Published: 05:00, 16 January 2022
Dartford boss Steve King didn’t care how his team reached the last 16 of the FA Trophy.
After a dominant first half display which saw Darts lead through another Jack Jebb special, the home side were clinging on at times in the second half against Weymouth.
The visitors had enough chances to take the tie to penalties but found keeper Dan Wilks on top form again.
“One thing I’ll never do is dress anything up, I just think we were hanging on for dear life,” admitted King.
“You can only ever get through, it doesn’t matter how you get through, just get through. Good teams have gone out this weekend but we’re still in there.
“They put us under more and more pressure. Losing Noor Husin to injury was a big contribution to the team because of his energy, he gets on the ball and makes things happen all over the pitch.
“We looked tired but we were playing against a full-time team who were 1-0 down, they left us one against one at the back.
“We dominated the first half and could have been two or three up. I think that’s as good as we’ve played for a long time in the first half. In the second half they had everything to gain, they threw bodies forward and overloaded us. They put us on the backfoot and Dan Wilks was outstanding.
“I feel disappointed because the first half performance was that good that I didn’t see the second half performance coming. We were nine out of ten and then five out of ten and hanging on at the end.”
It means Dartford are through to the fifth round, with King hoping for a home tie in Monday’s draw.
It’s also the first time the Darts boss has ever got this far in the competition but he insisted it’s far too early to talk about Wembley.
“This is the furthest I’ve ever been in 20 years,” said King. “Hopefully we can get a nice draw and continue that little run.
“We’re in the last 16 now - so we’re two games away from semi-finals. You don’t (think about Wembley), not yet - not until you’re there!
“We just take each game as it comes and see who we get in the next round. Everyone wants a home draw.”
Dartford’s first-half display was similar to the standard they showed at the start of the season with the midfield trio of Keiran Murtagh, Jebb and Noor Husin controlling the game.
Some fans have questioned Murtagh’s performances in recent weeks but he showed his quality – and got his manager’s backing.
“Keiran’s a good player,” stated King. “When you’re on top of the game, it goes through him. He’s a good player, and sometimes he needs other people around him to help him as well.
“That’s why when Noor came off we took Jordan Wynter next to him. I think they’re all good players.
“They always get criticised when you’re not winning games, they’ll want to pick on someone in the team but you’re not picking on anyone when you win games – it’s crazy isn’t it, but that’s the world we live in.
“They were great in the first half. Jebby scoring from 25-30 yards with a great strike, they were running the game and Weymouth couldn’t get near us.
“The energy of their players from first half to second was like chalk and cheese, they found another level that we didn’t have. You need to put those teams to bed early.”