Montgomery delighted with first league start
IT TOOK him over a year to achieve, but Dagenham & Redbridge winger Graeme Montgomery was finally handed his first league start in Saturday s 1-0 victory over Bournemouth.
by MIKE SIMMONDS
IT TOOK him over a year to achieve, but Dagenham & Redbridge winger Graeme Montgomery was finally handed his first league start in Saturday's 1-0 victory over Bournemouth.
Signed from non-league Wealdstone in January 2009, he travelled up for the away match with Rotherham United to experience life with the Daggers and left the Don Valley Stadium that day, hoping to force his way into the side.
A handful of substitute appearances apart, he didn't make his breakthrough, and although there was much expected this season, manager John Still preferred either Peter Gain, Jon Nurse or Darren Currie on the left flank.
Finally though, the 21-year-old was handed his chance against the Cherries and he some way to repaying Still's faith.
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"I've waited a long time to get out there and get my start, I've just needed a chance to show what I can do, and hopefully I have done," he told the Post.
"We looked good, everybody worked really well, they're (Bournemouth) a good side and we've come out with a good result."
The Daggers boss had stated last week in the Post that he felt Montgomery hadn't done enough to warrant a starting place.
It appears the penny has dropped with the youngster though, as he is determined to heed his manager's words of warning.
"You know when the gaffer is telling you what you need to do, that you need to get your head down and do it," he said.
"It was a kick up the backside, and I've been working hard in training, so hopefully I can cement that position now.
"I had it in the back of my mind (that I was starting), but you need to prepare for every game whether you know your starting or not, because you could be chucked in."
Still was also pleased with the impact of his winger, who he felt showed the required response after a dressing down.
"I told him exactly what I thought, that I hadn't seen enough of what he can do," he said. "I know he's got ability, great ability, but I hadn't seen enough in the reserves or in training.
"I told him that until that happens I cant even consider him, and it was like someone putting a needle in him to liven him up.
"From that moment on in training and reserve fixtures, I saw a bit more of what he can do.
"I know he can do it, but he has to come in and know that he can't pick the days. I thought he has shown the enthusiasm and desire and it was a competent performance. He will get better too, as long as he works on it."
Montgomery served early notice of his ability, nipping the ball past one-time Premier League striker Lee Bradbury, now bizarrely a right back, charging down the line and putting a dangerous cross that Paul Benson could only divert over the bar.
"For wingers if you can get down the line and get your cross in early, your confidence is up," said the winger, who came the action more after the interval and came close to opening his account for the club.
"We got some more space in the second half, the game opened out a bit more, and I managed to run at them and get some good crosses in.
"I had a couple (of shots). I think I need to work on the right foot in training though. We had a lot of chances and we need to work on taking them but we've come away with the result and that's what we needed."
The victory ended a run of four straight defeats for the Daggers and though the manager wasn't bothered by the recent run of form, the players were desperate to end that particular sequence.
"It's always in the back of your mind, but every game you have to start refreshed and go in focused and hope you get the result," said Montgomery.
"I think it was more effort, everyone worked their socks off for the whole 90 minutes, and if we can keep on going that we'll get results."
Daggers make the trek to league leaders Rochdale this weekend, and for Montgomery, he is now desperate to make sure that his first start wasn't just a one-off.
"I hope I have done enough to cement that position, we looked strong, we looked balanced," said the winger, who believes his side can achieve a result at Spotland.
"We can challenge any team in this league, we've got the ability to do it and we've got the work-rate to do it.
"We need to go therewith no fears. We've got the confidence now from beating a top side, and hopefully we can beat another top side on Saturday."
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