Published: 06:00, 09 September 2021
Steve King insists Dartford’s perfect start to the season doesn’t bring extra pressure.
Darts made it five wins out of five last Saturday but the manager has shut down talk of the winning run in the dressing room, even if it his best start to a campaign.
“I think it’s the best start for straight wins but not in terms of going unbeaten,” said King.
“We’re taking it one game at a time, there’s no pressure. I don’t let them talk about it, I’m too experienced for that.
“We know everybody wants to beat us and we have to deal with that.
“We won’t get carried away - I won’t allow that. I shut it out, we’ll take each game as it comes, I can only put my side out and if they do their best then hopefully that’s enough to win the game.”
Dartford will look to extend their winning run to six matches this weekend at home to Tonbridge.
Steve McKimm’s Angels have bounced back from their opening day defeat at Ebbsfleet and former Darts duo Craig Braham-Barrett and Ricky Modeste will be keen to impress their old boss after leaving Princes Park in the summer.
“I’ve watched Tonbridge’s games against Hungerford, Bath and Hampton,” said King.
“They should have got something from all of those games, obviously they got a win at Hungerford and a late draw with Hampton.
“They are playing well, Ricky Modeste was man-of-the-match on Saturday and Craig Braham-Barrett is brilliant at this level.”
Darts continued their fine form with a 3-1 success at Bath last weekend.
First-half goals from Ade Azeez and Jake Robinson put the visitors in control but it needed a second-half strike by substitute George Porter to wrap up the points.
“It was tough, really tough,” admitted King. “It was a game of two halves, we were the better side in the first half. We scored twice and Jake Robinson missed a sitter from a couple of yards out. Yes, they had two chances as Tom Bonner cleared one off the line and they hit the post but we could have easily gone in 3-0 up at half-time.
“As we know, 2-0 is the worst scoreline, they got one and were back in it, and I counted five unbelievable chances that they had to score.
“Ade could have scored when he went one-on-one but he went on his own instead of squaring it to a team-mate. We changed the front two as their centre-halves would have tired legs and Dan Roberts crossed for George Porter to score.”
Porter’s strike was another example of the depth of King’s squad coming to fruition.
Many might have expected that quality to come to the fore during the winter months, but players are coming off the bench and having an impact now.
“It sounds crazy but take Bath out of the equation and we’re not giving teams many chances to score against us,” reflected King. “We’ve got a solid base and the big thing we’re doing is creating a lot and scoring goals.
“We’ve scored three goals four times already and the forwards are all scoring. Every time we’ve used our substitutes they’ve scored a goal or had a positive impact, so we’re doing something right.
“We’ve got a squad of 20 so there’s 18 outfield players and they can all play. Each of them would get into most sides in this league in their own right but if other clubs pick up one or two injuries they can’t always bring in players of the same quality.
“Our squad all know how we play, we can slot people in, and they all buy into it. I told them at the start of the season that no-one is guaranteed a place, and we’re going to pick and choose when we make changes.”