The day Brett McGavin’s Dad played against Town, for Daggers – Carl Marston’s Travels with Town
- Credit: Archant
Football writer Carl Marston has visited 120 Football League grounds, many of them reporting on Ipswich Town. Here he spotlights Dagenham & Redbridge’s Victoria Road
Steve McGavin, the Dad of Town's current promising midfielder Brett McGavin, plus former Town stalwart Mark Brennan, were ironically both in the Dagenham & Redbridge team which played host to Ipswich Town's only ever visit to Victoria Road, for a competitive match.
Town's visit, from nearly 18 years ago, was in the FA Cup, very topical on the back of Wednesday night's rare Cup triumph, 1-0 away at Lincoln City.
Teenager McGavin made only his second first-team appearance in that game, following on from the 19-year-old's senior debut in the EFL Trophy at Colchester United just eight days previously - the links abound, because McGavin senior made a name for himself playing for the U's, mainly in the 1990s.
I have been treated to several visits to Victoria Road, over the years, certainly more than Town's one solitary visit to this corner of East London for an FA Cup third round tie, on January 5, 2002.
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And I have usually found, during my time spent lurking in the Daggers' press box (I fondly recall that you used to be able to obtain a cream cake at half-time), that the team taking the lead is usually the team that ends up being beaten.
It was the case when I visited with Colchester, for another of those 'wonderful' EFL Trophy games (then known as the Johnstone's Paint Trophy) in 2013, when the U's were 1-0 up at half-time, only to end up being hammered 4-1.
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Centre-half Magnus Okunghae, playing against his old club, endured the ignominy of being sent off that evening, much to the delight of the locals.
Town's FA Cup visit, from 11 years before, had been just as eventful, and not only because the likes of McGavin (Steve) and Brennan (Mark) were gracing the Daggers team.
To start with, there were doubts over the match even taking place, until the covers were removed from the centre of the pitch and referee Rob Styles had completed his pitch inspection. It was passed fit, much to the relief of the respective managers, Gary Hill and George Burley.
American-born Junior McDougald gave the Daggers, who were plying their trade in the Conference (they finished runners-up behind champions Boston United that season) an early lead to surprise Premier League Town.
Victoria Road began preparing for a famous FA Cup shock - the crowd was nearly 6,000 that day.
However, Sixto Peralta bagged the first of his brace to equalise on the half-hour mark, before future Town manager Jim Magilton nudged the visitors ahead on the stroke of half-time.
Argentine attacking midfielder Peralta, who was on loan for the season, gave Town some breathing space, before Marcus Stewart killed off the tie with the fourth.
Alas, drawn at home to Manchester City in round four - City were destined to win the First Division (now Championship) title that season - Town crashed out 4-1, and were later relegated from the Premier League along with Derby and Leicester.
These were the days of keepers Andy Marshall and Matteo Sereni, defenders Titus Bramble and Hermann Hreidarsson, and of course 'old boy' Finidi George patrolling the right flank.
Of even more interest was the Daggers squad that afternoon.
McGavin senior and Brennan both made appearances, as did Paul Terry, the older brother of former England and Chelsea centre-half John Terry.
Both McGavin and Brennan were nearing the end of their professional careers.
Midfielder Brennan (then aged 36), who played 168 league games for Town during the 1980s, went on to play in China and Australia before returning to England with a bump, to play at Victoria Road!
McGavin, nearing his 33rd birthday, dropped further down the non-league pyramid after that one season with the Daggers.
Club: Dagenham & Redbridge
Founded: 1992 (27 years ago, following a merger between Redbridge Forest and Dagenham)
Ground: Victoria Road (used as a football venue since 1917)
Town's only visit: 4-1 away win on January 5, 2002 (FA Cup)
Victoria Road was originally used by the Sterling Works side, who had a factory situated nearby.
But it did not take on the shape of a football ground until 1955, when stones were removed from the playing surface, the pitch was relaid, the ground was enclosed and a main stand, tunstile and toilets block were added.