Dartford boss Tony Burman described his side’s first half display in Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to Altrincham as “awful”.

The Cheshire side took just seven minutes to break the deadlock when a quick counter attacking move ended with Damian Reeves slotting past Darts keeper Deren Ibrahim after being played in by Nicky Clee.

Andy Pugh just failed to connect with a dangerous free-kick whipped into the box but Darts could have few complaints going in at the break trailing to that early Reeves opener.

Altrincham doubled their lead within five minutes of the second half as Reeves beat the offside trap and placed his angled shot in off the post from eight yards.

Jordan Chiedozie was unlucky not to convert Callum Driver’s dangerous cross as the hosts tried to get themselves back in contention.

The breakthrough came on 68 minutes when substitute Ryan Hayes drilled a low shot beyond Stuart Coburn in the Altrincham goal.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men in the final minute as Peter Cavanagh was cautioned for a pull back, his second yellow card of the afternoon.

But despite the numerical disadvantage it was Altrincham who almost added a third in stoppage time as Kyle Perry flashing an effort just wide, although Burman believes the real damage was done in the opening period.

He said: “The first 45 minutes was awful for me. We’ve had to change the system to cope with how Altrincham were playing and it is difficult when that happens.

“You don’t want to change when you are at home. We wanted to cause them problems so they have to change their formation, but we’ve had to change because they’ve played a 4-4-1-1.

“We’ve played too deep and the number seven (James Lawrie) was causing us too many problems and was getting the ball too early.

“From the first five minutes I was telling the players to go out and enjoy themselves, try and express themselves and be brave but they’ve played with a lot of weight on their shoulders for some reason.

“We showed a lack of belief and confidence which was not right.

“It was only four days ago on a Tuesday night at Alfreton we drew 0-0 and it doesn’t look like the same team played, so it is very disappointing.”

Dartford have won only three league games at home this season and the manager admitted his side were struggling in front of their own fans.

Burman said: “There was a lack of belief and unfortunately it is the anxiety factor again.

“We are playing with pressure and the other team are not playing with pressure, it is as simple as that.

“Their second was a poor, poor goal from our point of view and it is just something that you don’t need.

“When the going gets tough - and it was, and I take the blame if you like as well - but you’ve got to get the place lifted.

“The players lift the supporters by what we do on the pitch and it wasn’t to be today.

“We’ve rallied round a little bit when Ryan scored but unfortunately it has got to be like that all of the game.”

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