Lloyd Dawes reflected on his strike that sealed a shock FA Trophy victory and declared: “It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had in football.”
Dawes struck 19 minutes from time to ensure Worthing came from a goal behind to seal 2-1 first-round win at two-divisions higher National League outfit Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday.
Worthing served up a near faultless display but were made to do it the hard way to seal a spot in round two.
Paul Benson’s strike five minutes before the break put Daggers ahead but a second half own-goal from Josh Staunton and Dawes’ effort helped Worthing secure £5,000 in prize money.
Looking back on the memorable victory, Dawes said: “It’s probably the best feeling I’ve ever had, it was a little bit emotional but it was incredible.
“At 1-1 I was thinking let’s get this back to Woodside, but then getting the winner, we didn’t even need to worry about that.
“It was a massive result for us, especially coming back from a goal down and it gave everyone a quality feeling.
“I thought we battered them second half, the first 45 minutes were quite even, we just kept calm and carried on going to get the right result in the end.
“We just had to stay calm after going behind and that’s what was said at half time. It was important we didn’t think that was it, just got out and do what we did to win the game.”
As well as Worthing’s two goals, Omar Bugiel saw a first half strike come back out of a post, while Dawes’ late effort was well saved by Daggers goalkeeper Mark Cousins late on.
With two-leagues separating the teams and Daggers a Football League team last season, Dawes was a little surprised by Dagenham on the day.
He added: “I think we’ve played better teams in our league this season and I’d say our game against Dulwich Hamlet early this year was tougher than that one. I think they may be struggling a little bit but everyone of us were class.”
The draw for the second round of this year’s competition was made yesterday with Worthing handed a home tie against National League outfit Sutton United.
Sutton were promoted as National League South champions last term and Worthing joint-boss Gary Elphick is expecting a tough test.
He said: “They’ve taken a few by surprise this season and having a 3G pitch aswell, they won’t be too daunted at coming down.
“We’ll have to be at our best to get through but after the win in the last round, who knows what could happen.”
The tie is due to take place at Woodside Road on Saturday, January 14.
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