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Dartford FC goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim scored the winner at Chippenham Town

By Steve Tervet

Goalscoring keeper Deren Ibrahim admits Dartford's players have let their new managers down.

Ibrahim's extraordinary strike from inside his own half fired Darts to a 2-1 win at Chippenham on Saturday and lifted them to 13th in National League South.

They've made an indifferent start since Jamie Coyle and Adam Flanagan were brought in to replace the long-serving Tony Burman in May but Ibrahim felt they turned a corner in Wiltshire.

Deren Ibrahim launches the ball forward at Chippenham Picture: Richard Chappell
Deren Ibrahim launches the ball forward at Chippenham Picture: Richard Chappell

He said: "That was the best performance we've had. We've tried to do a few different things but today was a real hard-working Dartford performance and that's what the managers deserve.

"I don't think the players have been good enough for them since they've come in. We've let them down on occasions.

"They are Dartford people, they know how much it means and last week (losing 4-1 at Oxford City in the FA Cup) was a massive disappointment.

"Coming here, we needed a reaction because if we played like that again, it could have been a lot worse.

"The warm-up was good, everything about the day was good and we deserved the win."

This was Dartford's first league win on the road since the opening day of the season and the music was pumping out of the away dressing-room after the game.

"I just said in there, 'is that what winning feels like?'" Ibrahim said. "Everything's been a bit slow.

"There's been a lot of turnaround and new ideas so we weren't ever going to hit the heights of last season and the sooner people remembered that... A lot of people realised that at the start but it has been disappointing.

"Today showed we are capable of getting results in this league and still competing.

Elliot Bradbrook (16) watches as Chippenham keeper Brad House is caught out by Deren Ibrahim's long kick Picture: Richard Chappell
Elliot Bradbrook (16) watches as Chippenham keeper Brad House is caught out by Deren Ibrahim's long kick Picture: Richard Chappell

"We're Dartford Football Club, we're not just going to accept being a mid-table side.

"I've been here 11 years and even in the Conference, you go out trying to win every game and playing to the best of your ability."

Nine of the 16 players in Dartford's matchday squad at Chippenham have joined the club since the end of last season.

Ibrahim said: "Over the years, we've always had the same sort of players and we bring one or two in. This year it's been totally the opposite, we've had three or four stay and we've had to bring everyone else in.

"We bond off the pitch. In the changing-rooms it's great, everyone gets on, but on the pitch you've got to build relationships.

"Some people have only played three or four game together so you don't have the full understanding of, say, the Ryan Hayes and Danny Harris combination, and people don't realise that.

"But everyone is going in the right direction at this football club.

"Coylie, Flan and Youngy (goalkeeping coach Andrew Young) have come in and they've brought fresh ideas.

"It wasn't pretty at times on Saturday but when you read the paper, it's going to be a Dartford win and no-one cares how you got there."

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