Date: 17th November 2015 at 11:40pm
Written by:

Following the postponed League Two game last Saturday, Dagenham & Redbridge visited the Globe Arena on Tuesday night for their replay of the FA Cup First Round tie which ended 0-0 at Victoria Road just over a week ago.

The game started with a one minute silence and an attempt by the club to display the Tricolor and some meaningful French words concerning the murders in Paris last weekend on the electronic scoreboard which – very regrettably – didn`t work properly. So at least some perspective was put on proceedings – whatever happened tonight, at least nobody died.

The original tie at Victoria Road was apparently a dreadful game with very few chances. But the only thing dreadful – apart from arguably the weather – about tonight`s replay was Morecambe`s performance, which was absolutely and utterly pathetic.

It started well enough. Man of the Match Tom Barkhuizen drew a brilliant save from visiting goalkeeper Liam O`Brien, who managed to arch his back and push a clever lob from Tom over the bar right in the top left hand corner of the goal after four minutes. From the resulting corner – following a bit of head tennis and a clearance off the Daggers` line – Morecambe`s number nine scored. This was with barely five minutes played. Within two minutes of the first goal, the home team were two-nil up: Aaron Wildig took advantage of a sharp attack down the Dagenham right flank to beat O`Brian again with a well-placed shot as the Daggers` defence was still Absent Without Leave.

That could and should have been it. The team from Barking looked like what they are – bottom of League Two with a defence which was all over the place. Every time Morecambe attacked, they looked like they might score again. After twelve minutes, for instance, Jamie Devitt missed by a whisker from a free kick about forty yards out.

Crucially, however, every time the visitors got into the Shrimps` half, they pinged the ball around well, kept it on the ground and asked questions of the home rearguard. In Jamie Cureton, they always had a threat despite the fact that he often strayed offside. So it wasn`t entirely surprising when referee Geoff Eltringham – who had a very poor game throughout – awarded a penalty against Barry Roche for a foul on Ashley Hemmings. To be fair, Mr Eltringham probably got this decision right and Kyle Vassell duly scored from the spot.

The game was end to end although Morecambe still had most of the chances: Barkhuizen missed with a shot which went just over the bar after seventeen minutes and Alex Kenyon blazed the ball high and wide shortly afterwards. But Dagenham kept plugging away and equalised when a deflected shot beat Roche and went into the top corner after just over half an hour. With just a few minutes of the first half left, Andy Parrish needlessly conceded a corner and when it was badly cleared by his team-mates, James Dunne took the opportunity to just miss with a long-range shot which was a portent of things to come in the second half.

The Daggers had a very strong wind at their backs in the second period and they used it to their advantage throughout. Joss Labadie stated his team`s intent after fifty-three minutes with a powerful daisy-cutter from all of 40 yards which Roche did well to block with his legs. Shortly afterwards, the visitors went ahead. The Morecambe goalkeeper was clearly fouled on the ground as a scramble ensued after a Dagger`s corner but when Vassell booted the ball into the net for the second time, the referee – to most people`s amazement including probably those on the Dagenham bench – allowed it. They may have been lucky to get away with this and even luckier when Mr Eltringham indulged them every time they play-acted, feigned injury or generally took every opportunity to waste time from this moment onwards. There was not a shadow of a doubt though that – despite this – they thoroughly deserved to progress to the next round from this point. Morecambe simply fell apart as a unit and never got to grips with the conditions in the way the visitors had done throughout the first half. Roche constantly failed to clear his lines effectively or booted the ball into touch and his outfield players didn`t help him. Consequently, the match was played almost exclusively in the Shrimps` half and the goalkeeper was called on time and time again to keep the score down. Although he conceded another goal – this time to Labadie after a pass from Vassell with almost seventy minutes played – nobody could blame him for the final 2-4 score: if it had been six or even seven to the Londoners, nobody could complain: this was as spineless a display by a Jim Bentley team as I for one has ever seen. At the other end, the nearest the Shrimps came to scoring during the second half was when Barkhuizen`s shot after half an hour was blocked by substitute Kevin Ellison`s legs. The fact that throughout the second half, O`Brien was a spectator most of the time and had not even one save to make says it all about how – yet again – when push comes to shove, Morecambe Football Club just roll over and die whenever they meet the Daggers in any cup competition. They were booed off at the end – and rightly so: this was a golden opportunity to get to Round Three of the FA Cup this year with only minnows from Brighton who nobody has ever heard of standing in their way. Mind you, if they played against them the way they did in the second half tonight, Whitehawk would probably win. In fact, Whitehawk Juniors probably would: Morecambe were a disgrace to the shirt?

Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche; 22 Andy Parrish(C); 19 Lawrence Wilson; 3 Aaron McGowan; 4 Alex Kenyon; 6 Ryan Edwards; 7 Jamie Devitt (11 Kevin Ellison 59 mins); 15 Aaron Wildig (12 Paul Mullin 59 mins); 16 Shaun Miller; 17 Andy Fleming; 9 Tom Barkhuizen.
Substitutes: 20 Tony Thompson; 18 Charlie Bailey; 10 Lee Molyneux; 27 Jack Kelleher; 13 Alan Goodall.

Dagenham & Redbridge: 1 Liam O`Brien; 2 Josh Passley; 5 Nyron Nosworthy; 6 Clevid Dikamona; 33 Lewis Moore; 10 Ashley Chambers; 4 Joss Labadie (C); 26 James Dunne; 23 Ashley Hemmings;; 7 Jamie Cureton; 15 Kyle Vassell (Y).
Substitutes: 9 Matt McClure; 17 Jodi Jones; 18 Frankie Raymond; 22 Jake Mulraney; 24 Josh Pask; 25 Kane Ferdinand; 30 Mark Cousins.
Ref: Geoff Eltringham