Events at Dagenham & Redbridge this week must be seen through the prism of what unfolded at the final whistle in Maidenhead, writes Keane Handley.
Daggers striker Inih Effiong collapsed on the pitch at the final whistle and it has put the performance and result into perspective – little more than a game.
Thankfully, after first-class medical attention both at the ground and in hospital, Inih looks on the road to recovery and we hope to see him back fighting fit before long in a Daggers shirt.
Wishing Inih well, we look to the rest of the squad to help put a smile on his face in the recovery room, only there is an ever-decreasing number of players available. It has prompted calls, which will probably inevitably be answered, on Ben Strevens to be backed to go into the transfer/loan market.
It was always going to be difficult to get by with a small, close-knit squad in the National League, and so it has proved just four games in. Hopefully some players with short-term injuries are able to return to the pitch soon, but that doesn’t stop this from happening throughout the season.
It could be argued that the players out on the pitch are under-performing, but when we can’t find a consistent team selection and subsequent style of play, the players out there are always going to be up against it.
The back-to-back defeats this week, however, did signal something amiss a bit deeper in my eyes, in that the quality isn’t within this squad to be challenging for the play-offs and, at the minute, not good enough for mid-table.
The lack of creativity and attacking threat is concerning. Myles Weston seems to be the best player in the final third at the moment and a lonesome threat up top – the strikers not really able to get involved much at all. That said, there were signs of Charley Kendall looking dangerous in the first 45 minutes on Saturday and hopefully we see him progress throughout the campaign.
However, it is incumbent on every available player to improve going into this Bank Holiday weekend double-header, with Barnet and Wealdstone the respective opponents.
There must be an emphasis on going back to basics heading into this weekend, against two good teams, and hopefully the first win comes the Daggers’ way. But focus on the performance, and the results will surely follow.
It is still extremely early in this campaign and so being bottom of the league is not the concern it would otherwise be later on in the season. However the results must come soon, else the ground to be made up only becomes greater.
So Strevens is still in search of his first win of the season with this group of players, and it has been a very difficult start to the 2023/24 season, but this week has seen football put into perspective, and ultimately we are thankful that Inih Effiong is okay.
Come On You Daggers!