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Dartford manager Steve King reacts to 1-0 loss at Ebbsfleet United in National League South

Dartford boss Steve King was left to rue his team’s poor finishing after their narrow defeat at Ebbsfleet.

King felt the Darts created the better chances in a keenly-contested National League South derby at Stonebridge Road.

Dartford manager Steve King. Picture: Keith Gillard (53043397)
Dartford manager Steve King. Picture: Keith Gillard (53043397)

But they slipped to fifth in the table, five points behind leaders Maidstone with a game in hand, after substitute Ben Chapman’s late winner for the hosts.

“I thought it was a good game,” said King. “I thought we were the better side in terms of the chances we had.

“I think we had the clear-cut chances. They looked pleasing on the eye and are good on the ball, their rotation and movement is good and they’re a full-time outfit with good energy but we didn’t deserve to lose that football match.

“Jake Robinson should score in the first half – that’s food and drink for him - Tyrique Hyde’s chance, Connor Essam with the header and Dan Roberts (shot over).

“Connor had a great chance, three or four yards out at the far post. They got their points, I don’t think they deserved them but they got their points and we have to wait for the rematch now.”

Ebbsfleet’s full-time status gave them an extra edge fitness-wise in a game that was played at a ferocious pace throughout.

King changed his system to three at the back in a bid to keep Fleet strikers Rakish Bingham and Dominic Poleon quiet, and it was going to plan until Chapman found space late on to score the winner.

“We created chances but it showed that we only train for three hours a week, in terms of their athleticism to get around the pitch,” noted the Dartford boss, who also felt his team had good claims for two penalties in the first half.

“We defended brilliantly, changed the shape and to a man they were fantastic. The only time they cut us open was when they scored and that’s disappointing to lose the game in the 85th minute.

“They’ve got two good forwards that are a handful but we dealt with them, everything they threw at us the three at the back defended well and stood up to it. It was a sickener to concede so late when we didn’t deserve to lose.

“Crowds can see when you try and our fans know we didn’t deserve to lose the match, they clapped the players off and if you give that commitment then the fans will accept it. They were out on their feet at the end. It’s a 1-0 defeat and we’ve got to go again.

“We’re not getting the rub of the green at the moment and we deserve a bit more but it’s not for the want of trying. The guys gave everything and deserved something from the match.

“They train every single day and have time to work on patterns and shapes. I don’t think they really hurt us, we defended magnificently and we’ve had the better chances. We didn’t take the chances and that’s the difference.

“We’ve lost three league games one-nil. We’ve got no divine right to beat Ebbsfleet, a full-time club at home who are doing so well. There’s nothing between these games - there’s more twists and turns to come.”

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