Published: 08:00, 11 April 2014
Winning goalscorer Max Cornhill risked losing his job by playing for Dartford on Thursday night.
Cornhill, a fashion designer, should have been in Amsterdam on a work trip while the Darts were playing Grimsby Town in Skrill Premier.
Even on the morning of the game, Darts boss Tony Burman wasn't expecting to have Cornhill available. But the midfielder found a way to be at Princes Park - and he then scored the winner as Dartford beat the Mariners 1-0 to move within a point of safety.
Burman said: "He’s probably nearly lost his job tonight. He wasn’t going to be playing, he should have been in Holland today. I’d like to thank his boss, whoever he might be, because it was touch and go. Up until this morning (Thursday), he wasn’t going to be playing.
"He’s pulled some favours in, he’s managed to play and I’m really pleased for him. It’s one of those things where he’s planned that he might be out of the country on a Thursday night so he’s back on the Friday and unfortunately the game’s been rescheduled. It was difficult for him to get out.
"I’m pleased for him because all that effort he’s put in, trying to get out of work, to get that reward is great."
Cornhill's goal was his sixth since the turn of the year and it followed his 81st-minute winner in a 2-1 victory over Macclesfield last month. But there was a real story behind this strike.
He said: "I had a work trip booked, which was booked months in advance. I had to speak to my boss and cancel. It was to Amsterdam for the day, so I've had to rework that to go onto the following week instead of this week.
"It was touch and go. Tony was texting me, and - thankfully - my boss was kind enough to let me re-work the flights. Thankfully I’ve turned up and come up with the winner. I couldn’t have asked for anything more."
His tale epitomised the challenge Dartford's part-time players face in a league full of full-time clubs.
Cornhill said: "It’s a massive commitment. You work from 9 to 5.30 and some boys work in the City. With my job, I’ve got other parts where I travel, so it’s not as easy as some of the others. It is hard work but you do it because you love football.
"It’s worth it to play in front of crowds and to play in this league. When you score goals and they turn out to be winners, that’s all you can ask."
Burman also revealed the defender Mat Mitchel-King had missed a funeral to play on Thursday night, while midfielder Lee Noble, who had an excellent game, was "playing through the pain barrier."
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