First season back in charge
Season Review 2004/05
by Hardy on 25/04/2005
So how was 2004/05 for you? Hardy looks at the highs and lows of a roller coaster season.
|Review of 2004/05
|So how was 2004/05 for you?
It was very much a rebuilding season for new boss John Still with a few highs but mostly pretty dull as indicated by the mid table
finish and early exits from all the cup competitions. Only the mediocrity of the
majority of Conference clubs with the exception of Barnet really kept the
Daggers in contention for a play off place as long as it did.
There were some dire performances, a few great goals, and some
laughable discipline problems. Five red cards before the end of October
was reined back to seven in total over the season indicating that the problem has
been addressed now hopefully.
On the plus side the league finish is two places better than 2003/04
and is a credit to John Still in his first season back at the club and
with the financial constraints he's had to work under. Also, the, emergence of some really decent youngsters means we can
look forward with some optimism to 2005/06.
Goals came from Chris Moore who cemented his reputation as a finisher
with 21 in all competitions, while Craig Mackail-Smith and Glen Southam
also chipped in with double figures. Tony Boot never really broke in as a
first choice but scored regularly when asked to and is obviously a natural
All in all a season that shows real promise for the future but that won't live long in the
memory I am afraid.
|Ins and Outs
With a new manager it was almost inevitable that there would be a turn over
of players in the summer as John Still looked to remake the Daggers in his
enough soon gone was Tarkan Mustafa (right), rumoured to have had a disagreement
with John when a Barnet player. Tarkan signed for Hornchurch, from there to
end up a squad player at Aldershot after the Urchins crazy finances finally
hit the wall in November.
Also gone pretty quickly were the remnants of Garry Hill's
2003 summer signings. Chris Piper rejoined his brother Lenny at Fisher
Athletic, where Leon Braithwaite also ended up. Jimmy Jackson headed back
across the Thames to Gravesend from whence he came. Alan Kimble headed off
to AFC Wimbledon as player coach.
in the summer a long term club servant Danny Shipp (left) also left the club
originally bound for Thurrock when released from his contract on a free only to then be signed by Garry
Hill at Hornchurch with a hint of dodgy dealing in the air.
Later in the season Danny Hill would head up the road for the Bryco
silver too, in his case just a couple of weeks before the
company went bust leaving Hornchurch in crisis. The Urchins demise is a salutary
lesson for the people who would look for the Daggers to find a money man to
Coming the other way were some interesting signings. Firstly Glen Southam,
cult hero at Bishops Stortford, and Lee Flynn, ex-Stevenage defender
arrived, quickly followed by Craig Mackail-Smith and Shane Blackett from
Arlesey Town, Mackail-Smith snatched from under the nose of Graham Westley
at Stevenage. Tony Boot, Slough Town's goal machine also signed in May. Jack
Midson completed an ex-Arlesey trio.
June Jake Leberl came in from Margate. In July along came ex-Hammers youth
player Anwar Uddin from Bristol Rovers and Cambridge United's veteran
striker John Taylor (right) who unfortunately would be forced to retire way
Later in the season Steve Clarke was the only player signed out of the
wreckage of the Urchins and with only a couple more loan and short term
signings during the season John Still did a great job of working with what
he had rather than chopping and changing throughout the season as had
happened towards the end of Garry Hill's reign.
Lots of options and lots of changes to bed into a team then. How quickly
could John Still do it?
|Unlike the previous
season where the pre-season fixture list had looked
fairly haphazard, this one had a decent and balanced look about it. AFC Wimbledon
opened the games at the Glyn and were beaten 1-0, Craig Mackail-Smith
(left) scoring on his debut.
Other home pre-season fixtures saw the Daggers draw with good quality
Football League opposition in Gillingham, Southend United and Leyton
Orient, all entertaining games.
Away fixtures against lower opposition were used to trial a few players
and by mid August the team looked to be ready to go.
The Daggers opened the Conference season with a great 3-1 win over Stevenage
Borough, Glen Southam (right) scoring on his competitive debut, followed by
victories at Forest Green and Burton Albion to leave the Daggers top after
three games. Ashley Vickers was sent off late in the Burton game, which was
to become a theme in the early part of the season.
This was followed by a draw at home to Woking, Tim Cole being the second
Dagger to see a red card in four games, before August closed with a 2-0
defeat at promoted Crawley Town to inject a little bit of realism into
Still a great start, ready to be built on into September.
|An Unwanted Record
Unfortunately what came next was the completion of a new Daggers record
losing streak. The run coincided with the loss of John Taylor to an injury
that would eventually force him to retire.
