Good goalkeepers can be hard to find, but over the years I think it’s fair to say that we have had our fair share of decent ones – along with the occasional not so good one as well !
During the late 1990’s we seemed to have a succession of more than capable custodians between the sticks. One such ‘keeper, who definitely fell into the ‘very good’ category, was Darryl Trigg.
Trigg joined the club in August 1997 as manager Steve Dowman struggled to find a capable replacement for Darren Gould, who had left the during the summer. Two other ‘keepers had been used for the first three games of the season until Trigg was signed and made his debut at the end of August in the ‘prestigious’ Guardian Insurance Cup Preliminary Round at home to Banstead Athletic. It was fitting that Darryl kept a clean sheet in the 3-0 win, as goals from Kriss Huckstepp, Richard Sestak and Jon Collins secured a win in front of a gate of 110. It is fair to say that none of the supporters had heard of him prior to that game, but his performance that evening was sufficiently adept to ensure he kept his place in the side for the bulk of two seasons. Bringing him to Broad Lane was an inspired signing by Dowman.
Prior to joining Wivenhoe he was on the books of Norwich City at Youth Team level and made one appearance for the Canaries reserves under Steve Foley in 1996. He was actually with Enfield at the time, but was ‘borrowed’ for one game against Tottenham Hotspur, which Norwich won 2-1. Trigg had also previously been at Colchester United’s youth set up and had been remembered by Foley from their time together with The U’s.
Darryl Trigg – sandwiched between Lee Neale (left) and Julian Hazel in the 1998-99 season team photograph.
Trigger, as he was to be imaginatively become christened by the SOBs, proved to be a very reliable last line of defence being an excellent shot-stopper, along with a good commander of his penalty box and having an uncanny ability to take crosses safely. He matured rapidly in this level of football and arguably went on to become one of the best ‘keepers in the Division and the local non-league football scene.
He made the Number One jersey his own for that first season, making a total of 44 league and cup appearances. This was no mean feat, especially as mid-way through that campaign Colin Hill and his infamous band of highly paid players descended on Broad Lane. The fact that he remained in the team during this highly volatile period speaks volumes. Wivenhoe finished that season in a very creditable sixth place in spite of the huge turnover of playing staff.
The 1989-99 campaign resumed with Darryl still between the sticks, but with a new boss as Julian Hazel took over from Steve Dowman who relinquished his post during the summer. The team’s form, however, also changed, being cemented firmly in the bottom half of the league table for most of the season. Results were somewhat erratic, but even in defeat Trigg was to emerge with most credit. Supporter’s match reports from away games confirmed his excellent form. He was deemed Man of the Match in the 4-1 win at Windsor & Eton, with the score only being kept goalless at half-time due to Trigg’s fine display. Alan Day, Kriss Huckstepp and Danny Smith secured the victory in the second period. I can still remember the defeat we suffered at Tooting & Mitcham’s old Sandy Lane ground, on a saturated pitch which had standing water all over it. The game should never have kicked off, let alone been completed and we struggled to come to terms with the conditions, losing narrowly 2-1, as our hosts adapted to the treacherous, partly submerged pitch. Darryl, however, made numerous memorable saves on a playing surface that was a nightmare for outfield players, let alone the goalkeeper. The defeat would have been far more damaging were it not for his outstanding efforts that wet afternoon.
A 4-1 defeat at high flying Northwood was noteworthy from a Dragons point of view solely due to the number of fine saves made by Trigg which restricted the ‘Wood to only four goals. However, despite his good performances the wind of change was to blow through Broad Lane and in February 1999 he played his last game for the club at home to Windsor & Eton. 128 fans witnessed the 2-3 defeat in which Hazel scored both our goals. In total Darryl made 75 appearances during his spell at the club and as said before he was, in my mind, a very good ‘keeper at the level the club were then playing at.
He was certainly one of the quieter members of the squad at that time, which contained some, well, larger than life characters shall we say !
Having left Wivenhoe his career briefly looked to be on the up as he reportedly signed for Football League side Brighton & Hove Albion on a non-contract basis, but this eventually came to nothing as he joined Harlow Town at the start of the 1999-2000 season. Moves to Bishops Stortford, Saffron Walden Town and Hertford Town followed before Trigger seemed to disappear off the footballing radar.