Blog number five in the “Doing the 92” challenge looks at my visit to Dagenham & Redbridge. After what was a disaster of a visit to Huddersfield Town in my previous blog (to which many people said they imagined me wandering around doing my best Karl Pilkington impression) I decided to try my luck back in League 2 having had success the last time I visited a team from that league, AFC Wimbledon in blog #1. So I chose Dagenham & Redbridge. Why? Because tickets were starting at £2.50! £2.50 for a ticket! How could I not say no to that! Would you? The other reason for wanting to visit them next was because I wanted to spend the morning roaming the streets of London looking for charity shops for DVDs to purchase for my “1001 Films to See Before You Die” challenge. So I immediately bought my ticket for the game and even booked cheap train tickets to London with a train leaving at 6am!
I woke up that day at 5am to get my train and with help from a taxi driver who drove past every red light he saw. He already had his excuse ready for the police if he got pulled over. His excuse was “It was turning green!” I arrived in London and in typical British weather, it was raining. So there I was roaming the streets of London in the rain to kill time before the game.
After killing time, I boarded the District Line tube to Dagenham East and got lost within seconds! While lost, I did spot that they have a Tesco built into a pub! I thought that was interesting. I arrived at the ground and spotted that everyone has to drive/walk down what felt like someone’s entrance to their garage. I also noticed that the car park was rather small. Even the Cheltenham Town bus had a hard time trying to reverse into a spot. I also noticed the name of the stadium,” The London Borough of Barking & Dagenham Stadium”. I can see why fans, and Jeff Stelling, refer to it as “Victoria Road”.
As a local radio station played music and a healthy keep fit tent attracting hardly anyone, I made my way into the club’s pub for a drink and to watch the lunchtime game, Brentford vs. Middlesbrough. The woman behind the bar took one look at me and could clearly tell that this was my first visit to the club. Thankfully she and the other fans in the pub were nice enough to make me feel welcome. After some time, I collected my ticket and programme and headed for the terrace.
The ground has two terrace stands but only one has a roof so those stood in the terrace stand without a roof were getting soaked from the rain but they came prepared with their umbrellas. And security clearly couldn’t care about me taking photos at the game as they were busier trying to keep warm by smoking cigarette after cigarette and making sure Cheltenham fans didn’t get into any fights with Dagenham fans. This was the first game that I attended where a fan brought a drum into the ground as a way to rally the crowd.
The game kicked off and both teams spent the first half fighting for possession as the rain kept on pouring down. There was nothing to note about that half expect that Joe Widdowson reveived a yellow card at the 41st minute. I also noticed that Jack Dunn, on loan from Liverpool, looked good on the pitch. I’m surprised Cheltenham Town didn’t extend his loan deal on Deadline Day. The rain stopped just as the second half started and that’s when things got interesting. First, I got to see my first penalty take place in the “Doing the 92” challenge. Jamie Cureton was the man to take the penalty, which he missed but he managed to score on the rebound at the 55th minute.
8 minutes later, another penalty was awarded! This time to Cheltenham Town. Mark Cousins got yellow carded and Jack Dunn scored from the penalty spot at the 62nd minute. As Cheltenham celebrated the goal, some of the near 200 fans who travelled to the game tried starting a fight with security. This lead to two or three Cheltenham fans getting arrested for their actions. At the 71st minute, Dagenham fans were celebrating again as Ashley Hemmings made the score 2-1 to Dagenham meaning that they were out of the relegation zone. They were celebrating more as Alex Jakubiak, on loan from Watford, made things 3-1 four minutes into extra time. Finally, I got to see a team win. The last team I saw win was the England U16’s back in November. I headed back home knowing that I would more than happy pay them another visit.
Overall, I feel like I had a very successful trip. This, to me, made up for the mess that Huddersfield Town had caused earlier in the month. Many memories to take from that game and happy to finally see a win for the home team. My next blog will be looking at my first Premier League game of the “Doing the 92” challenge! Not only that, my first Premier League game in over 10 years as I visit Hull City who take on fellow Premier League strugglers Queens Park Rangers. I have listed my upcoming visits that I have booked. If you have any recommendations for what team I should visit then let me know on Twitter at @DanWhite1993
Here are the full stats about the game
Team Visited – Dagenham & Redbridge
Taking on – Cheltenham Town
Venue – Victoria Road
Date Visited – January 31st 2015
Overall Attendance – 2696
Score – Dagenham & Redbridge 3-1 Cheltenham Town
Goal Scorers – Dagenham & Redbridge – Jamie Cureton (55), Ashley Hemmings (71), Alex Jakubiak (90+4)
Goal Scorers – Cheltenham Town (62 pen)
Yellow Cards – Dagenham & Redbridge – Joe Widdowson (41), Mark Cousins (61)
Yellow Cards – Cheltenham Town – NONE
#6 – Hull City (Visited – Blog coming soon)
#7 – Rochdale (March 7th vs Colchester United – I will be doing some fundraising at the game with Prostate Cancer UK before kick-off)
8th – Arsenal (March 29th Brazil vs Chile)