Torquay manager Alan Knill hailed the fighting spirit of his 10 men after they twice came from behind against Dagenham to clinch a valuable 2-2 draw in the fight against relegation.

Knill's team had the worst possible start at the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Stadium when defender Aaron Downes was sent-off for a third-minute foul on Abu Ogogo - Medy Elito netting the resulting penalty.

But the Gulls showed their battling qualities as Notts County loan recruit Joss Labadie equalised with 19 minutes remaining.

Josh Scott put the hosts ahead again in the 85th minute, but experienced striker Rene Howe held his nerve under pressure to slot home an 89th-minute spot-kick after Luke Wilkinson was penalised for a foul on Lloyd Macklin.

"We never stopped battling right until the end," said Knill. "We left ourselves with a mountain to climb but the longer the game went on and they didn't manage to score a second goal, the better the chance we had of getting something from the match.

"To be honest we could have won it in, especially because of the way we played in the second half. Nobody wants to go down to 10 men but the lads really stuck at it and, after a chat at half-time, I've got to say I was really proud of all of them."

Dagenham interim boss Wayne Burnett was left frustrated as his side failed to seal victory in favourable circumstances.

"I'm disappointed we didn't win, you'd expect us to when they went down to 10 men," he said. "But it's not as easy as that because the opposition can get bodies behind the ball and make it difficult for you.

"However, we were ahead and we needed that second goal to kill off the game. We didn't get it and that meant they were always in the match, even though they only had 10 men.

"We played well but they played in the second half and had some good chances. It's just a shame we couldn't kill off the game and get the three points."