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Diary of a Dagger: 2012-13 season review

PUBLISHED: 15:29 31 May 2013 | UPDATED: 15:29 31 May 2013

Shaun Guntrip

Shaun Guntrip

Archant

Shaun Guntrip is an aspiring sports journalist and season ticket holder at Dagenham & Redbridge. He shares his thoughts on the 2012/13 League Two season.

After finishing 22nd in the league and losing our long serving manager of nine years, it’s fair to say the Daggers haven’t had the easiest of seasons.

But staying in the Football League on such a low budget is still a massive accomplishment for the “pub team from Essex”.

A rough start meant we had failed to pick up a league win in our first eight games, despite playing well and creating a pile of chances. What the team needed was a goalscorer — enter Dwight Gayle.

With seven goals and two assists in 18 games, Gayle gave us the lift we needed going into the winter period.

His link-up play with Jake Reed was a joy to watch, especially in the home game against Rotherham. And even though Gayle left us prematurely, his presence in the team did spark a good run in form that saw us near the top of the form table leading up to Christmas.

It was encouraging to see that even though our star striker had left, we still had the quality to pick up some very good results, the pick of the bunch being the 1-0 home win against big spenders Fleetwood.

The tail end to the season proved a testing time as the loss of John Still looked to shake us up a little and we struggled to pick up points for a few games.

However, Wayne Burnett seemed to steady the ship and we went on to beat Exeter away, giving us arguably our most important win of the season.

Although we ultimately stayed up on goal difference, I don’t think it reflects our overall season as much as it did our desperate need for a natural finisher.

The effort from many of our players was at times faultless and with more depth in the squad our final league position might have reflected our effort more this year.

A huge positive from this campaign was the flourishing of young players Luke Wilkinson and Femi Ilesanmi, who had fantastic seasons, coming first and second respectively in the Daggers Player of the Year awards.

My player of the season can only be our captain, Abu Ogogo. Our leader is one of our most hardworking players and never stops battling.

Any player joining Dagenham in the summer should look no further than Abu to see the kind of commitment every fan wants from their players.

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