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Dartford FC joint-boss Jamie Coyle on the 2-0 win over Gloucester City

By Steve Tervet

Jamie Coyle felt referee Jack Packman atoned for an earlier mistake by awarding Dartford their match-winning penalty on Saturday.

Mr Packman denied the Darts a spot-kick in the first half when Callum Driver looked to have been tripped as he burst into the box.

Visitors Gloucester were then convinced they should have had a spot-kick in the second half for a push on Zack Kotwica as he ran through on goal.

Referee Jack Packman goes to his pocket during Dartford's win over Gloucester Picture: Andy Jones
Referee Jack Packman goes to his pocket during Dartford's win over Gloucester Picture: Andy Jones

But it was the home side, leading 1-0, who were finally awarded a penalty for handball, seven minutes from time.

It looked less clear-cut than either of the previous two shouts but Mr Packman had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Joint-manager Coyle said: "I thought Callum Driver was a stonewall penalty.

"I spoke to the referee at half-time and he felt Callum initiated the contact, that left his leg in there.

"I think because it was a close call, he's given us the penalty in the second half - and I thought we deserved one.

"The one in the first half, we should have got, and I told the boys 'be patient and your chance will come' and we got the penalty and Charlie's tucked it away in the corner.

"Their centre-forward threw himself to the floor when he went through. I don't know why he didn't just shoot and try to score.

"The one we got was a little bit soft but I think because of the one in the first half, it was in the back of his mind that he may have made a mistake and he's given it to us in the second half."

Dartford joint-managers Jamie Coyle and Adam Flanagan Picture: Andy Jones
Dartford joint-managers Jamie Coyle and Adam Flanagan Picture: Andy Jones

Dartford never hit top gear in windy conditions at Princes Park but did enough to secure a win which lifted them one place to fifth in National League South.

Coyle said: "I'm pleased with the result because it was tough conditions today. It wasn't a good game of football to watch for the neutral but it was a real professional performance from the boys.

"We were a little bit scrappy in the first 10 minutes of the second half and they had a couple of half-chances where we switched off but overall it was a good collective performance.

"It doesn't matter how we got there.

"You could see there were a few tired legs out there, we've had three games in a week and some of the boys are pushing on 31, 32 but Joe Healy freshened it up for us. He's come in, given us a hand again and done really well, got man-of-the-match.

"You could see we looked a little bit leggy but they really dug in and got the three points we deserved."

Phil Roberts broke the deadlock ate in the first half with a glorious volley from Ryan Hayes' deep cross.

"It was the goal of the season," Coyle said. "He does get really frustrated by games like today because the quality wasn't good - the weather didn't allow it - but he was patient with his opportunity.

"I wouldn't even call it an opportunity, it was a half-chance at the far post, a great ball from Hayzie and what a fantastic volley to take the lead.

"That's the difference. We've been missing that quality all season and that's why we've had to juggle things around towards the end of the season.

"We've brought Macca in (Darren McQueen), who again worked really hard. He fed off scraps at times but really did work and was stretching the opposition and making them drop deeper which helped us in midfield.

"We've got players now when a half-chance is enough for us to score and we've never really been in that position this year."

Read the match report from Dartford's 2-0 win over Gloucester City

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