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How Steve King's chat with Darren McQueen led to Dartford's equaliser against Maidstone

Steve King’s pep-talk with Darren McQueen paid off as the Dartford substitute grabbed a late equaliser against Maidstone.

McQueen was left out of the starting XI but King explained the reasons and told him he could still have an impact on the game.

Dartford striker Darren McQueen Picture: Phil Lee
Dartford striker Darren McQueen Picture: Phil Lee

His words came to fruition with the speedy striker scoring an 89th-minute leveller as the hosts came from two down to draw.

Boss King said: “I said to Darren McQueen before the game, you’re not starting but you can come on and make a difference. He was fine, good as gold.

“If his attitude wasn’t right when he came on he doesn’t score that goal. I said that to him and he said ‘yeah, yeah, you’re right’.

“When you’re out the team, you do your bit to get back in the team. I’m pretty much like that.

“The keeper’s made a great save from the first shot and Darren’s jumped up for the rebound and put it under his body and we deserved that for our endeavour.

“Subs play an important role. If you’re out of it, you can still be in it and be the hero.

“Some people don’t buy into that but you’ve got to let your players know, you’re not in the team because of this but you can still come on.”

Tom Bonner launched Dartford’s fightback by finishing a corner in the 86th minute and Maidstone were rocking after McQueen made it 2-2.

“Another five minutes and I think we might have got the winner,” said King.

Dartford manager Steve King Picture: Andy Jones
Dartford manager Steve King Picture: Andy Jones

“If we hadn’t got anything from that game I’d have been devastated because we more than deserved to win that, in my opinion.

“People can say we were 2-0 down but we had chance after chance and we’ve got to get on the end of those crosses - there’s three that have rolled along the line.

“I said before the game a point wouldn’t be bad.

“That was me and my coach talking because we’ve just come in and Maidstone are full-time, they’re well-established and on a good run.

“For us, it’s all new and we’re trying to put together a group that can get that consistency of win, win, win.

“I don’t expect us to be there yet but what I am seeing is fight, willingness to do what they’re asked and a group that are coming together.

“People will go home happy. It was a bit dire for the first 20 minutes, cancelling each other out, but we started to get on top in the last 10 minutes of the first half and flashed a couple of things across goal.

“It’s a horrible feeling when you’re 2-0 down and it’s a local derby because your fans are having to accept what theirs are giving them but to get two back, we send them home happy.”

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