Joint-boss Jamie Coyle was left singing the praises of substitutes Tom Murphy and Andre Coker after Dartford’s dramatic win over Billericay.
It’s been a testing campaign for both players, with neither able to hold down a regular starting berth at Princes Park.
Their cause has not been helped in recent weeks by having to play as makeshift strikers given the club’s lack of available attacking resources.
But Murphy scored twice and Coker provided an assist to keep their National League South play-off hopes alive.
“I’m so pleased for them because their attitudes throughout the season have been outstanding,” said Coyle.
“They’ve been in and out of the team and they’ve both been patient.
“We’ve worked so hard to get Murphy’s fitness levels where they need to be and he’s really grafted away from the club.
“Murphs had to go away and get some games and come back. I’m really pleased for them.
“They could potentially be a bit sulky around the place and not be positive or work hard but both of them have really stuck with it this season.”
In praising the quality of Murphy’s goals, Coyle suggested there were few better natural finishers at the club.
“We’ve had to play him them up front because we’ve had no other options,” he added. “They’ve both been playing out of position, both been working really hard for us but when you haven’t got the experience of playing up there it’s a completely different game to the experience of being wide players.
“The thing with Murphs is that he’s one of the best finishers at the club, and he’s shown that.
“The composure for the second one, he had a couple of touches in the box and then put it in the bottom corner. He’s done really well and deserves to be the match winner.
“Coker has come off the bench and set up the first goal which Murphs put away and then great composure with the second goal to slot it in the bottom corner.”
It means potential jeers turned to cheers, with Coyle revealing that the home fans were starting to turn as their season threatened to slip away in the final few minutes.
“We were getting heckled by the fans and some of the players on the pitch were as well so it was nice to turn it around,” he said.
“There was a real negativity in the air in the last five minutes so the players did well to stick with it and show that desire and belief to get the two goals. It puts a little bit of an exciting finish to the season now.
“Looking at the game as a whole I thought we deserved at least a point. I’m so pleased we got a bit of rub of the green with the first goal and Murphs has taken his second one brilliantly.”
It was the reaction from Saturday’s 6-0 thrashing at Eastbourne – Dartford’s biggest competitive defeat for 16 years – which impressed Coyle.
“The boys have provided a real Dartford performance,” said Coyle. “If you look back over the years, they really dug in to the end and showed that belief and desire that we’ve been after recently.
“It was a fantastic result against a good side. The reaction from Saturday’s performance was the biggest plus for us.
“We were very poor at Eastbourne and the players know that. We know it as a management team and everyone around the club knows it.
“They’ve reacted in a positive way, defended brilliantly collectively and looked a constant threat. We missed a penalty to put us one-up and I thought we were on top as well at that point so maybe it could have been more comfortable than scoring the two at the end.
“It was brilliant to see Ronnie Vint back to his old self, he was outstanding and Tom Bonner was playing against one of the best target men in the league in Adam Cunnington and he did really well against him.
“As a back five we were solid and looked like we were in control and that was a real positive after conceding six goals on Saturday. You want to be hard to break down, hard to beat, and we did that.
“It was about being patient and having belief that we’d score a goal. We had a great opportunity with the penalty and I think Charlie has scored all of them this year apart from that one.
“Going one-down we could have folded, especially after conceding the amount of goals we did on Saturday, but we didn’t and they stuck with it.”