I’m a 20 year-old avid Dagger and aspiring journalist, who runs an independent fansite called Dagnificent as well as featuring on the Non League Daily Podcast. My support has progressively snowballed since my first game in 2010, which brought a last minute winner enroute to promotion to League One, from which I was rather deceptively hooked! Twelve years of mostly underachievement later, I still wouldn’t change any of it.
THE SEASON SO FAR
Quite fragmented but we’ve settled into a rhythm now. We rapidly fluctuated between extremes in a chaotically goal-laden first couple of months, epitomised by a spell at the start of October when we were destroyed by part-time newcomers Dorking Wanderers 5-1 then somehow outclassed Chesterfield on their own patch three days later. That night in Derbyshire was a turning point because, since then, we’ve been largely brilliant having only been beaten once in our last fourteen.
As alluded to above, things have been very good recently. Our attacking prowess has always been widely known, but it’s now underpinned by more solid defensive foundations. We’re just a solitary point off the play-offs with a game in hand, while also maintaining on an FA Cup run that will hopefully culminate in us beating Gillingham next midweek to secure a tie at home to Leicester. Impressively, this run of form has emerged from the residue of a confounding injury crisis that has seen Sam Ling, Mauro Vilhete and Paul McCallum suffer long-term layoffs until probably March at least.
It’s between Chesterfield and Solihull away, the latter yielding a 3-0 victory a little while back, for what was our first really emphatically statement. There have been some great afternoons on home soil too, where we’ve only been beaten once this term. As a standalone moment, my favourite was Josh Walker’s last minute winner to make it 5-4 against Barnet.
Our current strike partnership of Junior Morias and Josh Walker compliment one another perfectly, with both possessing blistering pace, trickery and an ability to finish well. Much of the ammunition for them comes via veteran winger Myles Weston, who is 34 but still looks at optimum athletic power when you watch him, and notched the most assists in the league last season. Those three are the primary ones, but Harry Phipps and Mo Sagaf deservee mentions too – both are outstanding.
Daryl McMahon divides opinion, but has undoubtedly done well to recover from a state of presumed untenability, especially amid the injury problems I alluded to. The problem is that, while we’re aesthetically pleasing to watch, we have come never managed to attain a position proportionate to the budget at his disposal in the three years he’s been here. Hopefully that changes this time around. He’s certainly a front-foot manager, almost exclusively deploying a 5-3-2 system hinging upon dynamic wing-backs.
Barring any unavailability, we’re not aware of, I’m quite confident in saying our lineup will be as follows – Justham; Taylor, Phipps, Onariase, Hare, Weston; Rance, Sagaf, Robinson; Morias, Walker
Notts and their striker Langstaff respectively, by an absolute country mile in both regards. Inflicting our only home defeat so far, by a 5-0 margin no less, says it all – a cut above, although that we were disgracefully bad contributed just as much.
Most visiting supporters head to the Pipe Major opposite Dagenham East Station, it’s a restaurant set up with a bar really. A proper pub in the Eastbrook is at the opposite end of the same road. There’s a nice cafe on it too for food options, which might be the best bet given the early kick-off.
STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES
I’ve covered a lot of this elsewhere so will keep it brief. Strengths is that we can score at will even on a quiet day, but the main weakness has to be the opposite end of the same coin, as we have a tendency to concede frequently, plus an ingrained fragility that occasionally comes to the fore.
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