Published: 08:00, 27 December 2018
| Updated: 08:35, 27 December 2018
Dartford joint-boss Jamie Coyle admitted his team lost their individual battles in the Boxing Day defeat at Welling.
The Darts went down 2-0 but never really looked a threat, despite starting the day in the National League South’s top six.
“It was disappointing,” said Coyle. “In the end we flattered to deceive a little bit.
“The first half was a bitty game, it was fiercely contested, especially in the middle of the park, and outside a free header from a set piece, it was a 0-0 game going in at half-time.
“We got into great positions in the final third, especially the first half, and our quality was really poor.
“That was the reason we couldn’t build any momentum. We have to do better. We had plenty of the ball in the first half with our three (in midfield) and we just didn’t capitalise on it.
“When it’s not going your way and you go in at 0-0 you can still build on it. But to concede a goal direct from a corner again, and let a man have a free header from eight yards out is not acceptable.
“It’s really disappointing and it’s happening too many times. We said it in the press this week, we’ve got this soft underbelly at times from set pieces and we’ve got to do better.”
Darts opted for experience in the form of Ryan Hayes and Elliot Bradbrook but their big guns failed to deliver in the heat of a derby battle.
When asked about their impact, Coyle responded: “We put players in the team that know the importance of these derby games, that have been in it before and have got success.
“It wasn’t just them, as a collective we weren’t anywhere near the standards that we’ve set and individually they shaded the battles and that’s the reason they won the game.”
Substitutes Charlie Sheringham and Andre Coker both impressed – the latter hitting the post late on – but it was too little, too late for a Dartford side who travel to East Thurrock on Saturday before hosting Welling on New Year’s Day.
“Charlie did well and secured the ball better for us, Coker sparked us into life as well, hit the post, and looked a threat as well,” added Coyle.
“We huffed and puffed but it wasn’t good enough and they shaded it in most areas of the pitch.
“That’s the positive - we’ve got a game in a couple of days that we have to have a reaction for.
“We have to take some momentum into the Welling game when they come to us on New Year’s Day.
“We’ve got to concentrate on getting our performances to the levels that we’ve set. We’ve been inconsistent and that’s why we’ve been bouncing around the league (table).
“We’ve got two more games (over the Christmas period) and we’ll have a clearer picture after that and what we need to do to improve the team.”
More by this authorMatthew Panting