FOOTBALL'S gods teased Dartford with this easy-looking tie, then tormented them with selection problems for manager Tony Burman.

Shorn of captain Elliot Bradbrook, Joe Bruce and James White through suspensions, Darts were unable to field on-loan Jon Main following a gentlemen's agreement with AFC Wimbledon.

A late in the week move brought Cray Wanderers' loanee Jack Clark into the side, impressing Darts' supporters with a solid display in the number three shirt.

In addition, Burman gave Pure DFC website favourite Adam Burchell a start.

Included on the bench were two from the club's academy.

The gods also levelled up the odds by conjuring up a boggy, bumpy playing surface swept by a swirling diagonal wind slightly favouring the team kicking to the Fuel Tank End, and all under a thick, grey sky.

Darts were the first to show and Charlie Sheringham hit the bar from six yards on three minutes, a feat repeated by Lee Burns midway through the half.

Ashford used a brace of ball-carrying midfielders to take possession into Dartford territory but the visiting defence coped easliy enough the threat.

Shortly before the break, Ashford's penalty appeal for handball was deemed to be ball-to-hand.

The wind slightly aided Dartford on the turnround and, just before the hour, sub Ryan Hayes – on for Burchell - fed Billy Burgess.

He set up George Purcell, who swept a shot past home keeper Baptiste for the game's only goal.

Three corners in quick succession kept Ashford on the back-foot as Dartford saw the tie out quite comfortably despite a late rally from the home side.

The gods had the last laugh – Wimbledon's exit from the competition frees up Main for the next round.

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Dartford: Young, Burgess, Clark, Bonner, Goodacre, Noble, Burchell (Hayes 58), Sheringham, Rook, Burns, Purcell. Subs not used: Harris, Eves, Burman, Ibrahim. Att: 474.