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One win will change Dartford's National League South play-off bid around

Joint-boss Adam Flanagan believes Dartford are just one win away from transforming their season around.

The injury-hit Darts dropped out of the National League South play-off places after a 1-0 home defeat to Chippenham on Saturday.

But with just three games left, Flanagan knows that victory at Eastbourne this Saturday could turn their campaign around in an instant.

Dartford's Andre Coker gets away from his man against Chippenham. Picture: Chris Davey
Dartford's Andre Coker gets away from his man against Chippenham. Picture: Chris Davey

“We just need to get a win, if we get a win then I think we will be settled,” claimed Flanagan.

“We’ve got a group where they are confident they can beat any team in this league.

“But we’re on a negative run at the moment and we need to flip that round as quickly as we can.

“We’re down to bare bones but it is what it is. We still believe we’ve got enough to put three big positive performances in and get in there.

“If we don’t and we miss out then we’ll break the season down and look at where we could have done better and where we need to improve next year.”

Reflecting on the defeat to Chippenham, Flanagan added: “I actually think we’ve played worse and won. In possession we were quite good, moved the ball quite well and got lots of opportunities to get balls into the box.

“We didn’t test their keeper as much as we wanted. I thought it was an assured performance apart from not scoring.

“When you’ve been around football, and I want to say we’ve dominated them to a degree, moved them back and got crosses in, in the back of your mind, you’re thinking is it going to be one of them days when you’re not going to score and they’re going to get something late.

“That’s the way it panned out, we could have done better with their goal. A bit of indecision has ultimately cost us and it’s gutting really.

“The performance was there, it was just that cutting edge and goal to get us in front wasn’t there.

“The longer it went on they had the belief they would nick something on the break.”

Dartford's Daniel Johnson closes down Chippenham on Saturday. Picture: Chris Davey
Dartford's Daniel Johnson closes down Chippenham on Saturday. Picture: Chris Davey

One major highlight for Dartford was the return to the side of Andy Pugh, who came on for the final 16 minutes.

It was Pugh’s first appearance of the season after he suffered a double-leg break in July.

“Ideally if everyone was fit and we had a bench full of players then you’d give him the season off and get him back for pre-season,” said Flanagan.

“At 0-0, I thought it was set up for him to come on and score, and with his first touch he nearly did.

“It’s good to have him back and we’ll work closely to make sure we don’t force too much out of him.

“If he can come on and score a goal or two then great and if his leg isn’t ready or there is any doubt then we’re not going to push him.”


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