Dagenham grind out Chesterfield draw and set sights of FA Cup upset

Angelo Balanta of Dagenham and Redbridge

Angelo Balanta of Dagenham and Redbridge - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

An almighty task made a whole lot easier as the afternoon unravelled at Victoria Road last Saturday; the Daggers ground out a 2-2 draw.

A point we’d have taken before the game, but given the circumstances we could have come out with all three points. If only we didn’t let our dominance slip in the second half, something rarely seen by Daryl McMahon’s teams.

Taking the positives from the draw, the forced absentees meant we had to put a makeshift starting eleven of sorts out - certainly not first choice. But this saw us play some of the best football we have all season, the selected midfielders crucial in allowing us to play free-flowing football.

In addition, although it may have only been for the first half, George Saunders played the best I’d seen him in a Daggers shirt; confident and assured in beating his man and putting in dangerous crosses.

George Saunders of Dagenham and Redbridge scores the second goal for his team and celebrates during

George Saunders of Dagenham and Redbridge scores the second goal for his team and celebrates during Dagenham & Redbridge vs Wealdstone , Vanarama National League Football at the Chigwell Construction Stadium on 4th September 2021 - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

But all in all, a strange game of two halves which saw an injury and red card really shape the events of the game. The Daggers still putting up a good fight nonetheless with some good attacking spells.

That was the only game of the week and it’s been over 9 days since we’ve seen the Daggers in action, hopefully allowing our injured players to get back fit and firing on all cylinders.

This is something McMahon highlighted after naming two academy players on the bench against the Spireites, the injury issues that have hindered Dagenham’s progress this season.

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The eye-opening line from his post-match interview being that we’ve had our much talked about front three rarely available ever since Balanta got injured on the opening day at Edgeley Park.

This is down to injuries and looks to be down to suspension this time round as McCallum is once again unavailable due to a further two-game ban.

I agree with McMahon when he says we haven’t been able to be at our best for prolonged periods due to this and it is hindering our progress a fair deal.

However this could be down to our own lack of quantity in the squad with quality preferred, and this was partly addressed with the loan signing of Ibby Akanbi.

McCallum’s unavailability is a blow to our prospects in tonight’s highly-anticipated cup tie against Salford under the lights at Victoria Road, however I think we can do it without him.

Dagenham & Redbridge striker Paul McCallum was sent off in the FA Cup at Wealdstone

Dagenham & Redbridge striker Paul McCallum was sent off in the FA Cup at Wealdstone - Credit: Jon Taffel

The Ammies sit 19th in League Two with just one win in five, so are beatable, and if we have a near fully available squad to choose from I think we can overcome them and be in the hat for the draw tonight.

I’d like to see us take the game to the opposition, not naïvely, but with confidence against a side who aren’t exactly ripping League Two apart.

That’s enough talking, let’s get to the pitch      and hopefully watch a memorable FA Cup match under the lights at Victoria Road.

Come On You Daggers!

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