Tag Archives: Dagenham & Redbridge

Dagenham And Redbridge 0 AFC Wimbledon 2 13/8/11 – A Match Report

The Dons kept up their record of scoring two goals per game, this time shedding the annoying habit of shipping three, and thus recording our first League points, and League victory, for god knows how long. Nine years apparently. How long will it take us to tire of that song? Another nine years is my guess…

Now I have to admit, I didn’t take the thirty-six stop epic District Line journey I commented on in my preview, partly because I’m not stupid. Perhaps this fixture should be renamed, rather than District Line Derby, surely Change At Waterloo Then Take Jubilee To West Ham Before Boarding An Eastbound Train On The District Line Derby would be more accurate? Once on the District, it’s not exactly a short hop… the train called at Plaistow, East Ham, Barking, Southend, Lowestoft, Rotterdam, Gdansk and Narnia Heathway before finally pulling in to Dagenham East. Ok, not the longest journey we’ve ever made, but I’ve blocked the arse numbing coach journeys to Gateshead and Darlington from my memory, and tube trains weren’t designed for extended occupation…

The ground was pretty close to the tube station, and the Daggers are rare amongst football clubs in that they pretty much roll out the red carpet for visiting supporters… Even the view half way up the spanking new Marcus James end towers over the two adjacent stand roofs, and to cap it off, there’s a bar underneath it, with a couple of TV screens in. And a burger bar out back, that you might miss had there not been a sign at the first burger bar you come across just inside the gates advising not to queue for no reason and giving directions. Now that is class.

What isn’t class is a group of people who want to sit together each buying tickets separately, thus ending up with seats in completely different parts of the stand. We got lucky in that although the Dons contingent was large, it wasn’t quite large enough to fill the 1200 seat stand, meaning spares were available, and I was able to sit with people I know rather than my allocated seat. We got away with it this time, but tactics employed in the Premier League days may need to be redeployed (or not, as I seemed to find myself stuck on my own a fair deal back then…)

Once the game got underway, the travelling support initially had reason to worry, as Dagenham looked the better side early on, and might have threatened had they had a little more composure in front of goal. Unlike last week the Dons, while not looking entirely comfortable, went beyond the twenty-minute mark with sheets still clean, and started looking pretty threatening themselves. Charlie Ademeno was preferred over Christian Jolley for the start, and caused Dagenham all sorts of problems, setting up Jack Midson for the Dons first real chance, but the Not So Secret Footballer prodded over on the stretch.

The Dons eventually went ahead via the penalty spot, but it’s no exaggeration to say they should have had two more… a handball that went unspotted along with a rugby tackle on Midson, and along with this it appeared as though the Daggers should have gone down to ten men after their last man hauled down Midson just outside the area (him again, not having much luck with the referee as we’ll see in the second half…). As all these incidents took place down the opposite end it was difficult to tell what the referees thinking was behind turning down any of them.

When the referee finally caved in and pointed to the spot, the incident looked a little innocuous. A big Sam Hatton throw from the right flicked on and hitting the guy somewhere on the upper arm, the weight of previous appeals finally got to the man in black. The award caught the Dons fans a little off guard, one of those weird delayed celebrations followed as people finally caught on with what had happened. Luke Moore made no mistake with the kick, sending the keeper the wrong way for his second of the season.

With the tunnel situated just in front of the travelling support, the Dons fans were able to give the referee a little advice on his first half performance on the way in, followed by Charlie Ademeno, who was given a more rousing reception. Charlie’s performance was really encouraging, building on decent showings from the bench against Crawley and Bristol Rovers, and if he can stay fit he could prove a surprise hit… On signing I think most Dons fans expected Charlie to support an eventual Kedwell replacement, yet on recent form he’s providing us with everything Kedwell gave us and more, hardworking, almost impossible to shake off the ball and with an eye for goal.

