DARTFORD boss Tony Burman accepts the two late goals Grimsby scored in the first leg of the FA Trophy semi-final ultimately ended his side’s Wembley dream.
The Darts looked to be heading back to Princes Park with only a 1-0 deficit to recover before Craig Disley and Andy Cook struck in the final five minutes to make the final score 3-0.
On Saturday Dartford tried their best to defy the odds and get back into the tie in the second leg.
But a fine defensive display by a well-organised Mariners side ensured the game finished 0-0, leaving Burman to reflect on what might have been afterwards.
The manager said: “The players gave everything I asked of them and I thought the performance and effort was fine.
“We had a couple of chances to score but it wasn’t to be and we’ve been knocked out by a very good Grimsby side.
“After the way the first leg finished we were all devastated by how the tie had changed so quickly with those two late goals.
“What was going to be a hill to climb had all of a sudden been turned into a mountain.”
Despite going in scoreless in the second leg at the break, Burman still believed his side had a chance in the second half of forcing the tie into extra-time.
The manager added: “If Grimsby were able to score two goals so late on in the first game then we always felt it could have gone down to the last 10 minutes.
“Obviously it didn’t happen in the end but to get to the last four of the competition is a fantastic effort by everyone.
“In the previous rounds we had always been the favourites and the players have handled facing a series of potential banana skin games very well.”
Dartford return to league action at Southport on Saturday and despite being 12 points off the top five, Burman is not completely ruling out a late play-off charge just yet.
He said: “To make it we know we will have to go on a run similar to the one we had in the first half of the season.
“The first thing to do though is make sure we reach the 50-point target we set at the start of the season because we are on 44 points at the minute.
“Once we’ve done that then we want to finish as high as possible in the league.
“There are still 15 games to go, so there is still everything to play for as far as I’m concerned.”
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