As I Seen It - Dagenham (h)

RUNNING MONKEY finds it worrying 

Pools 0 Dagenham 2  
League Two, 
Victoria Park, 
20th August, 2014

On a fine night for football the sun shone on Victoria Park and not surprisingly there were a few who had decided to stay away after Saturday.

The second home game would give the team and the manager the chance to make amends for that shambles. The wireless had said Marlon was dropped and Compton reinstated, a positive move I thought. As usual the wireless was only half right: Marlon was out but Compton only made the bench. Miller was out injured so Woods, the ex Chelsea /Harrogate midfielder was to start.

Things were looking up as we also won the toss and kicked up the bank for the first half. This advantage soon faded as, in their first real attack on four minutes, Ned palmed a shot into his own net. The official report will read differently, but the truth was that panic had set in. Pairs of players were passing the ball back and forward between each other, no one daring to take control.

Missed passes were abundant as we gave the ball away so much and our only progress was to go out wide then pass it back or hit another aimless long ball. It was awful and frustrating to watch a team with no apparent tactics or ability to take the game on, and we are the home team; the fans expect it.

The clouds of doom descended over the Vic as fans around me reminisced about how we compare with teams of twenty years ago.

We did win a free kick from a tackle from the out-of-sorts Walker who was suffering the same malaise of going backwards. The problem for the fans was that our tallest player was taking free kicks and not in the box waiting, as he is big enough to take on these not-too-big defenders.
"the much-maligned Simon Sideways has left us a legacy that these new Boro boys are keen to follow."
There was a train of thought, in our desperation, that Walker could do a job up front, but as his wont and his liking is for square pegs, the manager plays him on the wing. Walker did send a decent ball into Franks who, through poor execution, hit the hoarding four yards wide of goal. Walker did start pressing on his own and came close with a header, and a smart low shot that was beaten away for a corner.

Once again the midfield seemed to be on holiday, and the Ditchburn Poolie, in a rare moment of excitement, renamed our captain “Marster” I did tell him this is a family show.

Bates missed out on a tackle on the edge of our box and the attacker hit his shot over the bar. Franks did the same at the other end when it would have been easier to score. Once again as they broke, a path opened and Ned was stretching again to push a ball wide of his post. The Ditchburn suddenly has a spell of unbounded optimism, and explains that he was glad that Dagenham were keeping us in the game simply by missing all the chances they were making. The official report will call it domination, but as stated earlier, the much-maligned Simon Sideways has left us a legacy that these new Boro boys are keen to follow.

We did have one ray of sunshine break through, which proved the lino on the Millhouse side was awake, as on forty-one minutes we got our first offside decision. Still, the boos of derision brought the half to a close, and the rumour mill started. Burgess, on loan to Posh, apparently signed on loan then was given a four-year deal. Quite a combination - Burgess and Jack Baldwin, who is obviously tipping off Ferguson on our talent. Luke James was supposedly the next player on the Posh list, reportedly for one and a half million, and was to take himself off for a medical after this game. By the end of the break even the woman that fries the chips was off to Peterborough. As I am writing this on the night of the match, everything could be ok in the cold light of day, and the woman that fries the chips is only going to visit a relative in Peterborough.

Second half, and the fight back was on. Well almost, as we did start to make a little progress down the wing with Luke, but there was little help once he reached the box. Franks nicked a ball off a defender and raced for the line and tried to lay it off for Luke but - poor execution once again  - played the ball behind Luke, who was following up. Luke did have a good shot from the edge of the box that the keeper managed to get to but it was probably our best effort of the night.

It was about this time that the Ditchburn had his next big idea. Ever since he retired - I think he worked for the Exchequer - he has been determined to make even more money. So the plan this time was the “Guess the time of the opposition's second goal" game. Self-explanatory really: guess when the second goal is going to go in. So I paid my money and plumped for seventy-two minutes, the Ditchburn going for sixty-eight, We did not last that long, as on his official timing he was closer, as it went in on sixty three minutes. Dagenham doubled their lead as they raced through our defence and stroked the ball past Ned. All over bar the shouting. The second half rally was better than Saturday as we did get out of our half!

Once again there was cries of derision as Walker, moving forward to the edge of their box, had nowhere to go and laid the ball back to Master. Despite Luke Holden and Aussie pushing forward we still lacked any real threat to Dagenham. There was a good call for a handball in the box that the officials failed to see but everyone in the Town End was witness too.

There was a little spurt of pressure from Pools at the death as Compton, who looked lively when he came on, skinned his man who gave away a handball decision that was spotted outside the box, but the free kick was cleared. Aussie came close with an overhead kick but the game petered out. It was another defeat which looks ominous, considering what we have brought in and what we could lose in terms of players.

Despite the claim of a lot of possession we did little with the ball and that is worrying.