Column: Pride and trust continues to grow in Dagenham squad
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
The winning streak has ended, but the unbeaten one has not. The pride and trust in this team has also continued to grow as the games go on – before we get to Stockport, let’s look at the victory that made it six on the bounce for the Daggers.
The sixth successive league win against Wealdstone was the first time since 2003 the Daggers had picked up six wins a row. This was a great achievement for Daryl McMahon’s men last Saturday as they did it in style, a 0-5 win over the Stones!
It saw Paul McCallum and Matt Robinson both bag braces; continuing their incredible goal-scoring form and the whole team performance remained at the high standards it has been throughout May.
So, this put the play-off talk at the fore of everyone’s mind, again, despite people like myself writing off our chances on countless occasions.
So, the fact that this talk remained four games before the end of the campaign, is testament to the continued fight shown by McMahon’s side and their never say die attitude.
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Critics may say that they have still fallen short of expectations and as Daryl admitted himself ‘he has failed’ – but, this sustained level of performance and results is impressive – whichever angle you look at it, sparking real excitement for next season.
The latest instalment of these quality performances came at Edgeley Park on Tuesday, against Stockport who sit 3rd in the league, admittedly a tougher test than in weeks gone by.
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But, though unable to make it seven wins in a row, the Daggers more than matched the Hatters for the majority of the game and despite the result – received a lot of praise from supporters.
I think the fact I wrote ‘despite the result’ there for a 1-1 draw against third in the league is, in itself, a compliment to the quality of the performance and the raised level of expectations in recent weeks.
There were chances to win it after, once again, Paul McCallum found the net for the Daggers – the number 9 is now, finally, scoring goals for fun – that being his fifth goal in as many games.
Those chances included a Matt Robinson strike that rattled the bar and substitute George Saunders coming close late on. Also, there were several penalty shouts, which with a different referee – would definitely have been given.
The attacking nature of the performance was exciting to see, hence the high praise and positivity around the team currently. Onto individual performances and the usual suspects were on exceptional form; Saidou Khan, Mauro Vilhete, Paul McCallum and Elliot Johnson – all stand-out performers.
A midfielder mentioned there who is not contracted beyond the end of the season, but certainly should be - Saidou Khan. He has been exceptional, really growing into his role and dictating the game as he did on Tuesday – from the midfield.
Saidou and his colleagues in the middle of the park, not to mention the likes of Robinson, have impressed this season, but there is one midfielder now available who has more than proved himself at Victoria Road.
Abu Ogogo was released by Bristol Rovers this week, Dagenham speaking of how if he ever became available they’d have the conversation on his return. So, there is a conversation to be had with some fans, in spite of their adoration of Ogogo, not sure whether his return on an expensive wage is necessary.
My view is that of course, we’d like to strike a greater balance between youth and experience as Daryl has spoken of – and we don’t want to disturb a well-performing side. But, Ogogo proved in the winter that he can settle in seamlessly and he’d be such a great asset we’ve got to go and get him.
I look at it as not halting Sagaf and Khan’s progression, but enhancing it, as they’d be able to learn from a true Dagger. Elsewhere, Leyton Orient have released their retained list and ex-Daggers such as Jordan Maguire-Drew and Sam Ling have now become available – another couple perhaps on Daryl’s radar to bolster the squad for the summer.
But, I think we don’t want to make too many changes to the squad as that’s a trap we have fallen into in recent summers – we should leave McMahon to mainly work with what he has got.
What he has got is a winning side currently, and they’ll be looking to make it eight unbeaten today against Halifax – possibly finishing the season with an unbeaten run of 10! Though Halifax are a side determined to maintain their play-off position; so it’ll be a tough test.
A Daggers win this week will put them three points behind the Shaymen, therefore it’s a big game today – even of play-offs are just out of Dagenham’s reach.
Let’s hope I’m writing about that win next week though and that unbeaten run is extended to 8, with a win today. Until then, Stay Safe and Come On You Daggers!