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Dartford goalkeeper Ben Dudzinski determined to reach higher level of performance despite three clean sheets in his first four games

New Dartford keeper Ben Dudzinski insists there’s more to come, despite a solid start to his career at Princes Park.

The 27-year-old has kept three clean sheets in his first four games since moving from fellow National League South promotion hopefuls Oxford City.

Ben Dudzinski has kept three clean sheets in four games for Dartford - including against his old side Oxford City. Picture: Simon Hildrew
Ben Dudzinski has kept three clean sheets in four games for Dartford - including against his old side Oxford City. Picture: Simon Hildrew

He’s fighting it out for the No.1 spot with Dan Wilks, driven by the ultimate goal of achieving promotion at the end of the season.

“It’s been a good start,” said Dudzinski. “Three clean sheets out of four, it’s not been perfect and there’s things I want to do better and I’m sure I will do better.

“The lads have been brilliant, they’ve been really welcoming and the fans have been really supportive as well.

“I haven’t had loads to do in the four games. I also think my voice and communication has had a good impact on the side and that’s something I bring to the table.

“I’m really happy to be here. It’s a big club with a big fanbase, there’s great potential to kick on and do better.

“When I spoke to Dowse (manager Alan Dowson), he also spoke to me about the goalie coach Jim Stannard.

“I’ve played against Dan Wilks before and I know he’s a good goalkeeper so it’s really good to have that competition.

“It’s about being part of the group and part of a team pushing to get promotion. That’s the thing that sold it to me, more than anything.

“Oxford had some loan keepers come in who did well and I wasn’t necessarily looking to jump ship. But the interest from Dartford came and it just fitted.

“It seemed the right decision for me and my career and it was the best thing to do to keep pushing on.”

Dudzinski was in and out of the Oxford side but he’s started every game for the Darts so far and is glad that he’s got Dowson’s backing.

“It’s a good confidence boost but I’ve also got a lot of faith in my own ability, regardless of other people’s opinions,” he added.

“I think you have to have that as a goalkeeper because you’re going to have highs and lows and you always need to be resilient. There’s never anything to fear in this league. Anyone can beat anyone on any given day, it’s all about the consistency and hard work you put in on a matchday.

“There’s bundles of quality in our changing room going forward and there’s loads of grit and great defensive work at the back. I think we have everything we need to push for promotion and get it.

“It’s easier said than done but all we can do is, for every single training session and game, put everything into it.”

Dudzinski had an early reunion with his former team-mates when Darts were held to a goalless draw by Oxford at Princes Park on Saturday.

It was an odd day playing against his old side with the home team failing to get going on the day.

“Most players in their careers experience playing against old team-mates,” reflected Dudzinski. “I don’t think many people experience playing against them so quickly after moving and also being next to each other in the league. I’d say that’s where it was a unique situation.

“There’s no bad blood there whatsoever, but I play for Dartford now and I wanted to win on Saturday.

“Our performance fell well short so for how we played it probably wasn’t a bad result. They’re just behind us in the league, it keeps the gap and means they don’t gain on us.

“We’d like to have played a lot better but it’s not terrible, we’ve just got to improve our performances.

“It was a game of very few chances, I can’t remember many shots on target. There was an element of us cancelling each other out.

“I’d been there a while so I knew the style of play, but you can know the style of play and it can still be effective. They did what they wanted to do pretty well and we probably didn’t do what we wanted to do anywhere near as we needed to.

“There is so much movement from their midfielders, they play two centre-mids and then two 10s.

“They’ve got the freedom to rotate and that’s obviously pulling us around left or right and we have to pass on men really quickly so they can’t play through the lines.

“Overall, I think we defended well, it definitely wasn’t easy but we got a clean sheet.”

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