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What a start

Top ten games 2003
by Dave Simpson on 05/01/2004

Dave Simpson has published the top ten games for Dagenham & Redbridge in the calendar year 2003.

Top Ten 2003

Dave Simpson has published the top ten games for Dagenham & Redbridge in the calendar year 2003 in the programme for the Shrewsbury Town match on January 3rd. 

The article is reproduced here with his kind permission with some additional statistics.

4th January, Away v Plymouth Argyle, D2-2
FA Cup 3rd Round

The Daggers first game in 2003 saw them travel to Second Division Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup. Roared on by 700 travelling supporters they forced a well-deserved replay, dictating the play for much of the game. The Daggers got the goal that their early pressure deserved in the 13th minute when Paul Terry headed home a centre from John McGrath from the edge of the six-yard box. 

Argyle stepped up their pressure and from a corner the they levelled. A cross from the left was laid back by Coughlan and Ian Stonebridge headed the ball home. The home side took he lead on 61 minutes when Wotton's free kick was blasted into the wall and it deflected beyond Roberts. 

The Daggers have developed a never-say-die attitude under Garry Hill and from a long free kick by Roberts, McDougald was quickest to react, lifting the ball beautifully over the despairing Larrieu into the back of the net. Both sides had chances in the closing stages but the Daggers thoroughly deserved the replay.

Match report and pictures here.

14th January, Home v Plymouth Argyle, W2-0
FA Cup Third Round Replay

A huge crowd packed into Victoria Road along with the SKY TV cameras to see the Daggers progress into the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time. With a strong wind blowing down the pitch, the Daggers started the match kicking towards the Bury Road end with the wind behind them. 

The visitors caused some early pressure but thankfully David Friio didn't have his scoring boots on. Argyle escaped a penalty shout for a handball offence only to fall behind a minute later. Danny Shipp picked the ball, took a couple of paces and unleashed a fine left foot shot beyond the reach of the Argyle 'keeper to send the home support into ecstasy. 

Increasingly, the visitors attempted to use a long-ball game but were getting little change from the excellent Daggers' back line and when they did they found Roberts in fine form. The Daggers second goal was arguably one of the finest ever scored by the Victoria Road side. After an exchange of passes on the corner of the area, Janney whipped in a cross which McDougald dived at the far post to head home and put the result beyond doubt. 

Match report and pictures here.

25th January, Away v Norwich City, L0-1
FA Cup Fourth Round

The Daggers amazing FA Cup adventure ended in dramatic fashion when an injury-time goal from Norwich substitute, Zema Abbey, broke the visitors' hearts when it looked like they had earned the replay they so richly deserved. 

Tony Roberts was in outstanding form and won the performance of the round for his display. Roared on by 2,100 Daggers fans, the Daggers matched their illustrious hosts in all areas of the pitch. 

It came as a hammer blow when the home side took the lead on the stroke of full time. McVeigh crossed the ball and, via a deflection, it found Zema Abbey who stabbed the ball home from close range past Roberts. The final whistle saw the Daggers players swap shirts with their opponents and go on a much deserved lap-of-honour to a standing ovation from both sets of supporters.

Match report and pictures here.

28th January, Home v Barnet, W5-1
Nationwide Conference
Just three days after their FA Cup defeat, the Daggers turned on the style to thrash local rivals Barnet 5-1 in a rearranged New Years Day fixture and also register their biggest win in 2003. 

It was Junior McDougald who gave the home side the lead in the 8th minute when he latched onto a loose ball and slotted it into the corner of the net. The lead was deservedly doubled in the 37th minute when Paul Terry cleverly laid off his free kick for Danny Shipp to rifle in from 25 yards out via Naisbitt and the post. 

The match was over as a contest five minutes later when a John McGrath free-kick eluded Naisbitt in the Barnet goal and West was there to tap the ball home. The 55th minute saw the Daggers extend their lead further when Stein latched onto a Steve West pass rounded the keeper and slotted home the fourth of the night. 

Barnet did score a consolation goal when Agogo rounded sub keeper Gothard but Mark Stein restored he four goal advantage when he converted a McGrath cross to make the final score 5-1.

Match report here.

15th March, Away v Southport, W3-2
Nationwide Conference
The Daggers battled to their record breaking eleventh consecutive Nationwide win, beating the previous record, held by Macclesfield Town. 

The visitors took the lead a minute before the interval. A corner from John McGrath reached Lee Matthews who powered in his header from close range. Less than a minute after half-time, the home side were back on level terms with Lee Ashcroft going on a mazy run before lashing the ball past Roberts. 

The Daggers found themselves behind nine minutes later when Roberts was unable to hold a shot from Lee Mulvaney and Dean Howell was on hand to tap home the rebound. The visitors were not going to roll over as easily as that and Danny Hill produced another wonder strike to haul the Daggers back on level terms only eight minutes later, curling the ball over Dickinson from around 30 yards. 

With thirteen minutes remaining, Tarkan Mustafa latched onto a defensive error and fired it into the corner of the goal beyond Dickinson to give the Daggers the record.

Match report here.

1st May, Home v Morecambe, W2-1
Nationwide Conference Play-Off Semi-final 1st Leg
The Daggers won the first leg by the narrowest of margins thanks to a brace from Mark Stein. 

Things started well for the home side when in only the seventh minute Tim Cole found Paul Terry who played Mark Stein in on goal and he crashed a shot past Mawson. Just over a minute later Morecambe showed that they were not going to lie down as Drummond's shot hammered back off the post. 

Just on the half hour Morecambe were level. Thompson's cross caused panic in the Daggers defence and Tim Cole's attempted clearance hit Stewart Drummond in the face and bounced past Roberts. 

