IT is better to travel hopefully than to arrive, so they say.

On a balmy spring afternoon with no wind and a cloudless sky, Darts’ hopes had to be high at kick-off time. The fact the pitch was dry and bumpy was no handicap to the home side as they only needed a pitch to stand on.

Route one, first time football, up and under, aerial ping pong or Hail Mary.

Whatever you like to call it, Darts traditionally have had difficulty combating the thing.

Even the legendary Carr-Burns-Binks combination found it hard to cope with.

Right from the start it was knock forward, two men chase stuff from the home side.

It paid off just past the quarter-hour mark when Darts were adjudged to have committed a foul, allowing Elliot Styles to lash home from close in following a Jim McFarlane flick-on.

From there on it was relentlessness itself as Darts faced wave after wave of the up-and-under variety and, with the defence a bit under par of late, it was at times Andrew Young against the world with the tall keeper ahead on points.

At the other end Dartford were initiating new man Bradley Woods-Garness into the system and, when the rare opportunity allowed, he certainly looked very useful.

After the interval, Dartford began slowly to get to grips with matters and, despite the unevenness of the pitch, managed to cause some problems for the home side.

At one time, Darts broke in a two-on-one situation but were thwarted when the linesman misinterpreted the offside law and stopped the break in its tracks.

To add insult to injury, Hornchurch scored a late second goal and Jamie Day receive a red card in exchange for two yellows gathered earlier, neither of which was of the life-threatening variety.

What of Darts’ two landmarkees? John Guest (100 up) was subbed off, making way for ‘Scouse’ Butterwoth who added width to the proceedings and Tom Osborne (250 up) was his usual immaculate and enthusiastic self.

Dartford: Young, Coyle, Gross, Flanagan, Guest (Butterworth 77), Osborne, Carley, Day, Haworth, Woods-Garness, Noble. Subs not used: White, Dafter, Eferakorho, Ibrahim. Att: 610.