Lloyd Dawes got the winner as Worthing Football Club came from a goal behind to shock National League side Dagenham & Redbridge in the FA Trophy first-round this afternoon.
An own-goal from Josh Staunton and Dawes’ effort ensured Worthing shocked their two-leagues higher opponents, running out 2-1 victors at Victoria Road.
Having put in a fine display in the opening 45 minutes, Paul Benson’s strike meant Worthing went in a goal down but a fine recovery helped them seal £5,000 in prize money and a place in the second round.
Worthing made a solid start and Lloyd Dawes came close to firing them in front after nine minutes. Sam Rents picked him out in the area, before the frontman curled an effort just over from 18 yards.
Jordan Maguire-Drew, who was influential in Worthing gaining promotion last season, had Daggers’ first real openings. First, he ran in from the right but lashed an effort wide, then a stand-up cross sailed just over all within the opening 15 minutes.
Omar Bugiel so nearly gave the travelling side an unlikely lead a minute later. The ball fell fortuitously for him, he then bore down on goal only for his prodded strike to come back out of a post.
Worthing were nearly made to pay for that miss on 18 minutes. Paul Benson’s ball saw Corey Whitely played in behind but he fired wide of the far post.
Daggers continued to be outplayed with Dawes, Bugiel and Harvey Sparks all going close with strikes before the home side took an undeserved lead five minutes before the break.
Maguire-Drew’s cross was cleared into Benson’s path by Will Hendon and he was on hand to slot home from three yards.
Despite falling behind just before the break, Worthing responded well in the early stages of the second. Less than a minute after the interval, Zack Newton went clear but his cutback failed to find a Worthing player. But on the hour Worthing had the goal all of their efforts deserved. Great work from Hendon down the right saw him find some room and his cross could only be diverted into his own net by Josh Staunton.
Worthing had an added lift after the equaliser and an unlikely turnaround was complete on 72 minutes. Dawes put Magnus Okuonaghae under pressure with his pass back falling short and Dawes was on hand to fire under Mark Cousins.
Dawes then came close to adding a third with 13 minutes left. He rounded Cousins but his touch took him too far, with Daggers goalkeeper given time to recover and parry his effort wide.
Daggers applied some late pressure but Worthing stood firm to seal a memorable FA Trophy victory.
WORTHING: Fagan; Hendon, Heath, Cook, Rents; Wills, O’Neill; Newton, Bugiel, Sparks; Dawes. Subs: Belward, Brodie (Sparks, 88), Watson, Edwards (O’Neill, 70), Boiling.