Dagenham & Redbridge
Victoria Road

Ground Number - 132
Visited - Saturday 8th September 2007
Result - Dagenham & Redbridge 1-1 Barnet
Competition - Coca-Cola League 2
Attendance - 2192

Having won promotion from the Conference in convincing style last season, Dagenham were enjoying their first season in the league, although without quite the success that their fellow promotee’s Morecambe had been having, but being part of the 92 was enough, and so it was another ground to get down to and tick off from the list.

With England kicking off against Israel at 3pm, their London derby against Barnet had been moved forward three hours to a 12:15pm kick off, so it was an early start from the Midlands, travelling down on the train, and arriving into the capital as planned at 9:30am, before a quick dash on the tube across to East London and Dagenham East station. The walk from there isn’t a long one, with most fans heading in that direction.

From the outside, there isn’t a lot to see of the ground, (official name – The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Stadium) with it being tucked away at the bottom a cul-de-sac, and enclosed on three sides. Only the Main Stand was visible, with the supporters bar and various offices hiding much of that from view. Once inside, the ground does open up a bit more. Along the near touchline is the Carling Stand, which runs for about two thirds of the pitch, and is raised from pitch level, whilst the final third (nearest the away end) is taken up by the Barking College Stand, which is similar in design, although, unlike its bigger neighbour, has its views restricted by pillars. Both ends are small, open terraces, whilst the far side is taken up by the North Stand, which is another small terrace running the length of the pitch, although this is covered by a low roof giving a gloomy feel to its interior.

Having taken a few pictures, I found a spot to stand, and it soon became evident that I wasn’t the only neutral in the crowd! In fact, half the crowd seemed to be made up of fans in England shirts going on to Wembley afterwards. Barnet had also bought a colourful following, and seemed to fill the far end ready for the midday kick-off.

From the off, neither side really capitalised, Dagenham opened the scoring on 20 minutes when Ben Stevens scrambled a ball home, and Barnet got the equaliser with virtually the last kick of the first half, when Anthony Thomas scored from a free-kick driven low and hard into and straight through the goal. Having gone through the net and rebounded off the advertising boards behind the goal, there was some doubt whether it was in or not, but the referee rightfully rewarded it. Other than that it was dreadful stuff to watch. Not helped by the heat on a sunny midday, neither side looked particularly dangerous, or motivated to go out and get three points, and when the hosts were able to get forward, their strikers seemed unable to finish the job off and Lee Harrison in the Barnet goal was never seriously threatened. The second half was just as bad, if not worse. Barnet could have won it at the end with Dagenham having to clear an effort off the line, but the final whistle was eventually blown, and the game finished at 1-1.

Having left the ground, I headed back to the station, and was soon on a train heading westwards before a change at Mile End and back east towards Barkingside to see my second game of the afternoon at Redbridge FC’s ground, before finally coming home later on in the evening.

Overall, whilst the game itself was dire to watch, I was glad to have made the trip. The ground is a unique little place, although if the club are to stay in the league, then you feel that they may end up needing to upgrade the facilities, but for now it is a good ground to visit, and worth getting along to for anyone who hasn’t been.

Welcome to Dagenham!

Rear of the Main Stand

Ticket Office and Club Shop

Rear of the North Stand

The North Stand

The Pondfield Road End

The Barking College Stand

The Main Stand

The Bury Road End

The Main Stand

The Pondfield Road End

The North Stand


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