Darts into play-off semis
Darts into play-off semis

Dartford are into the Semi Finals of the National League South Play Offs after a fine 3-0 win at Slough courtesy of two goals from Charlie Sheringham and a third from Luke Wanadio.

Steve King’s side now head for Havant and Waterlooville for next weekend’s Semi Final, but we wondered just what it was like to watch the first game a Kent side has played post lock-down from the stands.

Who better to ask than Dartford co-chairman Steve Irving and these are his thoughts on the Darts return to competitive action…?

“Sunday July 19th had taken an eternity to arrive – one hundred and twenty-seven days to be precise since we’d played Chelmsford City off the park. It’s the longest break from football that I, along with many others, had gone without watching The Darts play in nearly half a century.”

“Playing behind closed doors doesn’t really allow for the pre-match hype and buzz that a Play Off Quarter Final might normally provide.”

“Being one of the lucky ten Darts “people” to be allowed to attend the game, we were greeted by Slough officials with temperature checkers, masks and gloves – sadly necessary at the moment but wearing latex gloves at a football match – it really was weird!”

“The socially distanced amber zone in the main stand was our viewing point for the day, and along with my old friends and fellow directors, Dave Skinner, Norman Grimes and Tony Burman, we were joined by half a dozen members of our supporters association committee.”

“I have to admit that the game itself had the feel of a pre-season friendly rather than a Promotion Play-Off Quarter Final. Gradually, the game itself came to life with the home side bossing the first 20 minutes but we came in to our own in the second period of the first half.”

“We were delighted of course when the boys hit the ground running at the start of the second half, with Charlie scoring twice in an eight-minute period. Luke then made the game safe five minutes from the end of the game shortly after coming on as a sub.”

“A 3-0 thoroughly deserved win, sees us away again next weekend – this time heading down the A3 to face Havant and Waterlooville in the Semi-final with the winners of that playing either Weymouth or Dorking Wanderers in the Final for a place in the National League in the new season.” 

“It really was a strange atmosphere in which limited very celebration was possible at the ground after the game which meant a quick return to Princes Park was the order of the day for a celebratory drink (or two) with the fans that had watched the game on the streaming service.”