The hosts were reduced to ten-men in first-half stoppage time as Alex Brown committed to an extremely dangerous challenge on Anthony Church, but the home side’s midfielder deservedly given his marching orders for reckless offence.
The Clarets eventually broke the deadlock on 71 minutes when Max Cornhill powered down a header which Chris Dickson turned home from Robbie Willmott’s corner.
Chelmsford City boss Rod Stringer made three changes to the City side which beat Whitehawk 1-0 last week. Elliott Buchanan was ruled out through injury, allowing Chris Dickson to make his full debut for the Clarets; Josh Rees was rested allowing Anthony Church to return to the starting XI; and Kane Haysman missed out after already being cup-tied – thus meaning Bagasan Graham was given a start.
The home side started as the brighter of the two sides through Luke Wanadio’s blistering pace, however the young winger was unable to open the scoring early on as Ashley Miller jumped into an important block.
The hosts continued to threaten early on but a strong punch from Ross Fitzsimons denied Lee Noble’s free-kick.
Wanadio’s speed continued to threaten the Clarets, with an excellent save from Fitzsimons denying the winger’s team-mate – Duane Ofori-Acheampong – a fine volleyed goal on 16 minutes.
The visitors eventually settled into the game and began to slowly carve chances. Graham’s driven run allowed him to work into space but the winger saw his powerful shot ricochet off a Dartford player’s sliding block.
A spell of excellent passing on the right wing allowed Robbie Willmott to slot Dickson through on-goal but the City striker’s touch was too heavy.
The Clarets’ best chance of the half came on 34 minutes as Willmott almost provided the assist. The winger’s free-kick almost allowed Chris Bush to slip in between two Dartford defenders but the ball fell to Dickson who slipped as he shot at goal, sending his effort just wide.
An overly poor first half suddenly exploded into life in stoppage time as the hosts were reduced to ten-men following a reckless challenge. Chelmsford City player Church leaned in to head the ball but was suddenly struck by a high-foot from Brown, ending in a mass fracas on the half-way line between all 22 players.
As the fracas broke out Whistler Craig Hicks immediately dismissed Brown, however he was forced to review with his assistants before booking Matt Young and Bush for Chelmsford, as well as Keaton Wood for the home side.
Rod Stringer introduced Philip Roberts for his debut on the hour mark, replacing Shaun Jeffers, to get a goal in the final third of the game at a bitterly cold Princes Park.
The Darts almost stole a winner on 68 minutes as Noble’s freekick flashed past the post after Acheampong directed the set-piece goalward.
And the home side were left to rue their missed chances as the Clarets took the lead with less than 20 minutes to go. Excellent strength from substitute Roberts earned a corner on the right wing which Willmott curled into the box. Cornhill rose highest in a crowded box, however, and the midfielder directed his header downwards where Dickson then sent the travelling City supporters delirious as his minute touch deflected the ball under Deren Ibrahim.
Dickson had the perfect chance to double the lead on 83 minutes but after running half the length of the pitch he eventually ran out of steam, allowing Dartford to easily clear the danger away.
Cornhill almost grabbed a second with four minutes left but his shot from Willmott’s pull-back ballooned over the bar.
The hosts had one last chance to equalise but, despite Noble’s cross slipping through Fitzsimons’ hands, the Darts were unable to get a conclusive touch.
The Clarets managed to hold on, however, and booked their place in the last 16 of the Buildbase FA Trophy with the draw taking place on Monday afternoon.
1. Deren Ibrahim
2. Keaton Wood
3. Ronnie Vint (78’ Ryan Hayes)
4. Tom Bonner
5. Tom Wynter
6. Lee Noble
7. Alex Brown
8. Elliot Bradbrook
9. Luke Wanadio (89’ Kaka Dembele)
10. Andy Pugh (78’ Danny Harris)
11. Duane Ofori-Acheampong
12. Ryan Hayes
14. Danny Harris
15. Kaka Dembele
16. Michael Habte
17. Tony Coxall
1. Ross Fitzsimons
2. Ashley Miller
3. Matt Young
4. Max Cornhill
5. Chris Bush ©
6. Mark Haines
7. Robbie Willmott
8. Anthony Church
9. Shaun Jeffers (61’ Philip Roberts)
10. Chris Dickson (90’ Josh Rees)
11. Bagasan Graham (69’ Luke Daley)
12. Josh Rees
14. Philip Roberts
15. Max Porter
16. Luke Daley
17. Danny Blanchett
Dartford: 45+1’ Keaton Wood, 75’ Ronnie Vint.
Chelmsford City: 45+1’ Chris Bush, 45+1’ Matt Young, 90+5 Philip Roberts.
Dartford: 45+1’ Alex Brown.
Chelmsford City: None.
Chelmsford City: 71’ Chris Dickson.
City Man of the Match: Mark Haines.