The Daggers came out in the second half playing much better though and created several good openings. In the 69th minute a slick passing move freed Paul Terry to run in one on one with Mawson. Drummond stretched out a leg in desperation and tripped Terry for a penalty. Mr Kettle decided a yellow was enough for Drummond and Mark Stein duly slammed home the penalty to give the Daggers the lead going into the second leg.

Match report here.

5th May, Away v Morecambe L1-2 (won 3-2 on pens)
Nationwide Conference Play-Off Semi Final 2nd Leg
The Daggers made it into the Play Off final by the skin of their teeth after a breathless semi final second leg. 

Morecambe had much the better of the game in normal time with Mark Janney twice blocking on the line from corners. Morecambe took the lead early in the second half when Elam picked the ball up on the left and put over a cross that Steve West put into his own net. 

Losing the aggregate advantage seemed to spur the Daggers and they had a golden chance to make it 1-1 but Steve West managed to put it wide. With only five minutes remaining Stringfellow got away from the Daggers defence and rolled the ball to Adriano Rigoglioso who lifted it over Roberts to send the home crowd hysterical. 

The Daggers weren't dead though and equalised on aggregate a minute from the end of normal time. Paul Terry picked the ball up and somehow found room to turn and hit his shot into the top corner. Pandemonium again, this time at the other end, which wasn't enjoyed by he sponsors located above the visiting support. 

In injury time Mawson finger tipped Stein's effort over the bar to send the game into extra time. Tim Cole was pushed up front, and he almost put the visitors ahead when he smashed the ball against the bar from outside the area. No goals were added so it was down to penalties. 

The Daggers took first and Mark Stein stuck the ball away well but Drummond saw Roberts save his. Shipp then put his in off the inside of the post and McKearney hit the same post but the ball span away. At 2-0 it looked all over, but then Paul Terry's was saved and Stringfellow scored. Lee Matthews saw Mawson save a poorly placed shot and Gary Thompson made it 2-2. Tarkan Mustafa cooly made it 3-2 leaving Jamie Murphy the task of putting it to sudden death. Murphy placed his shot into the corner but, diving full length, Roberts saved it to send the Daggers through to the final. 

Pandemonium again as the Daggers fans ran onto the pitch to celebrate an unlikely and dramatic win. The two sets of fans applauded each other, neither team deserving to lose this one.

Match report and pictures here.

10th May, at Stoke City v Doncaster Rovers L2-3 (AET)
Nationwide Conference Play-Off Final
For the second year running the Daggers dream of promotion was ripped away at the last moment as they went down to a golden goal winner to Doncaster Rovers at Stoke City's Britannia Stadium. 

The first half belonged to Doncaster and it took until the 20th minute for the Daggers to create a chance. Rovers took a deserved lead in the 38th minute, Tim Ryan's cross met by Paul Green whose header looped over Roberts and in. The goal was greeted by a pitch invasion from the Yorkshire sides fans. 

At the start of the second half a Tierney corner was headed home by Morley to make it 2-0. The Daggers began to respond and on 63 minutes Mark Stein picked up a West flick and slammed it home. The Daggers went after an equaliser and with 12 minutes left in the game they got it. Put in the clear by Paul Terry, Tarkan Mustafa picked the ball and ran at the Doncaster defence then shot from an acute angle to score. 

Extra time and Golden Goals were left to settle the game and in the second period Paul Barnes picked out Francis Tierney who side footed Rovers back into the Football League. The scenes from the Doncaster fans were unpleasant but the Daggers loyal fans won praise from everyone for their excellent behaviour.

Match report and pictures here.

15th October, Home v Leyton Orient, W4-1
LDV Vans Trophy First Round
The Daggers put on a superb second half display, making light work of a full-strength Leyton Orient side to progress to the 2nd Round of the LDV Vans Trophy. 

After a goalless first half, the game burst to life in the third minute after the restart. Mustafa's cross was cycle kicked by Alex Meechan towards goal but Mark Bentley made sure from a yard out. Eight minutes later Bentley picked the ball up deep in his own half and charged upfield. He put Janney away who squared to Meechan who reversed the ball to Scully who smashed it gleefully into the net from 12 yards. 

The third saw a pinpoint cross from Bentley headed home by Leon Braithwaite on the far post. The fourth saw Scully cross to Bentley, who finished in style from six yards out.

Orient scored a consolation goal in the last fifteen minutes when Lockwood scored a penalty after Bentley was judged to have handled. A perfect birthday present for Garry Hill, two years to the day after defeating them in the same competition.

Match report here.

4th November, Away v Queens Park Rangers, L1-2
LDV Vans Trophy Second Round
The Daggers put in a good first half performance only to have Padula put Rangers ahead on 38 minutes. 

The Daggers pressured the home side with both Braithwaite and Bruce going close to an equaliser. The Daggers kept the heat on in the second half but were thwarted by Nicky Culkin who saved Alan Kimble's free-kick and followed up by disappointing Scully who had taken advantage of a mistake by centre-back Clarke Carlisle. 

Rangers second goal came in the 82nd minute when Gareth Ainsworth set up McLeod who slotted the ball decisively past Tony Roberts. The Daggers hopes were raised on 87 minutes, when Mark Bentley crossed from the right allowing Scully to score at the far post. Braithwaite came close to equalising almost on the final whistle but Culkin prevented him.

Match report here.

The Daggers in 2003
  P W D L F A
Conference 43 21 7 15 67 53
Play offs 3 1 0 2 5 6
FA Cup 4 1 1 2 4 6
FA Trophy 3 1 2* 0 7 4
LDV Vans Trophy 2 1 0 1 5 3
Essex Senior Cup 3 1 1* 1 4 4
Total 58 26 11 21 92 76

*Game lost on penalties


 

 

 

 

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