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Dartford manager Steve King reacts to 0-0 draw with Chelmsford City in National League South

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Dartford manager Steve King heaped praise on Chelmsford's impressive defensive resolve in National League South on Monday night.

The Darts were held to a goalless draw by Chelmsford, who played nearly an hour after defender Tom Dickens was red carded for a professional foul on George Porter.

Dartford manager Steve King. Picture: Keith Gillard
Dartford manager Steve King. Picture: Keith Gillard

Leaders Dartford were camped in the Chelmsford half for the remainder of the game but couldn't find a way past keeper Jacob Marsden, who produced one brilliant save to tip a Jack Jebb free-kick onto the woodwork.

"We had the whole game but they had a man less and played 50-60 minutes with 10 men, they were heroic and have got to be proud of their performance," said King,

"Our little last bit let us down, that little bit of quality where we've been putting teams to bed was missing. What an outstanding save the keeper made from Jack Jebb's free-kick - it was going in the top bins and he's got his hand to it, I don't know how he saved it, it was an incredible save.

"But that's what happened, every ball that was put in the six-yard box they got on the end of.

"That was typical attack versus defence and I think Robbie (Simpson) will be immensely proud of his group for keeping us out.

"You always give credit to the opposition, it's not about you all the time. Yes, we didn't finish the game off but they defended for their lives so you have to give them a lot of credit. They stood up, everything we threw at them they've kept us out."

Despite King's praise for Chelmsford's defending, he knows it could have easily been three points had referee Jack Packman pointed to the spot for a blatant foul on Darts left-back Jernade Meade with eight minutes left.

Instead, the official waved away Dartford's appeals and King feels it was a big decision that the man in the middle got wrong.

"We absolutely dominated from start to finish," he added. "How we haven't scored nobody knows but I have to give great credit to them. They threw their bodies on the line, they were down to 10 men, they stayed in their block.

"In my opinion the referee had a good game but he's missed the biggest (decision), the penalty. I've looked back at it on the video and it's a stonewall penalty and it could have been a handball just before that.

"That's a penalty, as blatant as you're going to get and I told him at the final whistle that he'd had a very good game but that was a penalty and he'll see it back and realise.

"He was 20 yards away from it, he has to be in the box, his position has to be so much greater because we're playing in their final third, he has to have a better starting position to call that.

"The red card was a red card in my opinion. It's not is there another player covering round, it's are you denying a goalscoring opportunity and George is bearing down on goal and just about to go inside the penalty area and get a shot off.

"I don't think they complained about it but I thought the referee had an all right game, Robbie will probably say something different. But until that big decision he had an all right game, and they are the big decisions I talk about week in, week out, that they are not getting right."

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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