YET another road trip, admittedly short, saw Darts visit Thurrock in the third qualifying Round of the FA Trophy, a competition which had seen Dartford reach the semi-final stages three times in the 1980s.

After an exhausting fortnight, a tricky Trophy tie was not what the doctor would have ordered but Dartford went about the business of reaching the competition proper methodically, comfortably securing their objective.

Invited to attack the M25 end under a murky sky, Darts were soon in action when a Ryan Hayes free-kick from out right was fielded by home keeper Joe Woolley. Thurrock countered with two swift raids along their right flank but didn't really test Andrew Young, about to have his second clean sheet in four outings.

There was little to chose between the two sides early on but once Carl Rook headed home a knock-back from Hayes' cross on 18 minutes, Darts were able to relax and control the show.

With around 10 minutes to the interval, Thurrock had the chance to level the scores from a free-kick 25 yards out but the rehearsed dummy-run routine ended with a shot rebounding from the Dartford wall.

On the turn around Thurrock could have scored an equaliser but their header from a left-side free-kick was wide of Young's right post. As time wore on, home attacks became fewer and fewer and even swapping Roache for Tamer Tuna didn't make any difference.

With the clock running down, a throw-in from way out on the left was hit home from inside the six-yard box by Rook, reminding his followers of his predatory reputation. The final eight minutes were negotiated with adroitness.

Dartford will visit Crawley in the first round proper on December 11.

Dartford: Young, Bruce, Bonner, Champion, Goodacre, Shinn, Hayes, Harris (White 87), Rook, Burns, Bradbrook. Subs not used: Sheringham, Burgess, Burchell, Whitehouse. Att: 405.