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Dartford caretaker boss Tony Burman on a much-needed 2-1 National League South win at Dover Athletic

Caretaker manager Tony Burman admitted the pressure was on Dartford after they earned a much-needed derby win at Dover on Saturday.

The Darts collected their first National League South success since Burman temporarily replaced ex-boss Alan Dowson last month, beating bottom side Dover 2-1 through captain Luke Coulson’s late penalty and a goal on his first league start for Academy product Olly Box.

First-half Dartford scorer Olly Box is closed down during their 2-1 National League South win at Dover on Saturday. Picture: Randolph File
First-half Dartford scorer Olly Box is closed down during their 2-1 National League South win at Dover on Saturday. Picture: Randolph File

It was a result which ended a five-game losing league streak for Dartford and saw them claim a first National League South win since Boxing Day.

Burman said: “I’m just pleased for all the supporters and the players.

“The pressure was really on them today, with the defeats that we have had in recent games.

“But we kept telling them that we have played reasonably well in those games and just been punished for the mistakes that happened, and we have got to get out of the rut we were in.

“It would have been nice to keep a clean sheet - that wasn’t to be - but we kept going and, fortunately for us, we won.”

Report: Dover 1-2 Dartford

A deflected goal from teenage midfielder Box was enough to ensure the Darts were ahead at the interval.

“I’d have been delighted with two - but I thought we did play well in the first half,” reflected Burman, who gave King’s Lynn loanee defender Tom Clifford his debut in place of the injured Sam Odaudu.

“I felt we didn’t press them enough in the second half, which caused us some problems, and that allowed their wide players in. That’s something I feel we need to stop.

“Having said that, they hit the crossbar in the second half and we had some crosses, which we should have had someone on the end of.

“I’m just absolutely delighted for everyone involved in the club.”

The result means Dartford are now eight points clear of the bottom four while basement boys Dover are 12 points adrift of safety.

“It’s a massive win,” Burman noted. “We’re two big clubs in Kent and we’re at the wrong end of the table - for whatever reason.

“We’re all disappointed that we find ourselves in this situation. Having said that, it was just important we stopped the rot. All the players deserve a lot of credit.

“They kept going, listened to us and the supporters were brilliant for us today. Hopefully, they’re a little bit happier - at least for a couple of days!”

Burman, 65, first took charge of the Darts in the 1990s and is now in a fourth stint in charge.

On managing modern-day players, he revealed: “It’s changed. Players have changed. I’m, obviously, a little bit ring-rusty and I’ll stick to my ways and the way that I want to be. But I think I might have learnt some of the modern-day stuff with the Academy.

“Having said that, sometimes you cannot beat putting the ball in the channel. If you have to do it, you have to do it.

“If you have someone up there - like we have at the moment in Elliott (Romain) - maybe they can get a throw-in. It’s called ‘a long pass’ now and has got credibility! But I think we are playing more football than we had been.”

Co-chairman Steve Irving revealed the club are edging closer to appointing a new full-time boss earlier in the week.

But, ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Slough and the start of three games at Princes Park as they host financially-troubled Taunton next weekend, Burman said: “I think the chairman wants to always put us under pressure to do things.

“He keeps putting these things in the paper and putting us under pressure to see what we can do!

“But I’ve said I’m quite happy to continue until the end of the season. Having said that, it’s all well and good when you win the game - but, when you’re losing, it’s difficult. There’s pressure to bring someone in.

“But we’ve got to be careful not to just bring someone in who might not be the right choice in the end.”

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