Matty Kosylo again played the part of super sub as he struck a 90th minute winner to seal FC Halifax Town’s place in the second round of the FA Cup with a 2-1 victory over 10-man Dagenham and Redbridge.
Kosylo scored after coming off the bench against Kidderminster on Saturday, and did so again here to set-up a second round trip to Eastleigh.
Tom Denton had given Town the lead before Corey Whitely looked to have sent the game into extra-time with an equaliser before Kosylo’s dramatic intervention.
He can come off the bench more often.
Dagenham had suffered their heaviest defeat since February 2012 on Saturday, losing 5-0 to Neil Aspin’s Gateshead, and you could see why here.
The Daggers were besieged by The Shaymen from the start, and didn’t look enthused in the slightest by the carrot of a trip to Swindon or Eastleigh in round two.
Town started the first-half like they began the second-half on Saturday - quick tempo, lots of urgency and plenty of shots at goal.
Most of them were disallowed for varying reasons, with a rising Alex Simmons volley billowing the net only for play to be called back after less than a minute, to the bemusement of the home crowd.
Alex Simmons brought a good save from Mark Cousins with a low drive from 20 yards before David Lynch forced an even better stop from the keeper with a fierce shot inside the area.
Bemusement turned to ire when Denton’s header from Josh Macdonald’s cross was ruled out for offside.
Macdonald, giving left-back Frankie Raymond a torrid time, then struck just off-target from distance as Halifax swarmed over their opponents.
The sense of deja vu for Dagenham must have been palpable; Gateshead can’t have been much better than this three days previously.
If Billy Heath sensed any vulnerability about Dagenham after Saturday, his team was going in for the kill.
Heath had been wary about John Still’s side coming out “all guns blazing”, but Dagenham were the ones under heavy fire.
Jordan Sinnott was chief orchestrator, producing some superb passes, while Macdonald’s certainly wasn’t playing like a man who came off in the first-half at the weekend with a toe injury.
Inevitably, Town’s intensity levels tapered off as the half progressed, but they were still the more incisive attacking force, with Simmonds and Liam King both working Cousins with shots at goal.
Dagenham did come into the game though, with Scott Garner producing a magnificent tackle on Luke Guttridge as he raced clear on goal, and Steve Drench saving well from Whitely’s inventive rising shot from an acute angle.
The only gripe from the opening-half had been that Town hadn’t converted their dominance into a goal, but that finally changed when Denton fired in a brilliant volley on the stretch 15 yards out after a wayward Dagenham header clear. And it definitely wasn’t offside.
Simmons showed admirable persistence to keep in a ball that everyone else had given up on, and it eventually found Sinnott on the edge of the box, but Cousins again produced an excellent save from his powerful shot.
If it hadn’t been for the Dagenham keeper, the visitors could have been 5-0 down again; perhaps he should have started in that game as well.
Top-scorer Hawkins, presumably being deployed at centre-back to try and counteract the equally tall Denton, flashed a shot just wide shortly before half-time.
If that was the plan, it didn’t work, as Denton was as effective as ever; any attempts to stop him require a step-ladder and at least six defenders.
After a far more serene start to the second-half, Town were given a golden opportunity to pretty much finish the job as, like on Saturday, they were awarded a penalty and the chance to play most of the second 45 against 10-men.
Hawkins was the man to go for wgat looked like a push as Simmons latched on to Macdonald’s outstanding through ball just inside the area, but only after the referee was persuaded to do so by some determined flag-waving by the linesman.
But, like on Saturday, Halifax missed the resulting penalty. Sinnott took over spot-kick duties from Liam King but his effort was too close to Cousins, who parried it away.
Now it was Town with deja vu.
Heath had rued the fact that Town hadn’t pressed home their man advantage against Kidderminster on Saturday, and that was the case again, with Town a shadow of the side they were before the break, offering little in attack other than Kosylo’s volley straight at Cousins.
And Dagenham finally showed a glimpse of their National League quality to equalise when Whitely finished smartly across Drench from a tight angle following a lovely through ball.
Cousins saved comfortably again from Kosylo with 10 minutes to go, but Dagenham were playing better with 10-men than they had at any point with 11.
Denton headed agonisingly wide from Macdonald’s cross as extra-time loomed, but Kosylo produced a stunning low shot into the far corner in the last minute of normal time.
Halifax: Drench, Roberts, Garner, Hotte, Wilde, Macdonald, Lynch, King, Sinnott (Hibbs 73), Simmons (Kosylo 67), Denton. Subs not used: Nicholson, Moyo, Barrows, Peniket.
Scorers: Denton (34), Kosylo (90)
Shots on target: 8
Shots off target: 5
Dagenham: Cousins, Widdowson, Doe, Raymond, Staunton, Hyde, Guttridge, Maguire-Drew (White 90), Whitely, Benson, Hawkins. Subs not used: Justham, Mitchell, Brown, Gordon, Mongoy.
Scorer: Whitely (73)
Shots on target: 4
Shots off target: 5
Town man of the match: Tom Denton
Referee: Thomas Bramall