But fair play to those guys, even at 5-0, they still wanted more.''
This was not just an off day. An off day is losing 1-0 or 2-0 with a shortage of luck. This was an absolute mauling. From the first minute Gateshead looked quicker, hungrier, more determined, and injuries can't just be to blame for that. The defending was absolutely shocking and, while Gateshead were a good team for sure, we gifted them some goals. It was just terrible and I find it hard to see how we will recover from this. John Still has to get a reaction out of his team for Tuesday.
With only one win from the last seven, the Daggers take to the pitch against Gateshead today looking to recapture the form that they started the season with, but they'll have to do it without Boucaud who is away with Trinidad & Tobago.
Saturday was perhaps one of the most disappointing games of the campaign as we could only play out a goalless draw with Halifax of the division below. As well as meaning we travel to Yorkshire for the replay Tuesday night, Forest Green had a league game which they won, opening a seven-point gap ahead of ourselves.
However, while compared to how we started the season the last few weeks have been slightly disappointing, if you'd have told me that we'd have taken nine points from Tranmere, Eastleigh, Macclesfield, Aldershot & Forest Green - and not lost to any of them - I wouldn't have believed you.
I have to be honest though, I'm not that confident today. While Gateshead aren't the greatest team in the league, they will be tough and our side is already feeling depleted. If we are to defeat the Heed today, we'll have to do it without Okenabirhie, Boucaud and maybe Guttridge.
But we've only lost once and conceded three goals at home this season, so I wouldn't put it past us to get a result. Forest Green also have a tough game and indeed a tough run so, if we can pick up points, we might be able to make ground on them.
Come on you Daggers! 3 points please....
I am Joel Page, Dagenham & Redbridge FC fan. Here I will share some of my experiences.