Goals from Darren McQueen and Phil Roberts ensured Dartford saw off Woking in a 2-0 win at Princes Park on Saturday.
The win means the Darts have done the double over the league leaders after they collected all three points in the reverse fixture earlier this month.
Dartford were largely the better side over the course of the game. Their ability on the counter attack was proving difficult to handle and they reaped the rewards by taking the lead.
The opener came in the 23rd minute when McQueen unleashed a great strike into the bottom right corner with his left foot. The forward was put through on goal and used his quick feet to create space for a shot and give the home side the lead.
Phil Roberts had a couple of attempts saved by the Woking number one but eventually found his shooting boots to double his side’s lead. After catching the visitors on the counter again, Roberts raced through on goal in the 70th minute and slotted the ball home to send the Dartford fans jumping for joy.
“I’m absolutely over the moon” said joint-manager Jamie Coyle after the match, “I thought we thoroughly deserved the win. To play the league leaders and for Bailey [Vose] to not be bothered is a testament to how well the team defended.
“The movement and work-rate of Darren [McQueen] and Phil [Roberts] caused problems throughout the game. We knew their centre-backs lacked mobility and if we could get our fullbacks higher then it leaves space down the sides.”
Dartford deserved to be ahead at the break, but not without controversy. A flurry of fouls by the home side resulted in the linesman being on the receiving end of an earful by the Woking manager.
The visitors looked sharp in the early stages but Dartford’s shape remained rigid to keep chances a rarity. Darts’ box was bombarded with crosses throughout the 90 minutes but a lack of end product meant Bailey Vose was never tested.
Although Dartford’s counter attacking ability was their biggest threat, Coyle was impressed with his side’s defence.
“The two centre-halves today were colossal. I don’t think they lost a header. We conceded a sloppy goal last week and we spoke about it in training and worked on our defensive shape.
“They [Woking] threw a lot of direct balls in the second half and they dealt with everything. Like I said, to play against Woking and Bailey [Vose] to not have to make a save outside of one just before half-time says everything.”
A slower tempo in the second half suited Woking as they began to find their passing game once more. Their best chance in the game fell to former Dartford player Paul Hodges but his sliding effort sailed over the bar after he found space at the back post.
With Woking trailing by two goals, Dartford retreated while the away side pushed for a late comeback. An ugly goalmouth scramble looked as though it would give the Cards a way back into the game but a finishing touch continued to elude them.
The closest they came to putting the ball in the back of the net was at the wrong end. Elliot Bradbrook charged down the right-hand side to the by-line and cut the ball back before Woking defender Ian Gayle slid in and almost extended the home side’s advantage.
The match failed to live up to expectations on the pitch with the referee putting his whistle to his lips frequently. Tempers flared on the side-lines, however, with one Woking fan offering his glasses to the linesman who became a scapegoat for the travelling support.
Coyle is looking forward to the closing stages of the season.
“It’s exciting, the aim was always to finish in the playoffs. Look at Braintree last year getting the last playoff place and really driving through, that momentum got them promoted. If we can do the same then that would be brilliant.”
Dartford are now unbeaten in nine of their last ten games and, with Dulwich Hamlet in the bottom half up next, the Darts will be looking to extend their good run, but Coyle expects a tough game.
“They’ve made three huge signings this week so it’s not great timing for us, but the boys have belief and whoever we playing against if we work hard like we did today we’ve got real threat and pace in behind.”
The win means Dartford solidify their place in 7th and close the gap to the top of the table to ten points.