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Dartford FC boss Tony Burman on their play-off first leg at Chelmsford City

By Steve Tervet

Dartford and Chelmsford meet for the fifth time this season on Wednesday night - and this game means more than any other.

Third-placed Darts head to Essex for the first leg of their National League South play-off semi-final buoyed by a dramatic 3-2 win at Poole on the final day of the regular season.

They're unbeaten in two trips to the Melbourne Stadium this season, drawing 1-1 there in the league in August before knocking Chelmsford out of the FA Cup in September.

Danny Harris in action during Dartford's 1-0 defeat at home to Chelmsford earlier this season Picture: Andy Payton
Danny Harris in action during Dartford's 1-0 defeat at home to Chelmsford earlier this season Picture: Andy Payton

City had their revenge with two 1-0 wins at Princes Park - in the FA Trophy in January and the return league match in February.

Burman said: "They’ve had some good results at our place and we’ve had some good results at their place to be fair.

"We feel that we were, in the home games in particular, a little bit unfortunate on the day not to get something from the games. We didn’t play poorly, we weren’t bad or anything like that, we felt we created enough chances and on another day, those chances will go in.

"Hopefully we can create the chances on Wednesday and Sunday and it goes our way.

"I’m really looking forward to the play-off games because we’ve achieved our goal and we’ve now got to cross the line again in the next couple of weeks."

That win at Poole lifted Dartford above Chelmsford to third in the final table, giving them home advantage in Sunday's second leg.

Burman said: "I feel we thoroughly deserve what we’ve got from the season so far. I know we’ve pipped Chelmsford at the post for third position but I think we deserve that.

Dartford boss Tony Burman Picture: Andy Payton
Dartford boss Tony Burman Picture: Andy Payton

"Our target at the start of the season was to average two points per game and to get 84 points, bang on the target, is brilliant. To do what we’ve done each month, we’ve chalked it off on the board and we’ve got the target. It’s brilliant and I’m pleased for the players.

"They’ve come through a little bit of a dip, where things haven’t gone quite right for them.

"I’ve got 16 players and I wanted to use them in the build-up. It’s no point having 16 players if you don’t think they’re good enough for your first XI. We’ve managed to give people games who I needed to give games where we hadn’t had midweek games.

"It’s been Saturday-Saturday and I’ve got to make sure the team are right going into the play-offs. I feel we’ve done things right."

The win at Poole was Dartford's first away from home since February 11.

Burman said: "We’ve had a blip where we’ve still created chances but haven’t put the chances in. The results, in some of the games, have not gone our way but we’ve come through that and that’s full credit to the players.

"When you look at the gap between us and Poole now, it’s 13 points and that’s how well we’ve done in the last few weeks. I’m really pleased about it."

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