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Dartford manager Steve King on Maidstone league defeat and Cray Wanderers FA Trophy tie

Steve King admitted Dartford’s display at Maidstone last weekend was the worst under his tenure – but he can’t afford to dwell on it.

The Darts were humbled 4-0 at the Gallagher as Maidstone gained a measure of revenge having been knocked out of the FA Cup by King’s side earlier in the season.

Dartford defender Connor Essam is closed down by Maidstone's Jack Barham last weekend. Picture: Steve Terrell
Dartford defender Connor Essam is closed down by Maidstone's Jack Barham last weekend. Picture: Steve Terrell

Manager King had no problems with the result but admitted his side had a “bad day at the office”.

“I’m very disappointed in our performance, it’s probably the worst since I’ve been at the club,” he stated. “They normally come around once a year or once in two years in our case.

“Maidstone deserved to win the game, I’ve no problems with that, but I look at our own house first and as a group we weren’t good enough.

“It’s our first defeat in eight games, it was a bad day at the office. I don’t dwell on it, it’s done and you can’t do anything about it. We have to forget it and move on.

“I’d take another run of one defeat in eight games, it’s just the magnitude of the defeat. Some of the goals were fortunate in that deflections went straight to them, the third goal was going straight to our keeper and it flicks a defender.

“The last 15 minutes we should have scored three or four goals but all that would have done was to smokescreen the game. I’m always honest in my assessment, good, bad or indifferent.

“I didn’t need to have a go at them after the game, I could see the disappointment on their faces – they already knew.

“We’re happy with where we are but we’ve got some tough games coming up.”

It was the first time Dartford had conceded four goals since King was appointed manager in October 2019.

Darts get a welcome break from National League South action when they visit Isthmian Premier Cray Wanderers in the FA Trophy this Saturday.

The Wands are managed by former Gillingham and Ebbsfleet forward Danny Kedwell, with Andy Drury – who played for King at Lewes – his assistant boss.

They’ve got Darts midfielder Cameron Brodie on loan, although he can’t feature against his parent club.

“I know Danny Kedwell well and Andy Drury even better, I’ve known him for 20 years from where he played for me,” said King.

“He was a great player for me and got his move into the Football League. We speak every week and always talk about football, I try to help and he leans on my experience.

“Cameron Brodie has done well for them. I went to watch them against Horsham last Wednesday and he was the best player on the pitch, but he can’t play against us.

“I know their group has got capabilities. They beat Ebbsfleet in the round before so they must have something about them.

“They’ve got experienced players like Chris Dickson, Anthony Cook and Jai Reason. The boy Jamie Yila is a dangerous player so we, 100 per cent, won’t be under-estimating them.

“We’re a wounded animal after Saturday so we need to step our game up.”

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