THE ROAD TO COLCHESTER
We’ve made it to the final! Now, it may not be Wembley, as typically we’ve managed to get to the only final we could get to that isn’t played at the national stadium. However it’s a final nonetheless and a chance to get our hands on some silverware regardless of its prestige. I am optimistic about the final as we face Billericay in what I hope will be the first trophy of many for McMahon at the club.
I wouldn’t like to underestimate the opponents though and feel it would be wise to play a full-er strength team to get the job done. I would still stick with Strizovic in goal though as he has helped Dagenham throughout the competition to get to this stage. Aside from the selection, watching on will be the keen eyes of the owners whom confirmed they’d be in attendance via Twitter.
For them, a trophy is a trophy so they’ll be desperate to get their hands on the prize!
As this post is entitled the Road to Colchester (that is a road as in journey not the A12 or Colchester Road) I will look back on this season’s Essex Senior Cup journey - from Round 3 to the Final.
Let’s start at Round 3 where the Daggers faced Hullbridge Sports in the only game that has been played away from Victoria Road so far in the competition. It wasn’t a very convincing scoreline but the Daggers got the edge thanks to a Reece Grant goal early on. 157 fans watched on at Lower Road on what was a cold Tuesday night in October.
Up next after a few rearrangements and a whole three months after the Hullbridge encounter Barking were the opponents under the lights at Victoria Road. It was the first win of the Daryl McMahon era, in what was dubbed ‘The Battle of the Borough’, with Barking being defeated 3-2 - this one was decided at the death.
Bagasan Graham got the decisive goal on a bitter January night, in a weakened side as Daryl admitted he’d give fringe players a chance to prove themselves. The opponents gave a decent account of themselves but the stamina just wasn’t there and that obviously comes with having considerably less training than the Daggers.
So, McMahon’s side advanced after seeing off some brave opposition and it was time for Tilbury to be welcomed to Victoria Road. Now this one provided great entertainment with eight goals in total with five being scored by the hosts. Tilbury’s hopes of silverware were dashed in the eight-goal thriller, following a later surge from the Daggers seeing them come from behind to defeat Tilbury 5-3. Reece Grant got a brace with goals in the 76th and 88th minutes - making it four goals for him in the Essex Senior Cup this season. Bagasan Graham, Will Wright and Joe Quigley all made it onto the scoresheet.
Then, it was Semi-Final time with National League South side Concord looking to stop Dagenham in their tracks. With Tilbury and Barking both putting in brave performances but ultimately being defeated after 90 minutes - Concord thought they had a good chance. That chance was so nearly taken in normal time as ex-Daggers descended on Victoria Road with James Blanchfield, or perhaps more notably, Danny Green returned.
It was Aron Pollock who put his side in front after Danny Green found him from a free-kick on the 64th minute. McMahon’s side still had time to turn it around but left it late to equalise as a creative corner was poked home. There was confusion over who scored the goal and it was left for the players to decide (Deering or McQueen).
They would sort that out however after penalties and it didn’t look like anyone was going to miss until O'Donaghue stepped up to take the visitors’ fourth penalty. He’d fired it wide, so it was up to Reece Grant to score and he fired the Daggers to the final with an effort that hit the roof of the net! All five penalties were converted by the Daggers which was very pleasing to see.
So, it’s not quite Wembley we’re off to but it’s a final regardless and I’m sure the Daggers will be supported well as they travel to Colchester. Hopefully they can bring back the trophy because defeat to Billericay would be catastrophic! The Blues would sing about it for a while so a Quigley hat-trick would be great to keep them quiet.
Hopefully as many of you as possible will be making the trip on March 31st!
Thanks for Reading,