the daggers voice
When I think about the performances I've seen this season, the reality is some of them have simply not been good enough, especially for a team of our quality. With such tight margins within the division, these dropped points could really prove crucial in the long run, and potentially be the difference between going up and not, which remains the ultimate target.
Obviously, I fully expect us to lose some games, but it's the manner of the defeat which makes things more frustrating. Away at Hartlepool, most of us weren't disappointed because of the fact that we absolutely dominated the game, and Woking away was similar. However, in games where we simply don't turn up for no real reason, that's when things become annoying.........and, worryingly, these are slowly becoming more regular.
And the reason why these are so frustrating is because we all know that the Daggers are so much better than that and, against Dover, and against Guiseley to some extent, we proved it. The Dover performance in particular was so uplifting for the club simply because of how unexpected it was, with most expecting a loss. Following that, we come into our next game at Chester with some confidence.
But Daggers haven't won three games in a row all season, and don't even get me started on our away form. I don't understand how we can have the best home record yet a dismal away one, it's like two different teams turn up. We've been in this situation before; a good week creates a real positive vibe around the club, only for an underwhelming defeat to kill the new-found confidence.
But, despite this, I'm still confident ahead of our visit to the Swansway Chester Stadium. After all, we owe them one after last year's 3-0 defeat, and on our day can beat anybody. Chester, I am told, have only won twice at home in twelve months, but when I watched their game with Wrexham on BT Sport they certainly seemed a decent side.
And, of course, they have a new manager to impress. The time is now for them to turn their season around, and they will surely be smelling blood looking at our travel sickness this campaign. Especially when you see our underwhelming displays against struggling sides this season. We needed last-second goals to scrape points against Solihull and Torquay, and even against Guiseley last weekend were 2-0 down after 25 minutes, although we turned it around, so credit to the team.
You add to this the fact that it's a TV game, meaning an early start for everybody, and we really could be facing a banana-skin today, although a loss wouldn't be that much of a shock, would it? After all, Chester aren't a bad outfit, and we can't afford to be underestimating anybody at this level.
But, despite an underlying sense of negativity within this post, I really feel we can get a result today. If we can keep winning at home, and gradually begin picking up more points on the road, then we really can start steadily moving up the league table. We're 5th at the minute but our best is very much yet to come, and it must start today.
We're no longer into the early stages of the season, it's nearly the core of the campaign. Things begin to matter more and more and, starting today, we need to show what we're capable of every week. Because we are capable of anything with the squad that we have, and our loyal fans deserve more to cheer.
I watch most National League games on BT Sport and that really does influence my perspective on that team. Well today there will be fans of other promotion candidates, judging us. Let's make them worried, let's make them think they're watching the champions. But, above all else, let's show them a determined, energetic performance. A 'Daggers' performance.
We need to step up, and the time is now. Come on you Daggers! And to those of you on your way, like I wish I was, get behind the team and bring home three points.
The Daggers host Guiseley tomorrow in what can only be described as a must-win encounter. Though it would seem too early in the season to be talking about crucial, even defining fixtures, anything other than three points will leave us with a huge gap to make up at the top of the table ahead of a run of fixtures that seems to get tougher with each passing week.
Indeed, there are no easy fixtures in the National League, such is the tightness of the division. Guiseley may sit 20th in the table, but it will take just as much commitment and effort to overcome them as it would any other side. They also managed to defeat Accrington in the FA Cup in midweek, further reiterating that they are no pushovers.
And if Dagenham need any more proof of this, then they should look no further than last season's meeting at Victoria Road. Guiseley, then in a seemingly-perilous position, stunned the home crowd with a dominant performance. Jordan Preston run our defence ragged with a heroic two-goal display in a performance which also saw Whitely sent off and Maguire-Drew missing a penalty.
This year, things are even tighter. Guiseley have picked up form in recent weeks and, following three successive away games without a loss, will arrive with plenty of confidence. Dagenham will be looking to bounce back from Saturday's latest defeat, but if things don't go our way - as fans will be demanding them to - then we could be in for a very frustrating afternoon.
It won't be easy. Already this season we've played a number of struggling sides and haven't enjoyed the best of afternoons. It took last minute goals to scrape a draw at Solihull and to snatch a scarcely-deserved victory against Torquay. Dagenham desperately need to get their campaign back on track and generate some much needed momentum ahead of Tuesday's visit of high-flying Dover.
The ambition for Dagenham is still to gain promotion, although things haven't gone our way much recently. However, as much as we've struggled, our home performances have been generally top class, and with Morgan Ferrier set to return, and Dan Sparkes also in contention, we have a lineup capable of beating any team.
The problem is we really haven't been proving it. Too many times the team have not turned up, and there's no excuse for that. We have a team of players more than capable of fulfilling the goals set by John Still, and tomorrow is our chance to show it. Admittedly it would take a lot more than a win against Guiseley to convince people that we're still capable of winning the league, but it would be a start.
After a great August, our season has somewhat derailed. Well, tomorrow is our chance to get it back on track. Get behind the team, and I'm sure they'll deliver. A big performance is needed.....
The days are getting shorter and the nights are shorter; for the Daggers, as we hurtle towards Winter, this means we enter a month that has typically proved impossible to negotiate in the past. November: it very nearly destroyed our season last year, so how will we fare this time out...
Consistently inconsistent, our form has fluctuated dramatically since the campaign began. A scintillating, unbeaten August left us top of the table having scored considerably more than any other club, but it wasn't a sign of things to come. September was a mixed bag, before the true blip followed last month. Just two goals in seven outings was a far cry from what was expected and, for many, was a reality check.
Add to this a cup defeat against that lot up the road and you have a month to forget. It wasn't all bad of course; we earned a great win against Macclesfield and good points at Maidenhead and Aldershot, but safe to say we will all be hoping for a better month ahead.
What makes things promising - though - is that, even after what should go down as our most underperforming month of the season, we are still within five points off top spot. No team is running away with this division, so imagine where we could be after a good month.
And so we come to November. Dagenham have always seemed to struggle in the build-up to Christmas and last year was no different, as we encountered a huge spell of injuries. We were beaten by struggling Torquay (0-1), battered by Barrow (1-4) and suffered an FA Cup exit at the hands of Halifax, then of the division below. And let's not even mention 'that' Gateshead game. This left us on a potentially slippery slope and, even though we eventually turned things around, we fell away from top spot and never managed to catch up.
So that's how important one month can be and, after a week's break from competitive action, the team should be raring to go for Saturday's clash at Tranmere. After a disastrous start, the pre-season promotion favourites have recovered well and are in the best form they could be in. When you also consider a televised FA Cup replay against Peterborough on the horizon, they will be full of confidence and could easily punish us.
We will also be looking to prove a point in this match. Our away form, which was ranked 1st last season, has taken a depressing turn. The last time we won on the road was in the second game of the season, and since then we've been alternating between losses and draws away from home. Already this season we've dropped 18 points on our travels - which is just eight fewer than the WHOLE of last year.
So therefore, a long journey to a daunting stadium in front of a large crowd is probably not the most ideal place to put to bed our poor away form. But a win at Prenton Park would be a real statement and dare I say a sign of future champions, but the question is......can we handle the pressure?
So, come on boys, go for it. If the last month has taught us anything it should be to not be afraid to go for goal, so if we play to our strengths then I see no reason why we can't triumph. I can't think of a better attack than ours and we're supposed to be a great side, let's bloody prove it!
Come on you beautiful, mighty Daggers x
I am Joel Page, Dagenham & Redbridge FC fan. Here I will share some of my experiences.