Dagenham & Redbridge fans blog: A welcome league break with Daryl McMahon under early pressure
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Well, I’m back after a week out; likewise are the Daggers, after COVID symptoms infiltrating the camp – though all tests came back negative.
It was a much-needed break for Daryl McMahon’s side following a narrow victory in the FA Cup and bitter defeat on the following Tuesday in Maidenhead United.
The latter, deeply disappointing, and purely down to a 30 minute collapse in arguably the most crucial half an hour of the game – the last half an hour.
A first half Sam Deering wonder-goal seemed to come at a crucial point just on half time; the midfield magician showing his class with a phenomenal first time volley.
However, that goal of the season contender was overshadowed by the 45 minutes that followed as that lead was overturned. Here is where I and several others take issue with the management, although the players must also take responsibility.
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The mistakes of Elliot Justham and then another lapse in concentration at the back cost Dagenham 3 points on the road – a very familiar story – losing away from home that is.
Something that isn’t so familiar, though hasn’t been a rarity this season, is a mistake from Dagenham’s number one.
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Elliot Justham has built the reputation of the best keeper in the league and has been the best player at Victoria Road in recent years, as well as the most consistent, so the blame is rightly not being pinned on him nor is any real criticism.
So, attention turns to the back four he bailed out so often last season, a back four feeling the impact of a huge loss in Manny Onariase – also highly regarded by fans and a consistent rock at the back.
They are not good enough to be where we want to be is my view, and I know injuries are a factor throughout the side for bad results/performances, Reynolds a notable absence at the back – but they are no excuse. As I say, individual errors and vulnerabilities must be addressed and rectified if the Daggers are to challenge for promotion, as I believe the league expectation should be.
Now, the main problems are in defence but all over the performances haven’t been up to scratch as the manager has acknowledged – but hasn’t acted on as far as the results suggest.
Now, I know there are injuries and this break does bide us some time, but the games are still being played which means points are up for grabs and Daryl needs to ensure we grab them.
There is a reason other than misfortune we are bottom of the league: we have the players thanks to the huge backing from the owners – yet they are getting no return on this investment.
If we were only a few points off the play-offs, slightly underperforming due to injuries, I’d understand – but 23rd in the league, I don’t understand.
My assessment is, the manager should be getting more out of the players than he is at present but I’m currently giving him the benefit of the doubt on the injury front and it is so early still.
However, we need to be in and around the play-offs minimum, by the time 2021 arrives. Elsewise, I feel we’re in for another year of disappointment.
One thing that has disappointed the Daggers faithful in recent years is FA Cup form, however the Daggers made it to the 1st round (however narrowly) after victory over Hartley Wintney.
They will face Grimbsy Town tomorrow as the eyes of our supporters, and aforementioned American owners, return to the red and blue of Dagenham & Redbridge – not political parties.
It’s the first time the Daggers face league opposition since their relegation from the football league back in 2015/16 where they didn’t only face league opposition, but Premier League opponents in Everton. That was of course a special day for fans of the club, and the fact there will be no fans in attendance for our 1st round fixture slightly dampens the mood around this year’s FA Cup.
Nonetheless, it’s always good to see your side go on aa cup run; despite not being there in the flesh to witness it. If fans aren’t as up for the cup as in previous years, the Daggers are also in league action this week, a re-arranged fixture following last week’s postponement.
Boreham Wood will be hosting McMahon’s men, in what is a big game, even this early on – the Daggers in need of a good run of results.
The Wood sit in 12th with seven points, their goal difference pushing them up a few places, so not a fantastic start for them. Although, they have played just five games to Dagenham’s six.
The latter needing a win to lift them off the bottom and hopefully out of the relegation zone – it won’t be easy though.
As much as I ‘d like to see a victory; I’m predicting a 1-1 draw at Meadow Park on Tuesday. Though, I expect an improved performance from the one at Maidenhead which did, in fairness, show some signs of progress. But, football is a results business.
As for today, the Daggers look to cause a minor upset, my priority as I’m sure the whole club’s is, is the league – so, I’m just looking for the side to give a decent account of themselves in another tough encounter.
A big month ahead for the Daggers who’ve had a less than ideal start: let’s hope McMahon’s side can bring some joy as the country enters ‘Lockdown 2’. Come On You Daggers!