Ademeno’s departure meant Jack Midson sneaked off almost unnoticed, blood appearing to be spurting from a head wound – well, perhaps ‘spurting’ is over dramatic, there was definitely red stuff on show. Not having seen the incident he could well have collided with a spectator with a heavily loaded hot dog, absence of mustard suggests that wasn’t the case, but either way Midson returned after the break, no bandaging apparent.

To be honest the Dons threatened to run away with it in the second half, Dagenham went from looking ex-League One to Conference fodder within the space of forty-five minutes. The second goal effectively finished the game, and was a fantastic effort from Toks, striding forward as the defence backed off, allowing him to fire a left foot effort into the top corner of the net, and worth the journey and ticket price on its own.

Dagenham had a spell lasting about five minutes directly after the goal where they forced a series of corners, but to be honest the Dons looked more likely to extend their lead from that point on. Even the removal of Ademeno provided little respite, Jolley coming on to terrorise the tiring home defence. Yet Wimbledon’s best chance of extending the lead was thwarted once again by the referee, this time right in front of the Dons follower allowing no excuses… Midson brought down as he bore down on goal, quite why the referee turned that one down I’ll never know.

The Dons were good value for the two goal cushion at least, but this early in the season it’s nice to see Wimbledon supporters remaining pretty grounded. This early in the season its hard to judge just how good a win this was, although three points away are always handy no matter which league you happen to be playing in, we’ll probably have more of an idea how we’ll get on by mid-September.

Until then, what of Dagenham? They certainly didn’t look like a side that almost survived in League One last year, although by all accounts they had a fair few injuries. Unlike Crawley and Bristol Rovers they probably won’t be challenging this year, and showed as much by failing to take advantage of a Dons defence still getting to grips with the division. They are probably closer to what you would expect of a mid table side this term, and if so we aren’t going to have too many problems achieving a respectable position this term.

For Wimbledon, well I remember commenting a little while back Nostradamus-like that losing a twenty goal a season striker won’t be a problem so long as goals are spread amongst the team, and here we are now, six goals scored, five goalscorers. Now if we do find that twenty goal hitman before the end of August (or one of Charlie/Jack/Luke get the knack of hitting the net), and the rest keep chipping in, who knows where that could take us?

We now move on to Plymouth and Hereford over the next week, two sides who shipped seven goals between them on Saturday. Yet once again, let’s keep our feet on  the ground for a moment (he says, after suggesting otherwise in the previous paragraph…). Plymouth are a young side operating under extreme pressure and budgetary constraints, their heavy home defeat could be as much of a blip as their decent point at Shrewsbury on the opening day. And Hereford, well a win in midweek over Macclesfield is a possibility, and could give them the confidence they have been looking for. The problem with being in a League where every dog has his day, what if we are the dog and have just had ours?

Two tough games, to add to the two we’ve already played and forty-two that will follow…

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Daggers Preview

It’s been a strange, depressing week. A week where the painful reminder there are an awful lot of fuckwits in our society, wandering among us on a daily basis, has been splashed on our TV screens… of course, I could quite easily use that very same sentence in a couple of weeks when Big Brother returns (I thought we’d killed that off…). Seriously though, it does make you wonder why we lock up intelligent creatures like monkeys in zoos when these animals are rampaging around among us, simply because they happen to be the same species as us? Let’s free the monkeys and take our kids to see these clowns throwing their shit over each other instead. The added benefit being the newly freed monkeys will benefit the economy, as they genuinely will work for peanuts…

This blog has always attempted to remain politically ambiguous, so I’m hoping the previous introduction will have offended both left and right equally… my right leaning readers will be frothing at the mouth that not only do I appear to be a closet animal rights campaigner, I’m also advocating the release from behind bars of known immigrants to undercut British workers… whereas the more liberal of you are preparing to boycott a blogger who compares what was a predominantly black crowd with monkeys. I’ll leave open the question of whether I’m actually part of the fascist media machine, like the BBC; or some kind of liberal conspiracy, erm, like the BBC…

