Column: Dagenham have to do things the hard way if they want play-off spot
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
It was a week which saw Daryl McMahon’s side looking to extend their unbeaten run to five, then perhaps six, but the unbeaten run came to an end after five games – a victory in Altrincham followed by defeat to Hartlepool.
The first match of the week was a good performance, not the best, but good enough for three points which were desperately needed points for the Daggers.
A win which came after last-minute heartbreak on Tuesday and the Dagenham goal then was a wonder goal – Will Wright wanted a slice of that action.
Trying his luck from 25 yards with a free-kick, Wright broke the deadlock in the only way it would be broken in that game – with a moment of brilliance.
A wonderful strike which luckily, on this occasion, wasn’t cancelled out at the death!
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We got a first proper look at another player in that game too, whom following that unsurprisingly went under the radar, Mauro Vilhete played a good 45 minutes in a Daggers shirt.
He linked-up the play superbly and was a breath of fresh air when he was introduced; so I’m excited to see more of him in the weeks to come!
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Now, with Cristiano Wright-aldo and Lionel Gordon within their ranks, Dagenham faced-off with Hartlepool – at Victoria Road – the Pools sitting 2nd in the league.
Unfortunately, the aforementioned duo couldn’t get in amongst the goals this time and it was Elliot Justham, best ’keeper in the league, who took all the plaudits.
All the plaudits, in a 0-1 defeat, which would have been defeat by a more sizeable margin if it wasn’t for the heroics of Justham between the sticks.
Up the other end, the Daggers were not so heroic, rather uninspiring, with many chances but very few on target! Very much the story of our season which continues with Dagenham plodding along, still, very much in mid-table.
What is there to moan about, we got a win on the road and were narrowly defeated by 2nd placed Hartlepool? On paper. And, that would be perfectly fine if we’d kept a similar trend of form throughout the season – averaging a win a week.
However, this hasn’t been the case, therefore in the context of the season we demand more at this point – so it’s too late now in my view – for the play-offs that is.
I hesitate to begin that phrase with ‘too little, too late’ as the victory was pleasing; but rather – it’s just too late in the day.
Mathematically, we remain nine points off, (two more points adrift after Dover’s results being expunged) but I can’t see us going on a winning run as we’ve yet to do so this season. That is what will be required, not an unbeaten run, but a winning run.
This could all still start today, albeit against tough opposition – the Daggers did defy the odds in the reverse fixture at Plainmoor – the Gulls were flying higher back then too.
Look, as McMahon said, ‘it’s a tough ask’ but the position we find ourselves in and if we want to reach our target from where we are – we’ll have to do things the hard way.
The Irishman also conceded this week that he does have ‘an eye on next season’; it got me thinking about the general vibe around the club – a concession that COVID ruined our season hugely and that’s partly why we won’t reach the play-offs.
Also on a separate factor, recruitment is one thing I believe that we’ll see a change in strategy on after this season – perhaps the involvement of Still is a concession the original approach was wrong – we’re already starting to see a change in tack in the market.
Let’s hope the new players Daryl’s bringing in, this younger and hungrier demographic, can help his and the club’s cause in the near future.
The near future being one thing, the imminent another, I expect a good performance today and shots taken to be on target at least – for the attacking department it’s a necessity they improve their game!
Hopefully we’ll have a few more players returning to the squad too, to bolster that attacking arsenal. We’ll see by next Friday, Good Friday, but until then – Stay Safe and Come On You Daggers.