DOBSON IS A DAGGER!
Now eight unbeaten The Daggers travelled across London to Gander Green Lane to face Sutton. Gray’s men were going into this one off the back of a 4-0 victory over Chesterfield so it was set to be a close encounter. The artificial surface would have theoretically aided The Daggers’ playing style but the torrential rain made the surface quite slippery.
After switching ends the game got underway and the home side started much the brighter of the two teams with some good chances early on. Tommy Wright had the first of the opportunities to get an early lead rolling an effort just past the post. Minutes later, with all the action coming down the right hand side the Us came close as a good ball in was scrambled clear.
With ten minutes played Dagenham finally found their feet as Grant had two penalty appeals in as many minutes - they looked dangerous going forward. Manny Onariase tried his luck from a corner with his effort winning another set piece that was defended well. Ajiboye still posed a threat every time he was on the ball with Sutton working the ball to him on every occasion; though Graham did a good job tracking back.
The Daggers soon began to dominate as after a failed attempt by Grant of getting the better of Goodliffe; Reece did get the better of the ex Dagger but the final ball wasn’t there. Frustration grew as Balanta was caught offside following quality control; he needed to watch the line as the Colombian definitely had the beating of the back four otherwise.
After a sustained spell of attacking dominance from the visitors Sutton looked to get in front going into the break as Eastmond’s volley came close. Within two minutes Gray’s men looked to counter and they did dangerously but Matt Robinson was on hand to deny the hosts.
Then what happened next was unbelievable... with one eye on McQueen lining up the free kick and another on the scoreboard I waited with the utmost anticipation. Alex whipped it in and Reece Grant was on hand to score his first goal in a Dagenham shirt! Taylor’s men were one up before the break and I had just won £50 on the golden goal!
Now many would’ve taken that going into the break but the eleven on the pitch wanted to capitalise on their dominance. So they did! It was none other than James Dobson who caused two defenders to slip on the edge before nestling the ball into the far corner. He relished the moment and so did every Dagger in the ground as those two goals couldn’t have come at a better time - right on the whistle.
Going into half time obviously the host were deflated so they were no doubt given a rousing speech and lecture in not giving up. Whereas I have no doubts Taylor’s message was clear and that was not to concede an early goal - letting their opponents back into the game.
The match got underway and as expected the home side pushed for an early goal to try and find a way back into the game. Gray’s men won consecutive corners early on but those set pieces only resulted in an Eastmond effort rising over the bar.
Peter Taylor soon introduced Harold Odametey to the field of play in place of Bagasan Graham looking to see the game out 55 minutes in. The Daggers continued to work hard eventually forcing a Sutton attack all the way back to Butler. Though Ajiboye was still causing issues and looking a threat - creating space for himself - but Captain Clark was on hand to deny him.
Looking to kill the game off up the other end Grant was set through on goal by Robinson but Goodliffe denied his former club a third goal. Quigley and Luque looked to continue this attacking intent as they replaced Grant and Balanta on the 80th minute.
Calls for a penalty were rife on the 83rd minute from Daggers supporters and players alike but waved away by the referee who didn’t see the handball. From there on in the away side’s goal was under siege but they were dealing with it rather well. After a double substitution from the hosts time was very much against them but Ben Goodliffe came close to beginning a very late comeback.
The defender’s effort was ultimately blocked and Joe Quigley was on hand to relieve all pressure driving up the length of the pitch to win a corner. That was that as belief grew in the away section in the closing minutes - that belief was finally confirmed on the ref’s whistle.
Nine unbeaten. Two clean sheets. Not a bad week overall for The Daggers, in fact one of the best of the season so far - now 6th in the league. It was a great performance at Gander Green Lane last night and long may it continue... at Victoria Road on Saturday.
Chorley are rock bottom of the league so on paper it is an easy win but everyone knows thee is no such thing in English football. I can’t wait for the encounter on Saturday. Let’s make it 10!
Thanks for reading,