Whitehawk are in the draw for the Third Round of the Emirates FA Cup after Jordan Rose headed home an equaliser deep into stoppage time to force a replay against Dagenham & Redbridge.
After Jamie Cureton gave the League Two hosts an early lead, the Hawks responded and got the least they deserved in the fifth minute of added time when substitute Rose headed in Sam Deering’s cross as the Hawks continue to rewrite the club’s 70-year history.
An ecstatic Steve King said after the game: “It’s nothing more than we deserved. We scored a perfectly good goal as well which was disallowed, so we had to do it the hard way.
“I am so pleased for Jordan. He has been out of the game for two years with a broken leg and has come back and scored four or five goals from centre-half.
“We said get up there and get another goal, and he did.”
The Hawks got off to the worst start possible when the hosts went in front just four minutes in. Joss Labadie did well to fire a ball into the area, and Jamie Cureton was given too much space inside the area and he made no mistake from seven yards.
Craig Ross was then at his best to turn Labadie’s fierce free kick from 25 yards over the bar, with the ball looking destined for the top corner, before Danny Mills had the first shot on target for the Hawks with 34 minutes on the clock, but keeper Mark Cousins was equal to it.
The Hawks then came so close to drawing level five minutes before the break. Sam Deering’s free kick picked out Dean Leacock in the centre, whose header came back off the bar. Arnaud Mendy then rose highest to the rebound, and headed in, but was ruled out for offside by the linesman. However, replays show that in fact Jake Robinson was offside, who was judged to have been involved in play.
The Hawks started the second half well, and some great play from Robinson played through Mills, but the striker could only fire well over the bar on the volley.
Injuries looked to have hampered the Hawks – but it proved to be a blessing in disguise. Rose was introduced after Paul Lorraine limped off, weeks after coming back from a long-term injury himself, after Juan Cruz Gotta had to replace Dean Leacock, who also hobbled off in the early stages of the second period.
Despite their dominant play, chances were again at a premium, but Mendy missed one of the clearest chances of the half when Dave Martin whipped in a great cross to the far post, but Mendy couldn’t hit the target with a volley which went wide of the near post.
Martin was again causing problems after his introduction from the substitute bench, and his ball in picked out Mills at the far post, but unmarked, couldn’t find the target with his diving header.
As the game entered its closing stages, the Hawks – who are two leagues below Dagenham – resumed control of possession, and it looked like they would find an equaliser… but time was running out.
With four minutes of added time signalled by the fourth official, the Hawks came so close to drawing level with two minutes left. Sam Deering whipped in a ball from the right, but no one was able to get that decisive touch to put the ball into the net – the ball running just past the far post.
Then, in the final moments of a cracking cup tie, Whitehawk got the equaliser they fully deserved. The Daggers couldn’t clear a ball into the area – and Sergio Torres, rather than shoot, played the ball out to Deering, who kept his cool to deliver another great cross. A sea of pink shirts swarmed the hosts penalty area, and it was Rose who met the cross with a bullet header to find the top corner, and give the Enclosed Ground outfit a replay – the least they deserved for a great performance having gone behind.
Goalscorer Rose said after the game: “I can’t put the feeling into words. It’s amazing.
“Just before I scored I had a chance when the ball rolled across goal when I should have been there, so I thought that was it.
“But we got one more chance and made it count.
“Once you see your name in that draw, it makes the replay so much more important. We will give them a real game at our place and hopefully we can do it there.”
Dagenham manager Wayne Burnett was also full of praise for the Hawks, with the replay scheduled the week commencing December 14, with a date to be confirmed.
He said: “Whitehawk got everything they deserved. They were better than us in the second half.”