The first four competitive games of September were lost badly
without a goal being scored, the 5-0 thrashing at home by Accrington Stanley
particularly ugly to watch as Tony Roberts managed to get yet another a red
card for raising a hand to legendary Greg Louganis impressionist Stanley's Rory Prendergast who went down as if
FAO Rory Prendergast - We have to get one of these for next season!
Ashley Vickers also saw red again at Aldershot as discipline seemed to
desert the club altogether. In that game the man in waiting for Tony Roberts
gloves, Abi Baruwa, was asked to sit on the bench once again while a
temporary replacement, Alex O'Reilly, got the start. Abi subsequently left
the Daggers having stormed away from the Rec.
The Daggers looked better in losing 2-1 at
Gravesend to set a new consecutive losing streak of five in a row but early
season optimism was now truly out of the window.
|Ups and downs
The Daggers finally busted the streak with a 4-2 win at home over Halifax
Town, coming from behind twice, Tony Boot (right) the match-winner that day. The LDV Vans Trophy came and went in a 5-1
defeat at Cheltenham before the Daggers firmly laid the ghost of the 9-0 horror
show by beating Hereford United 3-1, again coming from behind.
The following weekend saw the Daggers with a live TV date with Barnet,
already flying high at the top of the Conference. Once again the TV
cameras seemed to freeze the team and by the end it was a second 5-0
defeat of the season, the Daggers lucky to get nil!
Back to the drawing board again!
Leigh were dispatched 2-0 the following Saturday then the Daggers headed to
struggling Farnborough. Tony Roberts (left) was credited with an own goal in
putting Boro ahead and it looked like Jack Midson's first goal for the club
had earned a point with the game in added time.
came the bizarrest moment of the season. Roberts was adjudged to have fouled Holloway leading to a penalty
taken by Taggart which he then saved to secure the point. Thirty seconds after play had
continued the referee spotted his assistant flagging to say the keeper had moved.
Angry Dagger protests were waved away and of course Taggarts retake went in.
As Boro celebrated a winner right in Robbo's face he chucked the ball at
Taggart and was sent off, the fifth red card for the Daggers in just three
months of football.
The result was another suspension with the Daggers facing an FA Cup 4th
Qualifying Round game at home to Crawley Town. Reserve keeper Martin Brennan
decided he wasn't ready for such a big game and John Still was forced to
sign a temporary replacement. In the unlikeliest move imaginable in came
Paul Bastock, a legend at Boston United and a man at the heart of Bostongate.
To add to the woes an acrimonious fans forum that midweek was told that
the club had money woes and could not afford to lose the FA Cup tie.
|2004 crawls to an end
Bastock save and a Mark Janney (left) specialist late FA Cup tie winner
saw the Daggers through to half Brisbane Road against Leyton Orient.
Before that though the Daggers got back to the Conference with a dire 3-0
home defeat by Scarborough to leave the Daggers 16th.
The game at the O's was an anti-climax, beaten routinely 3-1 in a
building site and the cup was over for another year. A battling defeat at
Carlisle, spoiled by another dumb red card for Jake Leberl left the Daggers
in 16th still but top (or bottom depending on the view you want to take) of
the disciplinary table.
A minor revival then saw wins over a decent Morecambe side and a poor Tamworth one
where the Daggers gave the perfect away performance, defending in depth and
attacking with real menace, scoring four without reply. This was followed by a bizarre 3-2 defeat by Exeter at the Glyn. 2-0
down early on the Daggers got back to 2-2 then Chris Moore saw his penalty
saved after the Grecians keeper was sent off, only for Exeter to grab all
three points late on.
rest of 2004 wound down unbeaten for the Daggers as Aldershot were sent home
with their tails between their legs beaten 3-0, the second a stunning strike
by the ever improving Anwar Uddin (right). Next the Daggers avenged the home
thrashing by Accrington with another 3-0 win, again defending well and
attacking with menace, before a creditable draw at
The final game of 2004, Boxing Day at home, was lost to frost after the delicate flowers of
Canvey Island persuaded the referee that the pitch was unplayable on Boxing
Day. The year ended with the Daggers 13th but amazingly still just 5 points
off a play off spot.
|Park Lane and all that
2005 started at Canvey Island's Park Lane. With hungover fans stood on a
cold windy terrace in the pits of a football ground the Daggers found themselves 2-0 down early again, then
3-0 before getting back to 3-2, the game almost inevitably settled by a goal by
Junior McDougald which made it 4-2.
Cole limped out of the Canvey game and played no further part in the season.
The result of this though was a chance at last for Scott Griffiths (left)
and Danny Foster to get some regular football. Both have settled in to the
Conference superbly since and with Shane Blackett and Anwar Uddin are the
heart of a young, quick and talented back four next season.
