Fans column: Halfway through and Daggers still have a lot to do

Myles Weston of Dagenham and Redbridge and Tom Hannigan of Altrincham during Dagenham & Redbridge vs

Myles Weston of Dagenham and Redbridge and Tom Hannigan of Altrincham during Dagenham & Redbridge vs Altrincham, Vanarama National League Football at the Chigwell Construction Stadium on 12th December 2020

Unjust and harsh. Now some, on reflection of conceding from a last-minute penalty that led to a bitter 2-1 defeat, will say – that’s football.

Indeed, after venting his frustration at the officials at full-time, goal scorer Liam Gordon took this view. 

Now, this is no nice way to lose, but the second placed side in the division leaving you devastated and robbed of a point and even being gutted you didn’t win – that says a lot about your team’s performance.

Tuesday’s game seemed a continuation of the performance put in seven days prior; the Starting XI mirrored that of the one from last week which helped.

I, for one, have been calling for simply more consistency when it comes to team selection and therefore am happy that we have finally got this – hopefully we remain unchanged (or with few tweaks) today. 

But in a nutshell, the two great performances put in over the last two games have been encouraging… long may it continue and results will soon follow.

Well, back to the matter of team news, and there is a new player available for selection against the Glovers today – Tom Smith. 

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The attacking midfielder found the net on seventeen occasions last campaign, moreover what has pleased me is the praise he has received from those who watched him last season. 

Be they, Bath supporters or just National League South fans in general, he has been tipped by a few as the best player in the NLS – or, at least, he is up there. 

This signing, on loan until the end of the season, has also been welcomed by fans as this appears to be the Dagenham recruitment of years gone by.

The likes of Fejiri Okenabirhie, among others, who have been discovered by the club as hidden gems of Non League. 

The idea that these players are hungry, hard-working and desperate for success – it makes a difference on the pitch and excites fans.

So, let’s hope that Smith’s, 23, desperation to impress and push on shines through on the pitch and helps the Daggers push up the table.

This notion of recruiting these hungry, young(er) players is something McMahon spoke of yesterday, claiming we haven’t got enough of these players in the squad.

during Dagenham & Redbridge vs Ebbsfleet United, Buildbase FA Trophy Football at the Chigwell Constr

during Dagenham & Redbridge vs Ebbsfleet United, Buildbase FA Trophy Football at the Chigwell Construction Stadium on 19th December 2020 - Credit: David Loveday/TGS Photo

These players with the ‘Daggers mentality’ with the required fight and hunger – citing Saunders and Gordon as the mould of player they want to search for. 

Well, Tom Smith is available for selection for today’s game at Yeovil; whether he starts or not only McMahon can decide.

Although what I would say is that we do seem to be oversubscribed in this position so it’ll be interesting who he starts and trusts from now on. 

Whether we see Smith for a game and then not for a few (like Mo Sagaf) or he is looking at a more extended run in the team – he’ll have to be up for this one. 

As will all the players, Yeovil being a tough side to play against - but they are beatable – Dagenham a team able to beat anyone on their day. The hosts sit two places and three points above McMahon’s side, a chance to go level with Yeovil, for the Daggers.

After a couple of weeks stationed in Dagenham, it is back to back trips on the road for the Daggers as after hopefully securing three points at Huish Park – they travel to Solihull. 

The midlands side are going slightly stronger than today’s opponents with a couple of games in hand and still ahead of both Yeovil and the Daggers. However, they are by no means out of Dagenham’s reach and are too in a bit of a rut – one win in their last five. 

Saturday will be the 23rd game of Dagenham’s season, meaning we are into the second half of the campaign – halfway through there is still a lot of work to do. 

We keep saying this, but if we are able to put a run together, we can climb the table quite quickly and a challenge for the play-offs – albeit a late one – could be on the cards. 

Let’s hope we start with at least one win on the road this week. Until next week, stay safe and Come On You Daggers!

Things are looking up off the pitch: let’s hope the Daggers can replicate this on it.