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Manager Alan Dowson unimpressed with Dartford's final pre-season game at Canvey Island ahead of their National South season

Dartford head into the new campaign following an ‘awful’ final pre-season game but manager Alan Dowson is sure they’ll be okay when it really matters.

Dowson labelled his side’s 1-0 defeat at Canvey Island on Saturday as “c**p” and took a share of the blame himself. Their 2022/23 National South season starts this Saturday with an away game at Bath City.

Manager Alan Dowson is confident his Dartford players will put Saturday's 'awful' performance behind them this weekend Picture : Keith Gillard
Manager Alan Dowson is confident his Dartford players will put Saturday's 'awful' performance behind them this weekend Picture : Keith Gillard

Speaking to Dartford FC TV post-match at Canvey, he said: “I take my fair share of responsibility and if you put a team out like that which performs like that then you have to look at yourself as well. It is football, let’s move on.

“I know there is a lot more to come from the players, I know they will be better next week and in the weeks to come so that isn’t a problem at all.

“People had got a bit carried away with three great results against top opposition but this was more like 'who had a good game?' Nobody. They will be better next week and I will be better next week.”

Dowson struggled for any positives as their pre-season came to a close, losing to a 79th minute free-kick, beating the keeper from 40 yards.

“It was awful,” Dowson began, as he assessed the game. “The back three were hopeless, they got worse in the second half, the wide ones couldn’t get the ball in the box, the formation we won’t be playing next week.

“Except for when young Sam (Odaudo) came on we never made a tackle in midfield or created anything really. Going forward we were awful, so it was a great pre-season friendly, great to get it out of the systems.

“I couldn’t pick any pluses apart from maybe young Sam and the trialist. I thought it was useless and c**p and just glad to get it out of our systems, apart from that we had done fairly well pre-season.

“Where my centre halves have been brilliant over pre-season they were awful. I am the manager, I picked the wrong team and that was pretty awful as well, it was a day at the office where it was pretty awful.

“We lacked quality, we lacked everything on the day, quality wise was awful all round. From the players to the manager we need to up our game next week and we will do and prove how good some of these players are. On the day the players had a bad day and the manager did too.

"I am sure they will be on it for Saturday. We have 19 (players) and looking to add a couple more; It will be strong and it is the strongest squad I have worked with for a long time. I am delighted how it is shaping up. It was a bad day, but am I bothered? No. The players will be flying next week and so will I."

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