Dagenham & Redbridge suffered yet another defeat to a team in and around the relegation zone on Tuesday night, following a 1-0 reverse at home to Northampton Town. This result now leaves John Still’s men effectively five points adrift of safety thanks to their horrendous goal difference, whilst Aidy Boothroyd’s battlers now find themselves five points above the drop zone.
In all honesty, it was a rather poor game with a draw perhaps being the deserved result, but you can’t argue with Northampton taking their chance and therefore deserving all three points. It’s as simple as that in football, come the 90 minutes all you can do is congratulate the opposition. A very poor opening 45 saw very little goalmouth action, with a Tony Silva run and shot on the right hand side drawing a good save out of the Daggers keeper Lewington. The only threat that Dagenham offered was through the pacy on loan winger Josh Parker, who went on a couple of barn storming runs without any real reward. As the teams went into the break it was all to play for, as statistics show, games involving Dagenham usually always involve goals in the second half of matches.
Somewhat unusually, the start of the second 45 was very slow to get going, with several corners being the only incidents of note. However, it was Northampton that delighted their 660 odd away fans on the 62nd minute when a good run and shot from Michael Jacobs was parried into the path of Toni Silva by Chris Lewington, leaving the Liverpool loan star the easy task of tapping into an empty net. There it was, a 1-0 lead to the away side with no sign of any real momentum from the home strugglers. As it goes I was right, the only thing the Essex side managed to offer was in the closing stages when a good ball in found the head of the unmarked Josh Parker, but somewhat unsurprisingly the loan man couldn’t head into the net, eventually directing the ball straight at former Hull shot stopper Matt Duke.
One player that needs to be singled out for some praise however, is Luke Howell. The midfielder has just returned from injury and no one even expected him to be involved this early on again in the season after an injury he suffered back in September at Hereford. He came in for some criticism from a lot of people at the start of the campaign, but during his time out a lot of people including myself realised what an asset he actually is, moreover you could see his desire out on the pitch last night, chasing down every loose ball and making the challenges when it mattered. He could be the missing link that we need to make our midfield run like it used too. A thoroughly scintillating performance.
This was yet another game where Dagenham should have got the draw, but due to an individual mistake, came away with nothing. I can probably not count on one hand the amount of individual mistakes that have cost us goals and points this season, both of which could now be extremely vital. I maintain the reason we’re in the relegation zone, is due to our severe lack of draws. If we could have converted five of our twenty three defeats into draws, we would be outside the relegation zone; it’s simply our inability to not concede at the correct time. Add to that, we have only picked up 14 points from a possible 45 against teams in the bottom half of the division, another crucial stat that has haunted us for the past one and a half year in fact.
All of this does count for nothing I’m afraid as its one persons opinion, several other Daggers will have other views as to why we are where we are, rightly so as well as at the end of the day everything is a matter of opinion. I can run through them now, John Still, the management, Dave Andrews, not spending, too many players on the books, the wrong loan signings, not spending the budget wisely enough, tactics, Mark Arber, Femi and every other person that various people have used as a hate figure at some point throughout the season. I disagree with all of the above reasons for our demise may I add.
It boils down to the fact that to get out of this inane mess now, the players have to give 100% every game, with no exceptions; I don’t care if one of them has a broken leg, I expect them to fight for this club. This is the club that I love; this is the club that our management, our players and a large number of neutral fans love. This is the club that will not rollover and die, this is the club that is still in with a very meagre chance of survival. I look at our next bunch of fixtures and there’s only one game that I feel it’s impossible to get something from. We have to stick together now, whatever our fans believe will happen to us, and we are still in with a shout. Until its official and we see a red line by our name, we are a Football League Club and that’s how I want it to stay for many years to come.
No matter, whatever happens, whether we are plying out trade in The Football League or the Blue Square Premier, you’ll find me in the same place next season at Victoria Road, cheering on the team I have an eternal life bond with. Whether we’re going to Gillingham next season or Hyde, I’ll be travelling the country to watch my beloved Daggers play.