‘THE NEXT PAUL BENSON!’
Off the back of a good point on the road The Daggers looked to go one better at Victoria Road and take all three points as Yeovil were in town. Darren Sarll’s men had also had a run of mixed results going into this encounter like The Daggers - they were also in need of three points. It was built up to be an exciting encounter with both sides going in for nothing less than a win - plenty of goals were expected.
This is the team that faced Yeovil (can’t move Keeper back so to be clear Clark is a CB and Robinson CM) with a 3-5-2 kind of formation with Balanta in a No.10 role.
Quigley’s start again frustrated me like many and the absence of Luque was also frowned upon. Also, I was disappointed to see Gordon start on the bench after his involvement in the 4-2 victory over Harrogate. Despite the negatives, this wasn’t the worst team Taylor had ever put out - the return of Manny was exciting!
Peter Taylor’s men got the game underway and looked in control early on, the first opportunity came as Angelo Balanta looked for an opening though his effort rattled the crossbar. Minutes later, Matt Robinson looked to open his account for the season and get his second goal for the club but his shot was blocked well. Angelo, the Colombian, continued to cause all sorts of problems subsequently he was fouled by former Dagger Wilkinson who was booked for his troubles. The resulting set piece saw returning centre back Manny Onariase caught offside when presented with the opportunity to get his inaugural Dagenham goal. Though it may seem Yeovil hadn’t touched the ball in these first 15 minutes they had yet with no real purpose or thought to put themselves ahead - The Glovers has defended well. Dagenham continued to play football in the 30 degrees + heat as Alex McQueen spread the play out wide to Eleftheriou who drove down the line to win a corner. The corner came to nothing as Quigley’s effort was blocked and the referee called a drinks break allowing the sides to regroup.
Yeovil began to get into the game without posing a threat to Elliot Justham’s goal, The Glovers’ crosses and overweighted passes didn’t trouble the shot stopper. Though Dagenham’s No.1 received applause, though not for his saves, but his excellent distribution as he picked out the likes of Graham and Balanta. Darren Sarll’s men finally tested Justham and a tough test it was as Elliot got down well to deny former Dagger Murphy - turning it behind. The following corner on the 35th minute saw Luke Wilkiinson’s shot blocked in his return to Victoria Road - The Glovers began to get back into the match. Up the other end, McQueen was whipping it into the danger area but Eleftheriou failed to nod it down as The Daggers looked to nick one before the break.
Both sides had half-hearted chances in the three minutes additional time with Murphy’s shot being blocked and Joe Quigley’s tame effort comfortably gathered. Sam Barrott soon signalled for half time and at the right time for The Daggers as The Visitors looked in the ascendency - their momentum had been temporarily halted for half time. Dagenham showed positive signs but there was no sign of an end product up top as Quigley proved rather ineffectual in the first 45 minutes. Another concern I shared at the break was at the back where The Daggers were slow closing down on the edge of the box - goals were bound to be conceded sooner rather than later.
The Somerset side resumed play with one change in personnel for the visitors with Alcock being replaced by Remeao Hutton. The Glovers certainly continued where they had left off and were soon in front through Rhys Murphy whose header got the better of Justham. Charlie Lee’s cross was not dealt with at all by The Daggers defence consequently they found themselves behind within just twenty seconds. There were groans from around the ground as this was very familiar with Eastleigh starting stronger on Saturday straight after the break as they equalised in the 48th minute.
Murphy was on for a quick fire double after a slow response from Dagenham but Rhys’ powerful strike was met by an even more powerful outstretched Justham arm. Taylor was aware something had to change soon if Dagenham were going to be victors in this encounter so he made a double substitution. Both wing backs made way for more offensive wingers as Taylor reverted to a back four; Dobson and Luque replaced Eleftheriou and Graham’s the flanks. With a more traditional formation Luque drove the resurgence troubling right back Hutton every time he was on the ball. Dobson’s introduction didn’t go unannounced as he forced Brzozwski into a save within two minutes of coming on. The first injury of the half saw Lawson D’ath on the ground allowing the players to rehydrate as he received treatment.
Luque was persistently posing a threat down the left as he took on three players but his cross wasn’t met with the same quality as it was cleared. Despite Luque posing a real danger the threat of a second still wasn’t cleared as a well worked move saw Murphy’s volley rise just over. Luque and Balanta began to link up after previous individual showcases as they began to play some great football. The two foreign stars interchanged passes through the middle of the pitch, before Luque had his shot blocked at the last second - a goal seemed imminent for either side. And it was The Hosts who got that goal with possibly one of the most unlikely goal scorers - Joe Quigley - he silenced the critics with the goal and with his mouth as he made his feelings known. It was that man, super Spaniard Joan Luque with a sweet delivery and Quigley rose highest with a powerful header into the net - Wilkinson-esque.
The game was certainly not over on goalscoring terms as both sides threw caution to the wind. Firstly, Angelo Balanta won a header lifting it over Brzozowski, but it rebounded off the bar! On the counter Darren Sarll’s men were so close to regaining the lead and they would have done if it wasn’t for the heroic skill of Justham. He palmed the ball over after a sudden deflection looked to have fooled him but don’t bet against The Daggers No.1 as he denied Yeovil the lead. Play halted for what would probably be the last drinks break - Taylor knew the next goal was crucial.
Justham’s pinpoint ball to Balanta was the start of a lovely move but it frustratingly resulted in no more than a goal kick as the cross was beyond Quigley. The Glovers were under the cosh as Dagenham pushed for a winner, the attacking mindset was evident as Croll found himself in the opposition box. The centre back and Luque exchanged passes, before Croll cut it back to number ten Balanta. He had another well-struck shot blocked - last ditch defending by the visitors made home supporters feel as if it wasn’t their day. Lawson D’Ath made way as Sarll made his last change now looking to hold out it seemed. That ideology and game plan was soon thrown out the window as Manny Onariase rose highest to net for the first time in a Daggers shirt putting his side in front for the first time in the match also.
The celebrations were short lived however as short as 59 seconds in fact; Worthington’s strike into the roof of the net angered home supporters but sent away fans crazy! On the 85th minute Yeovil looked to deal a final blow and get the winner but again Justham had other ideas showing his standing in the goalkeeper world. Still with a bitter feeling following the equaliser home supporters urged their side to find a winner as the fourth official indicated there would be a minimum of five minutes additional time. Tensions almost boiled over as Angelo Balanta was shoved into the advertising boards after the ball had gone out of play - supporters made their feelings known to the referee. A glourious opportunity arose in the penultimate minute of added time as Luque found himself in behind but the Keeper did just enough to take the pace off of the ball as it stopped on the line!
After a weekend of unthinkable moments in the sporting arena Dagenham were going to play ‘til the whistle and they did just that! There were scenes in the terraces as tensions boiled over elsewhere in the ground because Joe Quigley had met Dobson’s cross to put it past Brzozowski! He had become a man who was frowned upon now loved after his brace had surely got The Daggers over the line. The owners and manager were jubilant in their celebrations - Taylor’s belief seemed to have paid off! Barrott soon blew his whistle for full time - Dagenham, Quigley had done it!
So it was an eventful day to say the least yesterday! Four points from the Bank Holiday weekend is what the owners were hoping for and the team had supplied just that. The Daggers now sit in tenth and face Chesterfield on Saturday before the BT Sport cameras descend on Victoria Road for the Bromley game next Wednesday.
Thanks for reading,
Keane ❤️💙⚔️🥳 COYD!