Daggers turn corner, only to be hit by another Covid-19 blow

Dagenham and Redbridge manager Daryl McMahon during Dagenham & Redbridge vs Altrincham, Vanarama Nat

Dagenham and Redbridge manager Daryl McMahon during Dagenham & Redbridge vs Altrincham, Vanarama National League Football at the Chigwell Construction Stadium on 12th December 2020 - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Four points, four goals and a new signing, to top off a week full of positivity at Dagenham and Redbridge, seemingly - a turning point.

But, news to follow a few hours after the signing of Mauro Vilhete was to dampen the mood somewhat; a positive test in the Daggers camp requiring all players and staff to self-isolate. Consequently, there is no game today and presumably for the next 10 days.

But let’s stick with the positives for the time being, and after a big win in midweek in the midlands, the Daggers hosted Boreham Wood and it looked to be ‘same old Dagenham’ - a big win followed by defeat.

But Angelo Balanta was to take the game into his own hands and score a brace to recover the deficit and salvage a point against his old side!

Now, as always after falling two goals behind and clawing it back late on, there is a delight – but, it has happened so often for Dagenham this season. It speaks volumes about the team’s fight, yet also our slow starts and ability to concede silly goals through individual errors.

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It was a point gained in the circumstances, but to push up the table we needed some consistent wins, so the mood was - roll on Tuesday!

Alan Devonshire’s Magpies were the opposition and an opposition the Daggers overcame after two Paul McCallum goals in quick succession.

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The number 9 had secured three goals in as many games and that brace off the back of a winner in Solihull just seven days prior – we have the Paul McCallum we all want, back! He is back scoring goals.

Paul McCallum of Dagenham and Redbridge

Paul McCallum of Dagenham and Redbridge

They were two good performances overall, and it was fantastic in the latter match that we had the three points to show for it.

We needed a win and it has put us five points off the play-offs with proof that a slight upturn in form can really turn fortunes

 The team selections were consistent on the whole with just the one change over the course of the two games and the Wood game saw Joey Jones return to the Starting XI!

The one change in the 3-5-2 formation, which I’ve personally come to like, was an interesting one in Jones’ position – George Saunders replacing him in midfield! It was definitely more attacking and raised a few eyebrows, but I have to say, it worked.

George Saunders thrived in that free-roam, inside role in the midfield and he was one of a few outstanding performers, including the likes of Myles Weston – my Player of the Season as it stands!

I’ll also give a mention to a possible ‘Player of the Month’ contender, who also shone in the past week, Elliot Johnson has been solid at left-centre-back.

There is another player who since having been given a chance in the line-up, he has exceled, but Matt Robinson went off injured from Tuesday with hopes he won’t be out for too long – a big blow as he is key in driving the team up the pitch in transition.

A player who is so versatile he could no doubt take his place while Robbo recovers, is a new signing Mauro Vilhete from Wingate and Finchley – another plater formerly at Barnet.

He is a player who is impressive, when he steers clear from injury (a big factor), but I think Daryl highlighted a key reason for the signing being versatility as well as quality.

Though, his key position is as an attacking midfielder, which did raise some eyebrows (including mine), considering we’ve already bought two attacking midfielders in the past month.

These attacking signings do tie in with the attacking, nothing to lose mentality that has come since the ‘no relegation’ statement came out from the National League. This is what fans wanted, and it’s taken a while, but credit to McMahon and the side we are creating chances and playing exciting football.

However, as aforementioned, this exciting and attacking football is t be shelved for a couple of weeks as the Daggers have been hit by coronavirus yet again.

We’ve turned a corner; only to meet coronavirus yet again, the Daggers have seen the virus infiltrate their camp already this season! It goes without saying, we hope that those affected make a quick recovery.

If there is any silver-lining, it does give the side a break from the intense, Saturday-Tuesday football and a chance for those side-lined with injury to recover.

Here’s hoping the Daggers are back out there soon, but until then we must continue to stay safe and hope when we resume we’ll continue to make that late bid for the play-offs.

Come On You Daggers!

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