For the first time since 2015/16, we’ve reached the FA Cup 2nd round! Now, it wasn’t easy, and for that you have to admire the commitment, desire, quality and all-round attitude in that performance. As one fan put it on Twitter ‘the old Daggers spirit is back’. That’s a view I feel is shared by many this evening as the Daggers, for the first time this season, looked resolute in defence and it all came from a fantastic TEAM performance.

The opposition won ten corners in the first half, McMahon’s men with their backs against the ropes, but we were determined – players throwing themselves in the way of the ball for the shirt and the club. If they were to concede anything; it was to be a corner – not a goal!

This is the Daggers spirit that people felt they hadn’t seen from Daryl’s men this season and were concerned that it had been lost – without it there was little hope of success. But, it was there today with someone who embodies that spirit (wearing the captain’s armband) Abu Ogogo – who led this charge.

Heart was shown in battling for the ball in the middle of the park as well as at the back, a real workman-like performance – everyone putting in a great shift. We’ll park comments on individual performances for now, as the player ratings will go into them in greater detail, but we do also have to talk about the man who came up with two goals – proving to be so decisive.

New signing, Scott Wilson, a replacement for Dagenham’s first choice strikers who were themselves – Paul McCallum more specifically – statement signings. However, boy did Scott Wilson make a statement today, perhaps a performance that sees him become a regular – McCallum still out he’ll have more minutes to prove his worth.

Best performance of the season: great defensive display (a mistake we can gloss over) from the whole team. The patience and willingness to do the hard work out of possession was the thing I take the most pleasure out of as if that is kept up – this team will go far. Also, that clinical finishing was impressive but there were other chances created which is further encouragement.


Elliot Justham – 8

Elliot had spells of action, in which he was his usual self, as well as going close to saving the penalty. The number one did make some key saves when we were on the ropes before half-time which, if they weren’t made, would have seen the game go a very different way. A solid performance from a man who did his job when he needed to today – contributing to a great victory.

Elliot Johnson – 7

Johnson was just one of that back four securing the victory, the whole defence remaining resolute and defending the box well. A solid performance; reflective of the team.

Kenny Clark – 6

He played the best he had this season, in line with his side as a whole, in spite of being stripped of the captaincy. That was until a reckless challenge that so nearly cost the Daggers a victory. A criticism so many hold of Kenny Clark, when running towards goal, he just panics and in the box he dives in as oppose to standing up and ushering away the danger - frustrating. He gave away the penalty, from which the Mariners equalised, and many felt he’d undone all the hard work himself and his teammates had put in – in one rash tackle. However, luckily for him, that error didn’t prove costly and a well-deserved win was dealt to the Daggers.

Luke Croll – 7

A man who hadn’t covered himself in glory either in weeks gone by, not dissimilar to his defensive teammates, however he today contributed to that fantastic defensive display. Not standing out as a key component as part of the victory was Croll, but he did his job and for that you can give nothing but praise. Just to finish on the centre backs, and though it was a 3-1 victory today with a superb team performance – the position of centre half is perhaps still a vulnerability. Many, including myself, obviously citing the loss of Manny Onariase as the reason for this and with him unlikely to return any time soon – I think a replacement for him may be the last piece of the jigsaw. While saying that, we have got Callum Reynolds still to return from injury, unable to prove himself so far – we’ll see how he improves the side on his return.

Will Wright – 8

Some may raise their eyebrows at the fact I’ve given Will Wright an 8, but he stood out at the back for me today. As in that period where we were on the ropes prior to half time – a key part of the match for me – consecutive Grimsby corners being conceded. Wright and Clark stick in my mind as the ones who threw themselves in front of the ball – putting their bodies on the line. As a supporter who wasn’t a fan of his return in the summer after being released; I was impressed with him today. A performance I hope he, along with the rest of the team, can keep up – consistency so often the issue at this level.

Abu Ogogo – 9

Embodying the Daggers spirit today, captain’s armband on, a sight that Dagenham & Redbridge fans adored. Abu Ogogo put in a battling performance from the number 22, he fought in the middle of the park with great experience and passion, drawing fouls to relieve pressure also – on countless occasions. Aside from his performance, for now, and the fact he was captain today brought praise on McMahon for making such a decision from fans. I am hoping, and it’s only a hope, that if he is now captain once again of Dagenham & Redbridge; he will stay at Victoria Road beyond January and beyond this season.

Mitch Brundle – 8

What impressed me with Brundle today, was not that he managed to get on the scoresheet from the spot, but his slide-rule balls forward putting Wilson and Weston in on goal. This element to his game is something I have been looking to see more of this season and he just showed today he is more than a holding midfielder and penalty taker. His ability to penetrate the opposition back line impressed me today. His midfield partner today was Abu Ogogo and later Charlee Adams, with no Matt Robinson in sight. My view on this is that he shouldn’t be omitted from the squad, but does he get in over Brundle and Ogogo? Not for me.

Angelo Balanta – 7

The Colombian was also pivotal in the creative momentum of the side however he is a player who, when he plays at his best, he steals the show. But he didn’t today; unable to get on the ball as much as he’d perhaps hoped. However, fans aren’t talking about Angelo’s performance today, but his injury which he sustained in the closing stages. A suspected hamstring injury which adds him to the long, long list of injuries – so long the exclusive interview before today’s game was with the physio! Balanta’s injuries have held him back in recent seasons so let’s just hope it doesn’t ruin this one and his injury isn’t too serious!  

Sam Deering – 8

Sam was great, as he always is, on the ball today – but also off it. His work rate and hunger to win the ball back today impressed me and his desire to follow the lead of talisman Ogogo. He too, was able to not only be an outlet on the break, but do as Abu did – drawing fouls to relieve the pressure. The latter contributing to the feel of a cup tie and crucially a competent and workman-like performance.  

Myles Weston – 8

Myles looked a constant threat in this tie and caused chaos down the wing – driving into the box and getting in behind. Weston won the penalty in the dying stages due to his persistence and determination to drive into the box – troubling Holloway’s side all game. He was the key outlet for McMahon’s men and has shown today just what the Daggers manager was talking about – just what he is capable of.

Scott Wilson – 10

Last but not least, Mr. Scott Wilson. Firstly, TAKE A BOW! The new signing, as I previously mentioned, made a HUGE statement today, that statement being – he is good enough to become a first team regular and not just a replacement for McCallum/ Clifton. Wilson had few chances to secure a brace, but he was so clinical for a striker at this level, so crucial in any game - but especially in a cup tie where you’re out of possession for large parts. And, therefore he did secure the brace and if he wasn’t forced off through injury he could have taken that penalty to secure a hat-trick. Scott also hit the post just prior to grabbing his second; getting the better of the Grimsby defence several times was so encouraging. This to me was reminiscent of the Ben House and Alex Reid debuts, though this wasn’t Wilson’s debut, grabbing a brace and causing havoc to the opposition back-line – being clinical too. The issue for the latter was consistency, so let’s hope Wilson can continue such performances as today and catapult the Daggers up the table.

That being the key, transforming this form into league form and stringing positive results together to help us climb the table. The climb starts again on Tuesday at Boreham Wood which will be a tough game, but it’s safe to say I’m more confident than I was this morning about that one.

Before then though, the Daggers are in the hat for the second round draw! This being for the first time since 2015 – the ball number to watch out for is 31!

Thanks for reading and enjoy tonight,




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