Dashed hopes in Dagenham

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Barry Whittleton

6 December 2021

Our visit to Dagenham & Redbridge started off at 6am as a day of optimism. A new ground (a rarity) and surely the poor away form couldn't continue. Even a scrum for seats on the train to Kings Cross or the extra 45 minutes travel time couldn't dull it. By the time we were climbing out of the TPE-provided taxi from Donny some 18 hours later all hope had disappeared.

Town made five changes from the side which lost to Solihull. It's fair to say they were not a success. There is little doubt the officials had a large say in the result but to claim we deserved to win would be a stretch.

Yes, Waterfall didn't head the ball into the path of the offside striker for the third and, had the other lino waved for the clear foul to Town two feet away from him, McAtee would never have had to make the challenge which led to his dismissal. The only view I had was too far away to make a judgement on that. What I will say is, if McAtee deserved to go at least one home player who shoved pushed and pulled him did too.

This is all deflection, though, for a defeat that was all Town's in the making. The first two goals were awful. Fox, who looked lacklustre all afternoon, failed to make any attempt to challenge for the header which led to the first. Any leap could have seem him guide the cross out for a corner. The fact the ball came in at all was due to poor defensive play by Towler who should have put it out for a throw-in in the first place.

The second was even worse. We once again failed to stop a cross coming in, then Towler and Longe-King both missed a chance to make routine clearing headers. When it was returned the striker moved the ball taking both out of the game before blasting his shot past the helpless keeper. The ease with which he achieved this summed up Town's defending or at least Longe-King and Towler's afternoons.

In between, the only bit of quality we showed all half led to an equaliser. Had we shown a little more belief after the break we could well have taken the lead. We didn't and this is fast becoming a pattern.

There's not much more to say. Some sang "Hurst out", the majority sang "Paul Hurst's Black & White Army". Some of us just trudged back to the Tube in bitter disappointment and resignation.