TWO goals in the concluding ten minutes left Solihull Moors boss Liam McDonald pondering what could’ve been as former Football League outfit Dagenham and Redbridge salvaged a point on Saturday afternoon.
Following a crushing 5-2 home defeat against the Essex side at home in September – which remains Moors’ biggest defeat in the Vanamara National League this season – the visiting side were keen to make amends in the return fixture.
Just three Solihull players from that game in September made the starting 11 on Saturday, as McDonald handed debuts to Joel Kettle and Simeon Maye.
Moors made the perfect start to Saturday’s game as in-form striker Harry White opened his account after less than three minutes when he picked up a loose ball from outside the box to fire a shot into the bottom right corner.
Travelling fans were delighted when Omari Sterling James doubled Solihull’s lead on 19 minutes when he collected Connor Franklin’s pass from 25 yards out to release a powerful shot into the top left hand corner.
Pressure on the Dagenham and Redbridge defence continued to grow as Liam Daly went close with the second of two back-to-back corners.
However just moments later, home keeper Justham spilled a fierce drive from White – the ball falling perfectly into the feet of Jack Bryne who hammered home a third goal.
With Dagenham and Redbridge keen not to suffer from a heavy pre-Christmas home defeat, John Still’s side regrouped as Scott Doe clawed one back from the home side following a free kick on 34 minutes.
Three minutes prior to the interval, the hosts bagged another – this time Hyde finishing off a simple tap in to further reduce to deficit to just one goal.
Striker Harry White bagged his second of the game shortly into the second half when a long ball out of defence provided an ideal opportunity for the young forward – who made no mistake in completing Moors’ fourth goal.
Though six goals had been struck, the real drama hadn’t yet started.
With seven minutes left, Moors gave away a free kick in a similar position to which Dagenham and Redbridge converted from to earn their first goal.
Whitely put in a powerful shot and keeper Lewis was unable to hang on, dropping the ball into the feet of Hawkins who made it 4-3.
Manager Liam McDonald replaced Sterling James with Eddie Jones after 84 minutes, but Dagenham almost immediately got their equaliser following the change as Gutteridge fed Whitely a ball into the six-yard box – leaving Lewis with no chance.
The two goals within the space of 120 seconds left Moors on the back foot, however they managed to play out the concluding eight minutes to earn a hard-fought point.
Moors are now 16th in the Vanamara National League, seven points above the relegation zone.
Next up for the Moors is a home tie against Chester on Boxing Day, kick-off at 3pm for the final game of the year.