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Dartford FC boss Tony Burman explains his selection against Hungerford Town

By Steve Tervet

Tony Burman has explained his tactical thinking after Dartford were held to a goalless draw at home on the first day of the National League South season.

Burman picked Danny Harris and Tom Murphy to play up front in a 4-4-2 formation against Hungerford Town, leaving Warren Mfula - his only fit centre-forward - on the bench.

Mfula, the former AFC Croydon Athletic player who impressed on trial during pre-season, came off the bench to make his debut in the second half on a day when Dartford were missing first-choice strikers Andy Pugh and Duane Ofori-Acheampong through injury.

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Tony Burman watches Dartford take on Hungerford Picture: Andy Payton
Tony Burman watches Dartford take on Hungerford Picture: Andy Payton

Harris spent most of last season at right-back while Murphy often plays on the wing but Burman felt they were the best men for the job under the circumstances.

He said: "We've always had players we feel can play in different positions.

"Losing Pughy, it opened things up for Danny to go up there. He's been playing right-back and playing well but he can play up front as well.

"I wanted to get legs up there with Danny and Murph, who could put their two defenders under pressure, and I think it worked.

"We know they're not the out-and-out strikers we want but sometimes the first game of the season you need people who are experienced and who will work their socks off for us and still be going at the end of the game - which they were.

"We do (miss the strikers) but having said that, all the players have done ever so well.

"In pre-season the results don't really matter but we kept organised. Today we've been organised again, which is a good thing that's come out of the pre-season games.

"We've kept a clean sheet, which I'm really pleased about.

Tom Murphy (pictured) led the line with Danny Harris Picture: Andy Payton
Tom Murphy (pictured) led the line with Danny Harris Picture: Andy Payton

"When they broke on us, we still had the legs in there. They played with three people in there and it's difficult for the two but we played a closer four across the middle of the park, which we've looked at from last year.

"We miss the excitement sometimes of people going forward in wide positions but last year, sometimes, that cost us dearly with the defensive responsibility. It's something I've looked at and I'm happy with what we've got at the moment.

"There's some options there for us to do with formations and the way players are. I'm happy that we've got a point but disappointed we haven't won the game."

Dartford had plenty of the ball on Saturday but visiting keeper Lewis Ward had little to do.

"I'm pleased with the result to a certain extent," Burman said. "We haven't lost the game and we've kept a clean sheet on the positive side but from some of our set pieces, we've got clear headers to hit the target and we've put the ball over. That's from various people. On the day, it was probably a fair result.

"The guys have had a go. They've not been overrun.

"I just felt on our set pieces, our corners, we got good contact with the ball with some headers and they should have been on target. But it's the start of the season.

"If we get headers like we have done, they should be putting them in. That'll tell, come the end of the month."

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