the daggers voice
Dagenham & Redbridge v Torquay United | Vanarama National League | Saturday 30th September 2017
As another eventful month drew to a close, we faced a Torquay side who sat rock-bottom with no victories from their twelve fixtures so far. Things were looking bleak for the Gulls, who turned to Gary Owers in search of a change in fortunes. We had just slumped to a draw at Solihull Moors the week prior and so needed a confidence boost, but as we would soon discover, Torquay proved much harder than I thought.
With no midweek game, attentions had quickly turned to this Saturday afternoon encounter, which many, me included, had pinpointed as a clear home win. I have known Daggers long enough to know that we never do things the easy way, of course, but our supreme home form, coupled with the Gulls' dreadful start to the season, only indicated one thing. However, when they signed Rhys Murphy, an old foe who had scored on every game against us since leaving, I suddenly became less confident although, on the day, my excitement began to grow. This would be a chance to bounce back from a disappointing result in style and, considering how tight the league had proved to be, it was also a chance to potentially leap a number of places in the division. Gradually, time passed and soon I was leaving for another game. It had been two weeks since my last, but I'd only missed three this season. After looking through the rest of the National League fixtures, I eventually left at around 1pm, embarking on a short tube journey from Becontree to Dagenham East before a five minute walk. Soon I was at the ground and the welcome sign greeted me, though I do miss the Football League signposting. I headed straight for the clubhouse and, after handing over £3 for a programme, I sat down and read it as the Huddersfield-Spurs game went on behind me. I waited for Nan, accompanying me for her third game of the season, and she came at around half one. Half an hour later and it was time to enter the ground; feeling slightly unwell, I opted not to eat but instead guided us towards near the top of the TBS. I always vowed that I'd never leave my spot in the terrace but, after just a few experiences in the away stand, I won't look back. Warm ups followed and the stadium began to fill up with familiar faces before the countdown to kick-off duly began and, soon after, the teams were striding onto the pitch; Daggers in their red and blue home kit, Torquay sporting a white/grey Nike template kit. The mood inside the ground was good with both sets of fans creating a good noise. Torquay had brought a very reasonable number of fans which, considering the fortunes of their team, was very good support. These are the fans who follow their team week in week out and who don't deserve to suffer the way they are. The Daggers had started with captain Scott Doe back in defence at the expense of Lokko, as Bloomfield also kept his place upfront despite Romain being on the bench. Most of the games at Victoria Road have been thrilling this year, but it struggled to get going this afternoon. Dagenham were being frustrated by a surprisingly-not-terrible Torquay team. Corey Whitely was doing his best to create something but without the usual menace of Ferrier and runs of Cheek, was struggling. Torquay certainly didn't look like a side as poor as the league table suggests. In the end, they wasted the best opportunity of the half, somehow blazing over from an easily-scorable position, which perhaps indicates why they are so low. The Daggers also wasted opportunities but didn't look their usual fluent selves and, by the time the half-time whistle relieved us all of our boredom, we had only managed a couple of decent opportunities. Most of the crowd dispersed at the intervals and I discussed the underwhelming display I had just seen, hoping things would improve. The teams came out for the second half. Come on Dagenham! We really needed three points. But as the half wore on, it looked less and less likely. Time was wearing on, and Torquay infact were looking the better side. But then, just as all was lost, we were handed a lifeline. PENALTY! - it generated the biggest cheer of a miserable afternoon, and for the second week in a row we had the chance to bag a stoppage time goal. Up stepped Fejiri Okenabirhie...........I could barely look......he ran up and.............YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! It was a brilliant moment, The Daggers had won, and in the most dramatic way. We didn't play well, but again we escaped. I guess the Daggers just never give up! I looked at the Torquay fans and they looked absolutely heartbroken, it mustn't be easy for them, but that's life as a football fan. The highs and the lows. It just happened that, this week, it ended with a high. And so I went home happy, and now I look forward to my next game, away at Woking next Saturday. Come on boys!
I am Joel Page, Dagenham & Redbridge FC fan. Here I will share some of my experiences.