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Dartford manager Adam Flanagan reacts to 3-1 FA Cup win at AFC Uckfield

By Matthew Panting

Dartford joint-boss Adam Flanagan felt his team’s fitness levels showed in the FA Cup on Saturday.

The Darts struggled for long periods against AFC Uckfield, a team that play three levels below them in the non-league pyramid.

It needed three goals in the last nine minutes to put Dartford into Monday's third qualifying round draw, and bank the £9,000 prize money.

Dartford joint-manager Adam Flanagan. Picture: Andy Payton
Dartford joint-manager Adam Flanagan. Picture: Andy Payton

“It was a typical FA Cup game against a lower-level team, who performed excellently,” said Flanagan.

“They got a goal which gave them something to hang on to. In the second half, we were better but I won’t lie – I felt it was going to be one of those days in front of goal when nothing seemed to go in.

“(But) we got the goal, and then it was a good move leading to the second goal. After that they pushed bodies forward and we got a third late on.

“In the FA Cup you want to try and get an early goal. Charlie (Sheringham) scored what I thought was a good goal but it got (chalked) off for offside.

“They were very good at slowing the game down and fair play to them, that’s all tactics and part of the game.

“That was really frustrating us as we wanted to keep a high tempo because we felt our fitness levels would pay dividends.

“In the end they did, especially the last 10 minutes, but you’d expect that.”

Read the match report from Dartford's 3-1 win at AFC Uckfield here

Dartford’s players were warned at half-time not to become the talk of the second qualifying round – and they showed great character and desire late on to avoid what would have been an embarrassing exit.

“We said to the players at half-time that potentially this is a result people will talk about if we don’t turn it around,” added Flanagan.

“We asked for character and a big second half performance - and I think we got that.

“If I’m being honest I’m not sure the formation worked with how we set up. I’m not sure the people that were on the pitch were the best for that formation but they did well and made things difficult.

“It was windy, wet and cold, a horrible day, and they were picking up a lot of free-kicks and we weren’t able to get on the ball at all. We gave their back four a really easy time in the first half.”

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