Another Game of Two Halves

Match report by ALAN ESSEX

Dagenham and Redbridge 1 Pools 2 (National League)
Saturday 25 August 2018
Victoria Road

More lazy reporting warning: There are some industries and corporations that have dominated an area to the extent of being major employers. Braintree being the home of Crittall, manufacturers of steel window frames, ICI chemicals at Billingham, Nuclear Fuel reprocessing at Sellafield, Moorcroft potteries in Stoke. Dagenham’s great claim to fame is Ford’s, producer of cars and vans. 

Ilford in the heart of Redbridge was the headquarters of Plessey Electronics. Of course, Gary Coxall’s JPNG were based in Hainault, another part of Redbridge – but let’s not go there.

Dag and Red as they are affectionately known have an interesting history. They formed in 1992 as an amalgamation of Dagenham and Redbridge Forest. Dagenham formed in 1922. Redbridge Forest themselves were formed from 3 other amateur sides, Ilford, Leytonstone and Walthamstow Avenue. All 3, founded in the late 19th century, succumbed to falling attendances combined with developers buying the grounds for well, development I suppose. In fact, all are now housing estates helping to serve the rapidly growing population of East London.

Well, let’s turn to the game. After the team's first victory of the season and being unbeaten away, expectations were high. The same side was announced for the 3rd game in succession - always a good sign to my mind. Ryan Catterick returned to the bench after his short loan spell at Guisborough Town. Dag and Red, managed by Peter Taylor, once the caretaker manager of England’s national side, have had a hard time of it recently having earned just 1 point from their 5 games. Like us they experienced financial problems last season and this has seemingly continued. Like us, I am sure they appreciate the ground belonging to the local authority.

It’s quite a homely ground, covered on 3 sides. It’s a shame they only had an attendance of 1212, of which 232 were Poolies. Tomi Adeloye was in the Dag and Red line up and proved to be quite a handful for the Pools defence especially in the first half. He had the first chance but was blocked by the resurgent Donaldson.

The first half was generally scrappy interspersed with occasional flowing moves. Muir and James continued their good understanding and the better moves involved these two. Noble was not having such a good game but didn’t put his head down and remained involved. Dag and Red took the lead after 36 minutes when Romain, who was having a good game, crossed low from the left wing and McQueen, unmarked, scored an easy goal. There were calls for offside but being behind the goal it was impossible to judge. It was a result of a quick break and slack defending; however, you can’t play an attacking formation and not have occasional defensive lapses.

In the second half Pools showed a marked improvement and it only took 3 minutes to get on level terms. Noble, showing an immediate reaction, crossed from the right with Woods meeting it and scoring after a deflection.
"In the second half Pools showed a marked improvement and it only took 3 minutes to get on level terms."

The lead came following a good passing movement from the left moving inside involving Kitching, Woods and Muir, leaving Noble to shoot. This was blocked by Goodliffe’s hand and the referee had no doubt in awarding a penalty. Noble, despite having had a penalty saved at Braintree, had no hesitation in getting the ball off Muir, who must have fancied his chances. This time Noble sent a good low penalty past Justham, the Dag and Red keeper.

Pools were now controlling the game and had several further chances with Muir, Woods, Kioso and Noble all having chances. In the last of the 5 minutes of extra time James hit the base of the post, having drifted in from the left.

So a good result that sent Dag and Red to the bottom of the division. They were not that bad but as we know confidence plays a big part in the game and theirs must be rock bottom.

A mention about the referee, Sam Allison; he was very good, let the game flow whenever possible, was fair, consistent and made the right decisions. The best ref I’ve seen for a long time – well done.

Hard to pick a man of the match, everyone contributed – Muir and James are a pleasure to watch and Woods shows so much determination, it’s infectious. Good to see that all the new players that have started settled in well and are an improvement on what has gone before.

I wonder who will make way for new signing Luke Williams.

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