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Dartford 1 Chippenham Town 1: Darts manager Steve King left bemused by controversial free-kick decision

ByCameron Hogwood

Dartford boss Steve King believes his side were worth more than just a point as they claimed a late draw at home to Chippenham Town on Saturday.

The hosts went behind in the 24th minute when Kieran Parselle turned home from close-range from a free-kick awarded against Tom Bonner for what had seemingly been a clean tackle.

Josh Hill's curling strike two minutes from time secured a point for Darts, however King was left scratching his head upon being told by the referee that he didn't think a free-kick should have been given ahead of the opener.

Dartford Manager Steve King. Picture: Andy Jones
Dartford Manager Steve King. Picture: Andy Jones

"We deserved to win the game, no question about that," said King.

"Their goal I was little bit upset about because it wasn't a free-kick on the far side, the referee even said it wasn't so why did he give it?

"He told me and their manager Mark (Collier) that it wasn't a free-kick, we've both looked at each other and laughed like 'how have you given it?' and then they've scored from it which is very frustrating.

"You work all week and then there's a poor decision.

"Other than that we limited them to very few chances and if we had come in 2-1 or 3-1 up at half-time it wouldn't have been unjust.

"Jordan Gibbons got down the wing and put two or three great balls in which we should have scored from, so I think we more than deserved something from the game, we should have won it in my opinion."

While disappointed not to take all three points, King was encouraged by further signs of the team adapting to his desired system and style of play in just his second full week at Princes Park.

"We've been here two minutes," added King.

"You can see the style we're trying to play, you can see we're passing the ball.

"We're keeping good possession of the ball and they'll get braver as it comes along, it's just that last little bit and that will come in time.

"That's not one game or two games, that's 10 games in when personnel starts changing a little bit and we buy into exactly what we're doing.

"The boys can't do anymore than what has been asked of them, I thought they applied themselves brilliantly today and bought into the way we're playing and what we want to do.

"They've got to be brave and they were brave, it would have been heartbreaking for them not to have got something from the game today."

Dartford's Josh Hill. Picture: Andy Jones
Dartford's Josh Hill. Picture: Andy Jones

Defender Hill, a first-half substitute for the injured Mark Onyemah, proved a surprise hero as he found the top corner late on having been pushed up top amid Dartford's search for an equaliser.

King underlined Hill's strike in his post-match team talk as something of a wake-up call for the club's front-men to find their scoring form.

He said: "I know Josh from last year at Welling so I know he's going to get his seven or eight goals a year.

"It's a great finish and that's four he's got now and he's the top scorer so I've put that out there really, the forwards have got to be scoring more goals.

"Those crosses that came in during the first half, we've got to be on the end of those. Three of them crosses from Jordan (Gibbons) were unbelievable."

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