Daggers Take Heart From Improved Performances
Before I start with the football on the pitch, everyone at the club was left saddened by the passing of club legend and local footballing great Ted Hardy. He was instrumental in Dagenham & Redbridge’s success in getting to Wembley for the first time on his return to the club after managing earlier Dagenham – prior to the merger. Many tributes have poured in, the overriding feeling being that the club wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for Ted.
It was a week of overall positivity on the pitch on the performance front, but the result in the FA Cup, the manner of the defeat left many deflated. Gutted is an understatement; yet on reflection, I can’t overstate the pride felt by myself and other Daggers after a spirited performance – full of grit, determination and desire.
The system, 4-4-2, seemed to work effectively – though not managing to secure a victory – able to soak up pressure and also utilise their attacking force well. The Daggers’ transition from defence to attack was rapid and threatening to the Mansfield back line.
In spite of the loss, the Daggers picked themselves up and went again in the league, now we haven’t won many in the league this season and supporters went into the game saying they’d take a point – myself included – and that’s what we got. Securing a point in the goalless draw was decent enough against a Notts County side who we know are more than likely to be up there at the end of the season.
This settling for a point wasn’t just to do with the opposition’s ability but more the fatigue of McMahon’s men after 120 minutes of full throttle action which saw their hopes of progression dashed by a 121st minute Maynard goal. Furthermore, the fact the players had to drive up there and back themselves after the team coach broke down was less than ideal preparation to both the cup and the effect it had on the league game.
However, we’ll move onto the league game, as I say it was a decent point and performance overall – though the game could have been easily lost if the visitors were to have taken their chances – the Daggers had opportunities themselves. The last game at Victoria Road without fans was a good one for Daryl McMahon and he, along with everyone at the club, can’t wait for the 12th man to join them in the terraces and stands.
After both of the games last week, the Irishman also expressed his delight at the performances and how the side (injured players recovering) was more the one he had built and envisaged. The performances now on par with what he expects, a huge December ahead for the Daggers, in their pursuit of climbing the table.
I’ll just touch on the 4-4-2 formation briefly before I preview this action in the week ahead, and I am a big fan of it. Whether this is temporary, just to be used as an alternative formation, or a way forward – I support it. The likes of Weston and Deering have shone in this formation and another who has stood out at centre back is Luke Croll – seizing the opportunities given to him.
With there still being room for improvement, Dagenham will look to build on recent performances and get a victory today at the EBB Stadium as they face Aldershot. An Aldershot team that will outnumber the Daggers with home supporters in attendance; nonetheless, though it’ll be a battle, I back McMahon’s men to rise to the challenge and be victorious.
Then, a similar test will be faced on Tuesday as they make the trip to Weymouth in front of their home crowd, though, they are in my view a slightly easier opponent than the Shots. But, they are by no means an easy opponent, the Terras, as there is no such thing in this league.
All in all, I hope this week is the week McMahon and his team show the very best of what they can do and start climbing the table as needs to be done very soon. A big month ahead, and it’s now just seven days before Dagenham supporters can see their side in the flesh back in action at Victoria Road.
Stay safe and COYD!