It was an exciting Saturday afternoon as The National League season got underway with a newly promoted side playing at Victoria Road - Woking - who had bounced back at the first time of asking. Dowson’s men took on a new look Daggers side with many making their competitive debut for the Essex club. The starting XI (below) saw 6 debutants take to the field those included Eleftheriou, Croll, Brundle, Odametey, Graham and Quigley. 


Photo: @Dag_RedFC

The Cards got the game underway however didn’t dominate in the early stages with both sides forced to defend - catching attackers offside in the process. McQueen who was caught offside in the second minute did excellently to keep the ball in and win a corner but it was glanced across the goal by Quigley. That soon proved costly as Brundle fouled on the edge of the area and Tarpey's cross was headed in after two aimless headers upwards by the defence - poor defending.

Another corner came and went with no attacking threat but Brundle was showing great fire and intelligence early on. The former Dover man and Eleftheriou were encouraging passing and good football throughout the team but that did lead to numerous misplaced passes. 

The hosts were playing it around well but couldn’t get a sight of goal which isn’t ideal for a side pushing for promotion. However, there was some great battling in the midfield by Odametey and Brundle notably - getting it out wide to Eleftheriou. Despite seeing a lot of the ball The Daggers were soon threatened as a low cross easily got into the bow on Croll’s left hand side, ultimately it was turned behind Justham tips a over. From the resulting corner Manny headed it onto the bar and behind goes - luckily the referee gave a goal kick (doing at least one thing in our favour). 

Great passionate tackles were flying in but approaching the 30 minute mark there was still no shot on target - Quigley was just not involved. Going into the break The Daggers were ramping up the pressure as a nice move saw Manny play it out wide to Eleftheriou who set it back to Balanta - his shot was blocked! Due to the number of players going forward just before the half drew to a close Clark had to show a great burst of pace to get back and cut the ball out before Tarpey could get a shot away. Dagenham’s last chance came as Brundle set Balanta away down the right putting a lovely ball across to Quigley in the middle, but the striker slid and put it wide - he just didn’t get there quick enough due to poor positioning. 


The Daggers went into the break with a ring of boos urging them and Taylor down the tunnel to have a rethink. As home supporters were growing increasingly frustrated at the sheer lack of goalmouth action - Quigley the key issue. However, Taylor didn’t change anything in terms of personnel at the break as his side resumed play starting in a worse fashion to how the last 45 had ended. 

Similar to how they played in the first half minus the good passing was how the second half started which was only going to be a recipe for failure. Despite this obvious start in the first seven minutes Taylor didn’t change it up and things went from bad to worse for Dagenham. With 52 minutes on the clock The Daggers found themselves on the wrong end of a 2-0 score line sending Woking fans into Jubilation - a tough sight to see.The goal cake again due to poor defending from a set piece something the gaffer said he would work on after last season (didn’t work). Eight minutes later Taylor introduced Luque and Dobson, whom he should have started, to replace McQueen and Graham. 

Just minutes later, what looked to be the turning point in the match came - and went - as Quigley was played in but never pulled the trigger! Frustrating. Reece Grant was stripping ready to come in to put us out of our misery (so we thought) but Quigley remained on the pitch as Grant replaced Odametey. The best chance of the game came for Dagenham just moments after the striker was introduced as Reece’s bullet header went just wide of the target. In an attempt to halt the hosts’ momentum The Cards made a double substitution just a couple of minutes before making another - the latter forced to exit at the opposite side of the pitch due to new rules.

On the 83rd minute Dagenham seemed to spring into life as Balanta put a teasing ball in to the box after some good hold-up play from Quigley - there was no one on the end of it. However, due to committing men forward The Daggers nearly daw themselves 3 down but Kenny Clark got back to make a last-ditch challenge as Meite looked to seal victory. Another good effort came as Mitch Brundle’s low driven strike forced a save prompting sarcastic applause from Daggers fans. However, the next applause were that of appreciation as Balanta forced an acrobatic save - with the forward hitting a curling effort but it was too little too late. The referee signalled for full time to the relief of some fans and the overriding feeling was that of disappointment in Taylor and the team. 

Though today was a disappointment we must look forward and realise that these players are disappointed also and will work hard to bounce back (below). So onto Tuesday and our first three points! 

Thanks for reading,

Keane COYD 💙❤️⚔️


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