Sunday, April 1, 2007

Tamworth 0 Dagenham and Redbridge 2

I've had an amazing morning with my U9s football team; we have been crowned champions of Nottingham. I may write a separate blog entry. I whistle all the way down the M42.

The Liverpool v Arsenal game is on 5Live. The boss is chattering away but I'm not listening. I'm away with the fairies.

We experience a hailstorm, I have underestimated the weather; I'm sporting one of my boy band type zip tops (hoodie). Luckily I have a thick Lincoln City sweatshirt underneath it. Mrs P hates it. I wear it to wind her up.

Tamworth has a population of 75,000 (I was surprised by that) Sir Robert Peel was Member of Parliament for Tamworth. They have a statue of him in the town centre.

They used to make the Reliant Robin here as the Dagenham fans would say: "Lovely Jubbley". Dagenham is in East London and is of course famous for The Ford Motor Company. Former Eurovision Song Contest winner, Sandie Shaw, was raised here. I prefer Hand in Glove that she sang with The Smiths.

Regular readers of this blog will know I'm a huge admirer of Lambs' manager Gary Mills. He is performing a modern day miracle here. They are out of the relegation zone. My youngest boy, "The Skipper", likes Tamworth. His coach at the NFFC Development Centre is Richard Dryden, who was assistant to Mark Cooper before Mills took over. He was a quality centre-half in his day.

Dagenham and Redbridge are the runaway leaders of The Conference, this despite selling two of their best players to that tin pot outfit, Peterborough Utd - Craig Mackail-Smith and Shane Blackett.

Londoner, John Still is The Gaffer he has had league experience with Barnet and Peterborough and seems a decent chap. He knows the Southern Non-League scene like the back of his hand. He has picked up some rough diamonds from the likes of Thurrock, White Ensign and Bishops Stortford.

Tamworth’s ground is near the castle. We get out the car to witness two stewards having a huge row. As the notorious NFFC “A Block” would sing: “Get a proper job”.

It’s £11 admission price, the ground is a little run-down and so is the Social Club. I fleeced The Boss for a Stella at Gainsborough Trinity’s bar a few weeks ago, today it’s my round. He’s hanging his nose over a pint of Adnams, I act fast: “Two pints of mild please love”, £3.80 it’s a bargain. All beers are served in customised plastic glasses; good gimmick that.

The pitch is on a steeper slope than the nearby Snowdome Ski Slope. The public address man does The Lambs proud. My Chemical Romance and Kasabian are the pick of the tunes. He then goes and spoils it all by playing that well known pub singer Robbie Williams as the players enter the field of play. Dagenham kick down the slope with the stiff breeze behind them.

Two good goalkeepers are on show today, Jose Veiga is Tamworth’s Portuguese keeper. I saw him give a master class in shot stopping in a FA Cup tie at Burton Albion earlier in the season. He is a class act and should be in The Football League. Lazy scouts are not watching him. Ex QPR stopper Tony Roberts is in the nets for Dagenham, he is an excellent keeper.

Bargain buy Paul Benson, The Daggers centre forward, is dragging the home defence all over the pitch. He wastes a host of chances.

Tamworth show the leaders too much respect. Their captain is Adie Smith, he is the consummate pro, today he is frustrated. He is also suspended for the next two games, he will be sorely missed.

Tamworth’s front two are giving away possession it’s all too tight. They revert to the long ball game. McGrath is not weaving his magic today. Daryl Taylor Tamworth’s tricky winger gets no service.

Tamworth are hanging on for half-time but they lose another ball in midfield, Dave Rainford latches on to it, finds space and lashes home a left foot exocet. Mills will be seething.

Tamworth improve in the second period, Taylor starts to see more of the ball and is positive in everything he does. Emmet Friars once of The Pies is struggling today, he is uncomfortable in possession and his passing is poor. Michael Briscoe, The Lambs defender is having a stormer, another shrewd signing from Mills.

Dagenham always look dangerous on the counter-attack as Tamworth push forward. Eight minutes from time ex Barnet striker Ben Strevens makes no mistake from close range following good work by substitute Sam Saunders.

Benson has time to miss another sitter crashing one against the bar. The Daggers survive a few goalmouth melees but it’s a comfortable win. They are nothing special but are a solid and organised unit.

Mark Arber from The Posh looks to have been an astute signing. Sloma and Griffiths link up well down the left.

Tamworth can’t get going today; The Daggers are good at closing them down. Their winger and most exciting player, Daryl Taylor, is a frustrated figure. Atieno, their forward has a poor game by his high standards. They looked a little scared today.

Tamworth 0 Dagenham and Redbridge 2 Rainford and Strevens.

Attendance: 1269

Man of the Match: Paul Benson, Dagenham and Redbridge

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