Dartford booked a place in the first round of the FA Cup after beating Burgess Hill Town 3-1 at Princes Park on Saturday.

Two early goals from Harry Crawford suggested this fourth qualifying round fixture might turn into a rout, but a screamer from Darren Budd halved the deficit.

Catastrophe struck for the visitors when Toby Pointing was sent off and Elliot Bradbrook converted the subsequent penalty to restore Dartford’s two-goal lead before half-time.

Tony Burman made two changes from the side that drew 1-1 against Aldershot last week, with Ryan Hayes and Lee Noble replacing Max Cornhill and Luke Daley.

Burgess Hill came into the match having won their last 15 games, but the superior quality of their Conference Premier opposition was apparent from the outset.

Andy Pugh almost opened the scoring after creating a shooting chance with a superb piece of skill, but the striker dragged his effort wide.

In the 10th minute Dartford made the breakthrough as Crawford dribbled into the box and found the far corner with a curling shot.

Five minutes later an elementary cross was horribly misjudged by Burgess goal-keeper Josh James and Crawford was gifted his and Dartford’s second goal.

Despite being three divisions below the hosts, Burgess responded well and were back in the game when Budd beat Jason Brown from 20 yards, just seconds after being substituted on.

The decisive moment came five minutes before half-time when Crawford dribbled past James and had his shot handled off the line by Pointing.

The defender was shown a straight red card and Bradbrook scored from the spot to crush any hope the Ryman South leaders had of causing an upset.

The Hillians continued to fight, though, and Rob O’Toole should have offered the visitors hope early into the second half but the striker fired a great opportunity wide of the post.

As Burgess adopted increasingly offensive tactics, Darts began to threaten on the counter-attack. First Pugh clipped the bar with a header and then Ryan Hayes and Crawford both stung James’ hands with powerful strikes.

While Burman’s men failed to fully capitalise on their numerical advantage, an efficient first half display secured Dartford a place in the first round of the FA Cup.

Dartford: Brown, Bender, McAuley, Bradbrook, Hayes (Daley 73), Noble (Cornhill 81), Pugh (Harris 75), Mitchel-King, Collier, Sweeney, Crawford. Subs not used: Phillips, Ibrahim, Adams, Vint. Att: 929.