While South West London has largely been untouched by the civil unrest, the Dons have been affected by looters…although it wasn’t publicised at the time, the club did actually sign Darren Bent on Monday, and stored him in the cupboard under the Strank Stand for safe keeping. Opportunists from the Cambridge Estate then broke into Kingsmeadow on Tuesday night and made off with him… rumour has it the big hitman is now being hawked in the pubs and markets of South London as I write… Seriously, with Jason Euell finally signing for Charlton this week (the tease…), losing out on one experienced front man can be considered unlucky, missing two suggests we were barking up the wrong tree to start with. I wonder whether that young striker Terry said was waiting in the wings is still prepared to sign up, or whether we have to start our search for a goalscorer afresh.

The irony is, with four goals in two games, and three of our forwards off the mark for the season already, the last thing we need is a striker. The Dons head to a Dagenham side desperate for the solid defensive performance that has so far eluded them, knowing the hosts will be the most direct threat we have faced as yet, and looking to capitalise on any errors forced. Like every manager in the division, John Still would have noticed how the Dons young side haven’t quite got to grips with the pace of this division yet, they are going to close down our back four quickly and at every available opportunity. If the Dons want to continue their commitment to playing football from the back, they are going to have to learn to switch on and concentrate for the full ninety.

In terms of any possible changes to the starting eleven, over the opening two fixtures we have looked much stronger following the introduction of three players. One of those is Charlie Ademeno, but having not played a full part in preseason and suffering a heel problem I don’t expect to see him start any time soon, the benefit being we can bring him on against tiring defences and watch him cause havoc, as he did against Bristol Rovers. Chris Bush has given us options when chasing the game in terms of getting himself over the halfway line, but I would expect Gwillim to start ahead of him once more, his experience, and more importantly his knowledge of the Dagenham boys will be vital on the field.

Which brings me on to Lee Minshull. The Dons looked much stronger when he came on last Saturday, and he was my surprise tip for a starting role on Saturday (at least he was until the Herald trumped me… damn journalists and their aversion to guesswork and hunches… they’ll put me out of business, if I had one…). The question is, if he does start, who is going to miss out? The choice is Wellard or Porter, with the former dropping back and filling in for Porter if he misses out. I have a feeling TB will opt for Minshull to replace Ricky as a like for like change, with Minshull getting involved and causing havoc going forward.

So my expected Dons XI is as follows (I’m 100% on this so far this season, stat fans, and looking to extend my perfect record to a second week…).

Brown

Hatton

Gwillim

Johnson

Stuart

Porter

Minshull

Yussuff

L Moore

Midson

Jolley

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The League Two Files – Dagenham And Redbridge

Our first away game in the Football League sees us brave a thirty-six stop marathon down the District line for a trip to Dagenham. In a way its a visit to a club that provide a template for our clubs immediate ambition… consolidation in League Two, followed by a promotion effort a couple of years down the line. It took Dagenham just two years to reach the third tier of English football, but unfortunately only one year up in League One, a victim of the fluid movement between the two divisions four up-four down brings.

Still, an incredible performance… an example for smaller clubs showing success can be achieved in League Two, and relatively quickly to boot, providing the club is well run. Dagenham have already achieved more in League football than some clubs do in decades. Much of the credit must go to manager John Still, a man current Dons boss Terry Brown clearly has a lot of respect for, something that perhaps eased through Gareth Gwillim’s permanent move across London during the summer… that Dagenham didn’t kick up a fuss and try to demand a fee (however small) for a player we clearly wanted, speaks highly of the integrity of club and management, and I hope we get the opportunity to repay that in some way in the future, even if all that means is selling out their stand come Saturday afternoon.

