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Dartford manager Steve King on 2-2 draw with Welling in National League South

Frustrated Dartford manager Steve King was left to rue a glaring miss by Elliott Romain in the derby with Welling on Saturday.

Leaders Darts came from 2-0 down to claim a point against National League South’s bottom side – but it should have been all three after Romain missed a close-range header in the last 20 minutes.

Dartford forward Elliott Romain. Picture: Andy Jones (44297023)
Dartford forward Elliott Romain. Picture: Andy Jones (44297023)

“Elliott Romain has to score that at the back post,” stated King. “It’s harder to miss that than score – he was three yards out.

“I felt I could have scored that at the end, I don’t believe he missed that – it’s two dropped points.

“We didn’t play nowhere near our levels. I thought first half we were atrocious, even then we had two great chances and Charlie Sheringham went through one-on-one and I expected him to finish that.

“We were nowhere near the races, it was a poor goal to concede. I thought Dan Wilks should have saved it as well, it almost pee-rolled into the bottom corner.

“I had a right go at half-time, I had to take Connor Essam off, he would have been sent-off and should have been sent-off in the first half.

“(Substitute) Josh Hill was caught cold with a ball over the top, he should head it before it bounces and gives away a penalty. We got back to 2-2 and were all over them, there was only going to be one winner.”

King gave his former side credit as Welling looked well organised under new manager Steve Lovell. The ex-Gills boss had clearly used the past fortnight to work on his team’s shape and organisation.

The Dartford manager knew what to expect – and King admitted he changed his formation at the last moment.

“I knew what they were playing,” said King. “They almost played a block through the middle but the width should have been down the outside.

“We toyed with playing a different system, with playing two wingers and then we thought if they played four in the middle, we would be outnumbered 4v2 so we went with three in there. But I didn’t think it was right.

“I changed the team just before we had a team meeting, I had one team in my head and I changed it. Listen, hindsight is a wonderful thing. I’m not saying we would have won it with the other system but I saw where they were frail and we started to cut them open, and that was the wider areas when Jacob started running at them. With them narrow through the middle, we should have (made more of) the wider areas.

“But give Welling some credit, they put a team together and the manager’s first game so you know what’s going to happen there, they are going to try even harder to keep their shirt and stay at the club.

“I thought they gave a good account of themselves. For me, how we didn’t win the game in the end was very disappointing.”

King was left frustrated by his team’s failure to push on in the final 25 minutes to secure the three points.

“We had 25 minutes to score the winner,” he added. “That’s the disappointing thing for me.

“I thought we looked knackered and the centre of the pitch looked open and they could counter attack us easy. There was one time Lionel Ainsworth went through us, we were trying to catch him and it looked like we were in quicksand.

“I don’t think the stop-start does anybody any favours. It’s the same for everybody I suppose.

“We may have got the shape a little bit wrong but we put a side out that we felt could win the match. It was a blessing that we got a point when at 2-0 down it looked like we wouldn’t get that.”

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