the daggers voice
After an agonising wait, pre-season had finally arrived. For our first first-team friendly of the season, me and Spencer headed to Ship Lane - a venue Daggers had been training at during pre-season - for a friendly between Ryman North side Thurrock and the Daggers who sent an XI to Ware the night before, losing 3-2.
The day of the game I spent at school for what was a relaxing, not too stressful third-last day before the summer break. When I arrived home at around 15:30, I watched some television and updated Dagnificent before Spencer arrived and, after playing with Holly and Zac for a few hours, left at six. The journey happened to be very easy and very convenient considering Spencer needed to be at Thurrock anyway and we even had time to enjoy a delicious meal at Burger King before getting to the ground.
There were a lot of cars in the carpark and a decent crowd. My first impressions of the ground was that it was a very tidy and cosy ground which looked good for its level. The pitch looked decent too and you could sit wherever. After taking some pictures outside the ground, we looked around and watched Daggers train before settling with some fellow fans in a stand onlooking the centre of the pitch. I bought a mistake-riddled programme which I then read for a while, although it lacked a little bit of effort, although delivered the most pointless league table of all time with all columns reading 0! We then chatted about football and soon the teams emerged onto the pitch. Daggers were sporting their 2010-12 green away kit which we usually wear in pre-season. Eventually the players took their positions and my first match of season 2016/17 got underway with John Still's side starting strongly.
The match itself was a very entertaining contest, with Daggers prevailing 3-1 thanks to a brace from Oliver Hawkins and one from Leo Donnellan. I was very impressed with what I saw from Dagenham and we could've had many more goals, the performance was impressive. The opening goal arrived on 25 minutes when right-back Curtley Williams - who Spencer touted as a potentially good player for us this season - swung in a brilliant cross which was nodded home by Hawkins. By half time it was 2-0 with Hawkins powering home another pinpoint cross and I was left feeling very optimistic at the break. The second-half saw a further goal for each side as the Daggers won 3-1. We weren't as good after the interval but I was still very content with my first watch of the new-look side.
After the match we filmed a hilarious joke interview which rather epitomised the mood of the night. It was such a fun night and a brilliant match which really exceeded my expectations for a friendly. After the game we even had a little chat with John Still who was casually walking through the stand. I arrived home at around 10pm and went to bed, reflecting on the night I had just witnessed. I remember thinking that if we played like that during the season we would have a good season, particularly with Okenabirhie, Williams, Hawkins and Guttridge in the form they were at Ship Lane. It was a great night.
Finally, a big thanks to Spencer for taking me and buying food. I hope to see you at another Daggers game soon!
I am Joel Page, Dagenham & Redbridge FC fan. Here I will share some of my experiences.