Dartford boss Tony Burman hails his side's spirit and belief after their 3-3 draw with Skrill Premier title hopefuls Cambridge United
Tony Burman watches on from his technical area (Pic: Andy Payton)
Dartford boss Tony Burman praised the character of his players after they fought back to draw 3-3 with Cambridge United on Saturday.
In front of the biggest crowd at Princes Park this season - 2,023 - the Darts recovered from a disastrous start by producing the sort of gutsy display which under-pinned their superb eighth-placed finish last term.
They turned the game on its head and led 3-2 before Cambridge, who had a penalty saved, scored late to rescue a point.
Burman, whose side had lost their last five home games in the Skrill Premier, was smiling at full-time.
He said: "After going 2-0 down in 15 minutes, I’ve got to give my guys a lot of credit, to fight back and get it back to 2-2 before half-time. We were playing against a very good side – they’re not up in the top-two for nothing – but the spirit and the fight and the belief were back. I’m really pleased.
"When you take the lead like we did, at home especially, you think it’s going to go for you. Then (there was) the penalty save. But we were up against a good team. You can’t take your foot off the pedal for one moment and a set-play has been the end of us in respect of winning the game.
"It was end-to-end and it was all good stuff. Yes, I wanted three points, but I’ll settle for one against a team like that."
Burman watched in horror as on-loan Portsmouth striker Ryan Bird punished a mix-up between Kenny Clark and Alan Julian for the first goal inside 90 seconds, before out-muscling Lee Burns and Mat Mitchel-King to complete a quickfire double on his Cambridge debut.
"We shouldn’t be starting like that in the first 15 minutes," Burman said. "Alright, there’s a little bit of good fortune they’ve had, with it coming off Kenny’s back, but for the second goal we’ve got bullied out of it.
"There were one or two of them out there who weren’t really at the races for the first 15 (minutes) but they came back and they dug in and by the end of the half, they were back on level terms."
Goals from Elliot Bradbrook and Max Cornhill dragged Dartford level and then a stunning Danny Harris half-volley, into the top corner from the edge of the box, put them in front for the first time.
Burman said: "It was a wonder goal, a great goal.
"You think on that and the penalty save, you’re thinking it’s your day, but it wasn’t to be. We all wanted three points but I’m not disheartened because we were playing against a real good side.
"I’m just pleased we’ve got something out of the game and we haven’t - in the last couple of minutes - lost it."
Dartford host Dover in the Kent Senior Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday night.
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