Daggers offer cause for optimism despite defeat

Three games into the season into the season and most Daggers supporters would agree that there is much to admire about the displays so far this season at Victoria Road.

Performances have been full of chances, good football, youthful exuberance and touches of quality. However, the opposition’s grit and determination (with elements of quality) has more than matched that of the Daggers so far. The result is a stalemate and two defeats from the opening three matches.

One thing I have learnt from this embryonic season in League Two is that the quality and organisation of teams gets better year on year, and the fact that John Still’s boys (meant literally- all of his starting line ups have been under the age of 26 so far) can play so well and give their best you can’t really fault them.

Finding players like Dwight Gayle, playing in the Essex Senior League for Stansted two seasons ago, (he got off the mark at the weekend and looks to have bags of potential), is a skill of the highest esteem for Still and his backroom staff.

You often find that in many games last season the Daggers and the team they were playing cancelled each other out for the vast majority of the match with one moment of quality separating the winner from the loser. Too often last season that went against the Daggers. This season, if Gayle can keep this form up there is no doubt he can win a few games with that touch of quality himself.

It is refreshing as a supporter to see young, hungry players being given a chance. Win lose or draw the outlook for the immediate future looks bright, one win looks set to springboard these players to new heights. I often say to my friends the season is a marathon not a sprint, but with games coming thick and fast the 1st win must come about soon or the pressure gets greater game by game. However, this group of players seem to believe hugely in their own ability. Take Gayle on Saturday, in his third Football League start he nominated himself to take the penalty he won in front of the Gillingham fans. Despite their best efforts to put the youngster off he assertively fired the penalty down the middle into the net. You can’t teach confidence like that. Another few doses of that in the short term and later on in the season should propel us up the table.

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