HISTORY

We’ve come across clubs with fractured histories in the past during our rampage through the non-league game, none more so than the Daggers themselves. There’s enough history in the clubs that eventually came together to form the current entity to write three articles… Ilford, Leytonstone and Walthamstow Avenue won the FA Amateur Cup on seven occasions, including Leytonstone’s 1947 victory over the Dons, and you can throw Dagenham’s 1980 FA Trophy victory into the mix.

The series of mergers began when Ilford and Leytonstone came together in 1979, picking up Walthamstow Avenue along the way and becoming Redbridge Forest in 1989. The new club shared Dagenham’s Victoria Road ground and eventually merged in 1992, by which time Redbridge Forest had earned a place in the Conference.

The now fully formed Dagenham & Redbridge FC initially found themselves bach in the Isthmian League a few year s later, winning promotion once more in 2000 and becoming a real force in the Conference. To say the club knocked on the door of the Conference is an understatement, runners-up for the title in 2002… and they would have been champions too had it not been for some hardcore cheating from Steve Evans and Boston United – the Daggers two games against Crawley this season should prove very interesting…

After a few seasons rebuilding, including John Still returning effectively for the fourth time (after two spells as Leytonstone/Ilford manager, and a stint around the period Dagenham and Redbridge came together) in 2004, the Daggers finally made it to the Football League in 2007, pipping Oxford to the title. For a club of Dagenham’s size, mere survival was the initial ambition, and the club managed a 20th place finish in their first season.

A year later the club were at the right end of the table, finishing 8th and only missing out on a playoff place on the final day of the season. They were to go one better next time around, not just in terms of finishing in an all important seventh place, but defeating Morecambe (7-2 on aggregate) and Rotherham to claim a place in League One for the first time.

LAST SEASON

Dagenham far from made up the numbers in League One last season, despite being the smallest side in the division. Despite those intimidating four relegation spots, and aided in a way by the self-destruction of Plymouth and Swindon, the Daggers fought to the very last day. Unfortunately they slipped to their biggest defeat of the season, 0-5 at rampant (and soon to be promoted via the playoffs) Peterborough, meaning Walsall stayed up despite a 3-1 defeat at Southampton.

A season that was always going to be a struggle probably wasn’t helped by the clubs inability to keep clean sheets, only six, the lowest in the division. If they had converted just one single goal defeat into a point they would have stayed up, instead they find themselves back in the basement, presumably the experience gained will ensure they will remain a tough opponent, even if an immediate return to League One is beyond them for now.

THE GROUND

The problem traditionally non-league teams face, one that the Dons are currently feeling and which Dagenham are in the process of dealing with, is that an impressive non-league stadium provides barely adequate once in the Football League. While the Dons seating issues will be resolved next summer with the construction of the new stand, Dagenham are one step ahead with their seating solution, and Dons fans will benefit from the new Marcus James stand on Saturday.

With the exception of the Main (Carling) Stand the rest of the ground is terracing, covered down the side and open at the end (with added scoreboard). With a capacity of just over 6000 Victoria Road (or the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Stadium) has now fulfilled Football League requirements

ADMISSION

Dons fans already in possession of tickets will have taken advantage of Dagenham’s pre-purchase deal, with a sharp markup on those tickets bought on the day (in brackets);

Adults £19 (£22)

Concessions £13 (£15)

I haven’t compared them with Dons prices because not having seating behind the goal at the moment doesn’t make for an accurate comparison, but those who buy on the day on Saturday (and invariably will get stuck in the corner) will find they have paid £3 more than the best seats in the house at Kingsmeadow…

PREVIOUS

I’m not going down my normal route of delving into the history of WFC encounters with the Daggers previous incarnations, as there were just too many of them… 94 meetings with Ilford, and 9o with Leytonstone, as well as 54 encounters with Walthamstow Avenue. and not forgetting the six times we faced Dagenham.

In the modern era, for both clubs, this is the first competitive encounter, however the Dons went down 0-1 in a pre-season game at Victoria Road back in 2004.

LINKS

Official Website

Daggers Forum

9 Men

Football Ground Guide

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