This dismal start to 2005 continued though with a poor Northwich Victoria
side taking three points at the Glyn, then inevitably Thurrock dumped the
Daggers out of the Essex Senior Cup in midweek.
The following Saturday another disaster when Conference South side
Bishops Stortford knocked the Daggers out of the FA Trophy at home, a game
in which Glen Southam could not appear due to a daft clause in the transfer
contract signed in the Summer. That Stortford then took a run all the way to the semi-finals will
not have been lost on the club's financial staff.
With the club looking at equalling its earlier run of five consecutive
defeats it was the most depressing point of the season, reflected by a
rant on this site. Almost certainly from there the only way to go was
|Go on, surprise me!
|So the Daggers headed to play off chasing Hereford United in crisis
again. The result? A 1-0
win. It's a funny old game Saint!
This was followed, after the irrelevance of a defeat in the Carthium/GLS
league cup thingy somewhere in Kent to end all interest in cups for the
season, then by a 5-0 Conference win over Gravesend with all
five goals right out of the top drawer.
Vengeance was had over Canvey on
the following Monday with Robbo break dancing as the third goal went in
and suddenly the Daggers were 11th and a two goal win over struggling
Farnborough away from 3rd place and being right in the play off hunt.
The result was a disappointing 0-0 draw and the bubble burst again, the
play offs never again really in range. A defeat at Scarborough was
followed by a decent win over Carlisle at home, then another 0-0 home to
Tamworth, and another red card for Ashley Vickers (right), his third for
1-0 defeats at Morecambe and Stevenage bracketed another disappointing
home draw, 2-2 with
Forest Green before the Daggers went on a six game unbeaten run to seal a
top half finish. The season ended with the Daggers welcoming the 2004/05
Conference champions Barnet to the Glyn the game ending in a 2-0 win in front of the largest crowd of the season to make the run seven unbeaten and take 17 of the last 21 points available.
|Season stats Conference 2004/05
Daggers Home League Attendance:
Best: 1,923 v Barnet (03/04 1,948)
Worst: 1,101 v Morecambe (03/04 984)
Average: 1,378 (03/04 1,442 - down 5%)
462 Games played
Home wins: 209 (03/04 208)
Away wins: 134 (03/04 136)
Draws: 119 (03/04 118)
Total Goals scored: 1,303 (03/04 1,343)
Average goals per game: 2.82 (03/04 2.9)
Most Consecutive Wins: 6 Barnet, Carlisle United, Woking
Most Consecutive Draws: 3 (11 teams)
Most Consecutive Defeats: 10 Farnborough Town, Leigh RMI
Games Without Win: 22 Farnborough Town, Leigh RMI
Games Without Draw: 17 Tamworth
Games Without Defeat: 13 Carlisle United
Biggest Winning Margin: 7 Carlisle United
Biggest Losing Margin: 7 Farnborough Town
Highest Scoring Game: Barnet 7 Farnborough Town 1
Most Goals Scored in Game: 7 Barnet, Carlisle United
Most Goals Conceded Game: 7 Farnborough Town
Most Failures to Score: 20 Leigh RMI, York City
Least Failures to Score: 4 Halifax Town
Most Clean Sheets: 19 Hereford United
Least Clean Sheets: 4 Leigh RMI
No of Games Goals Scored (per Team)
Nil 250 (27.06%)
One (290 31.39%)
Two 217 (23.48%)
Three 114 (12.34%)
Four 36 (3.90%)
Five or More 17 (1.84%)
1-0 70 (15%)
2-0 48 (10%)
2-1 78 (17%)
3-0 35 (8%)
3-1 40 (9%)
3-2 19 (4%)
4-0 19 (4%)
4-1 11 (2%)
4-2 4 (1%)
4-3 2 (0%)
Other Non-Draws 17 (4%)
0-0 34 (7%)
1-1 42 (9%)
2-2 34 (7%)
3-3 9 (2%)
Other Draws 0 (0%)
|Daggers best and worst 2004/05
|All completely subjective, feel free to debate as you will.
Daggers 3 Hereford United 1
Daggers 3 Aldershot Town 0
Hereford United 0 Daggers1
Daggers 0 Accrington Stanley 5
Daggers 1 Bishops Stortford 2
Daggers 0 Tamworth 0
Craig Mackail-Smith H v Morecambe
Anwar Uddin H v Aldershot Town
Steve Clarke H v Gravesend & Northfleet
Paul Bastock (for purely non-footballing reasons)
DiggerDagger's Player of the Season:
DiggerDagger man of the Match Awards:
Ashley Vickers 8
Chris Moore 5
Paul Bruce, Anwar Uddin, Scott Griffiths 4 each
Mystery of the Season:
The strange case of Morgaro
Worst refereeing performance:
N. Kinseley (A v Farnborough Town)