We’re on fire with the five fun facts feature. They’re coming thick and fast. After a brief sojourn into continental Europe we’re back in blighty to focus on one of London’s less well known clubs. Mark of 9-men introduces us to his team Dagenham & Redbridge FC.
1. Our goalkeeper scored in the FA Cup ..
In a FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round tie at Basingstoke Town in 2001, we found ourselves 2-1 down heading into the dying moments. Tony Roberts had been up for a couple of corners already, but this time the ball fell perfectly for him to slot into the bottom corner of the net. We won the replay and then went on a run to the 3rd Round, beating Southport, hammering Exeter in a replay before finally falling to Premiership side Ipswich.
Originally thought to be the first keeper to score from open play in the Cup, it has recently become apparent that Alan Cooling of Hampton was actually first in 1977, with Sam Styles becoming number 3 in 2010.
Bonus fun fact: Robbo is thought to be the only keeper to be sent off in the opposition penalty box in the FA Cup, seeing red at Southend in 2008 after Peter Clarke’s theatrical collapse.
2. We won the Ryman League with 9 players ..
It is the feat which gave my website its name. On 22nd April 2000, we went into the game at Hampton and Richmond Borough aiming to seal promotion back to the Conference. Despite taking an early lead through Broom, our goalkeeper Newell was sent off on 40 minutes for a foul outside the box.
In those days we never bothered with a sub keeper, so defender-cum-striker Mark Keen took the gloves. Maskell netted twice for the hosts either side of half-time but we drew level again through McDougald’s penalty. Back in with a shout of clinching the title, the task got harder still when Dominic Naylor also saw red with 20 minutes left for some choice words aimed at an opposing player.
But into injury time, McDougald popped up again to fire across the goal into the bottom corner through a crowded box, sending the visiting fans into dreamland.
3. As a non-league side we reached the FA Cup 3rd Round in 3 consecutive seasons ..
In 2000/01, we went from the 4th Qualifying Round winning 3 ties including beating League Two side Lincoln on their own pitch. This set up a tie at Premiership Charlton, who we led from the 42nd minute courtesy of McDougald until Salako hit a late and undeserved equaliser. The replay was also closely fought until Newton scored the winner in extra time.
The following season saw Roberts’ aforementioned goal and 3-0 trouncing of League Two side Exeter in a replay. The 3rd Round brought Premiership side Ipswich to Victoria Road, but it wasn’t so close this time, the Tractor Boys winning 4-1 after McDougald had opened the scoring.
In 2002/03 the 3rd Round saw us travel to Plymouth of League One, grabbing a 2-2 draw before beating them 2-0 at our place in the replay - McDougald typically scored in both games. This meant we actually went one better and into the 4th Round, but a last-minute goal at Norwich ended our run.
Bonus fun fact: Cup hero McDougald was part of the Harchester United squad in Sky TV’s Dream Team.
4. We signed a player who refused to play ..
In January 2005, we announced the signing of Morgaro Gomis from Windsor & Eton. There were high hopes for the teenage midfielder but controversy arose when his apparent agent came on the scene. The player had signed a contract but the agent was unhappy, the player refused to play, and he eventually went back to Windsor having never kicked a ball.
He now plays in the Scottish Premier League for Dundee United and is a full Senegal international.
5. We hold the record for biggest win in a play-off match ..
Our 6-0 win against Morecambe in May 2010 is the biggest win in a single Football League play-off match, beating the previous record of Leicester City’s 5-0 win over Cambridge United in 1992.
Paul Benson opened the scoring with a tap-in and Josh Scott doubled the lead before half-time. Just after half-time Scott got his second, nodding in the rebound from Arber’s saved penalty, and completed his hat-trick with a header from a corner. Benson then got his second but Scott was the hero, robbing the defender and clipping the ball past Roche for his 4th, setting his own personal record as the only player to score 4 in a play-off match.
We lost the second leg 2-1 in Morecambe’s final match at Christie Park.