the daggers voice
On Tuesday evening, me and my uncle Spencer travelled to the EBB Stadium to see Dagenham entertain Aldershot in a Vanarama National League fixture. The match was my fourth away game of the season but, unfortunately, would result in us suffering a 3-1 defeat.
Match Appeal: Aldershot had the best home record in the division and were slowly creeping up on the playoffs having defeated Sutton 2-0 three days prior. We still sat in 4th place but were on a dismal run of form, meaning that it was impossible to predict the outcome. This would be a big fixture for both sides.
Journey: After returning to school, I charged my phone and got my things together before we left at around 4.15pm. The journey itself was not too bad and, despite hitting a bit of traffic around midway through the trip, we arrived in just over an hour and a half. Most of the journey was spent listening to music and discussing the game we were about to witness. We also amazingly managed to catch up with the Supporters Club Coach!
Pre-Match: It took us a while to find somewhere to park but we eventually did near the La Fontaine pub which we would later go in. But before that, we went back around the main entrance of the ground to take some pictures. We then went into a very decent club shop which seemed very well maintained, where I got a fantastic programme for £3. After that, we ventured back to the pub and got some drinks while I read the programme and chatted to some fellow Daggers. At around 6.45pm, we left and walked outside (the light had now been replaced by darkness) and headed back for the ground.
Programme: One of the best I've seen as a visiting fan with, clearly, lots of effort put in. There were around 8 columns altogether which made for interesting reading, aswell as a special feature reflecting on the demise of Aldershot FC, which was almost 25 years to the day, and around 4 pages devoted to Dagenham. It looked so professional and classy.
First Impressions: The ground was similar in size to ours and looked very tidy, with the pitch particularly in near-pristine condition. There were two stands on either side with one, alongside a curving terrace which wasn't opened for our visit, given to away supporters, next to a large stand full of vocal Shots fans. Overall, I was impressed, although there were lots of bollards obstructing the view.
Buildup: Spencer and I entered the turnstiles and went straight to the refreshment area, buying a burger for us both and sharing chips which were drowned in tomato sauce and, as Dad joked via Whatsapp, looked like 'a crime scene'. After changing our seats multiple times (and accidentally sitting in the Aldershot area) we finally settled down. Kick-off was upon us and my excitement was building!
First Half: The worst half of football I have possibly ever seen us play. As the rain lashed down my mood was just as miserable as we gifted away possession time and time again, failed to apply any pressure and defended shockingly. As a result we were duly outclassed and trailed 2-0 at the break, although there were no complaints as it could've been more.
Second Half: An improvement but we had given ourselves way too much to do. There was, however, a twenty minute spell where we played quite well and - after Scott Doe scored - we really started to believe. But it was only false hope and, when Okenabirhie worryingly went off, any hopes were swiftly ended, and even more so when substitute and ex-Dagger Matt McClure curled home a delightful strike.
Atmosphere: The 109 away fans started off quite noisy but fell silent as they watched the team implode. It was pretty much the opposite for Aldershot, who started off less vocal but as they took control of the match began to chant more vociferously. Credit to them though, as they didn't stop singing from then on.
Return Journey: Went far more quickly and we arrived back to my house near 11pm.
Overall Summary: So a decent trip and night that unfortunately didn't match the game. It was just an abysmal performance, but at least there was a goal to cheer.
Thanks: And finally, a huge thanks to Spencer for taking me, which I hugely appreciate. My next Daggers match is on Saturday, when York City visit Victoria Road.
I am Joel Page, Dagenham & Redbridge FC fan. Here I will share some of my experiences.