Dagenham & Redbridge blog: Are Kenny Clark days numbered
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Well, just the one game this week and just the one point – a point gained at that – however there is still plenty to get our teeth into. The performance, still not quite there? Kenny Clark, are his days in the starting XI numbered? Ultimately, are we still on track.
We’ll begin with the Tuesday night draw at Gander Green Lane, which was, anything but boring! This may have been down to refereeing in part, but we won’t get into that. We will start with the opening stages of the match where the Daggers soon fell behind, fans angered by tactics we were just going to sit back and soak up pressure.
Daryl soon noticed this was a mistake and instantly changed the game plan following Bugiel’s opener for the home side. The Daggers managed to go into the break with just the 1 goal deficit and then brought Paul McCallum off the bench – he was to be the key man.
The Daggers number 9 was off the mark as his glancing header found its way into the bottom corner. McMahon’s men had started the superior of the two teams in the second half, got their goal; then looked in a good position to go on and win it.
Their chances were dented somewhat by this next discussion point, a big one recently in the fanbase – that of Kenny Clark. His dismissal, for a second yellow, whether it was right or wrong – could well have cost the Daggers two points.
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McMahon being forced to change shape in order to defend the point with ten men. This dismissal is disputed, but I always see it as, you shouldn’t give the referee a decision to make – it was also a needless foul to commit!
The Dagenham manager earnt praise after the game in his post-match interview for, as one fan put it, ‘not holding back’ – this is I think a reason supporters have warmed to him more than say Peter Taylor – he says it how he is.
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On his former team-mate, Daryl McMahon was critical, giving off suggestions (after just stripping him of the captaincy) that he may not be a regular starter – saying he is ‘fed up’ off the silly fouls around the box, diving in – there is no need for it.
However, Kenny’s place (after serving his one match ban) in the team may just be safe for the time-being, as new recruit Jones went off with a hamstring injury during Tuesday’s draw.
It is unknown the extent of the injury but it’s a sorry sight, after the impact the number 28 has made in just 150 minutes of action.
The overall performance of the side wasn’t quite there to meet widely held expectations of play-offs, but again, issues out of the manager’s control took over – causing a point to be seen as a good result.
On reflection, it was a fantastic point against an in-form Sutton side, but the performance in the first half in particular was not up to scratch.
I touched on it there, the expectations of play-offs, and I raise it after featuring in this week’s ‘A Game Of Headers & Volleys’ podcast, when I was asked about my expectations for the campaign. I mentioned how they remain unchanged, in spite of the poor start, play-offs at the minimum, I firmly believe the players are there and capable of doing it.
But, I did concede that injuries of the kind we’ve seen already, if they are to be seen throughout the season – they may prove to be the Daggers’ downfall. For example, I said this could be the turning point with Jones’ introduction, if he’s to be injured for another few weeks – that’s a huge loss. A loss that could well lose us games!
Hopefully not the FA Cup game this coming Saturday, away to Mansfield, where there is a lot on the line: a place in the third round; the small matter of £82,000 to be won and the media exposure of being a non-league side reaching the third round.
I think, though I wouldn’t rule out victory, Mansfield could well be the pitfall for the Daggers; although it looks okay on paper – Mansfield at the lower end of the League Two table.
So, again another break for McMahon’s men this week with the next game being next Saturday, I thought I’d build up early, because why not?
But, this week is still a big week for McMahon, to continue building and working with a team and squad that will be challenging for promotion come next March/April.
Let’s hope we are able to be there at the end to witness it in the flesh; with hope of a vaccine roll-out. Until then, let’s stay safe and Come On You Daggers!