Clarets boss Rod Stringer was involved in a fracas with Darts joint-manager Adam Flanagan, an incident which saw referee Dean Hulme dismiss both managers on 27 minutes.
Elliot Bradbrook scored the only goal of the game late in the second half, sending a looping header beyond Ross Worner to end City’s impressive unbeaten record at Princes Park.
Having dominated the opening stages, the sending off clearly affected the City players as they struggled to produce any clear chances to score.
The Clarets came close to opening the scoring early when Rhys Murphy found space. The talented front-man bared down on-goal after latching onto Michael Spillane’s through ball, but an excellently timed tackle from Mark Onyemah denied the City striker from close range.
Neither side were able to get a foot-hold and tempers began to rise following several late tackles.
And tempers reached peak levels when Murphy was tripped on the touch-line by Dartford joint-manager Adam Flanagan, provoking a fracas between both sets of management team. Referee Dean Hulme was forced to take action and decisively dismissed Stringer and Flanagan.
Following the sending off, Dartford seemed the more likely side to score.
City’s Scott Fenwick tested Deren Ibrahim with a fiercely struck effort moments before the break, but the Gibraltar international shot-stopper produced a strong save.
Philpot’s right-wing cross flew over a crowded box and struck the inside of the post before it hit Chelmsford ‘keeper Worner prior to Young smashing the danger away. Delano Sam-Yorke also came close, but his shot was dragged wide with a deflection.
Worner produced a brilliant save to deny Delano-Yorke from close range, but a minute later the City shot-stopper was unable to block
Bradbook’s looping header on 76 minutes as the hosts took the lead.
The Clarets heaped the pressure onto Dartford in the dying moments as they searched for an equaliser, but their efforts went with no reward.
Fenwick controlled well inside the area but fizzing a shot towards goal, but Ibrahim made a good save to deny the City striker. Mark Haines almost became the saviour as he connected with an inch-perfect Taylor Miles cross, but the substitute defender was unable to keep his header on-target.
Miles came close again in second half stoppage time but, having beaten Ibrahim directly from a corner last season, the Darts ‘keeper rose high to claim the late corner as the Kent side successfully held onto their lead.
1. Deren Ibrahim
2. Callum Driver
3. Mark Onyemah
5. Ronnie Vint
6. Tom Bonner
7. Ben Greenhalgh
8. Lee Noble
12. Jamie Philpot
14. Delano Sam-Yorke
15. Chez Isaac
16. Elliot Bradbrook
11. Tom Murphy (90' on for Ben Greenhalgh)
17. Manny Ighorae (67' on for Jamie Philpot)
4. Billy Roast (83' on for Chez Isaac)
18. Simon Mensah
19. Alfie Cue
1. Ross Worner
18. Matt Young
11. Tom Wraight
3. Elliot Omozusi
5. Michael Spillane
13. Joe Anderson
8. Anthony Church
16. Amos Nasha
10. Jai Reason
9. Scott Fenwick
19. Rhys Murphy
14. Mark Haines (72' on for Michael Spillane)
2. Jazzi Barnum-Bobb (62' on for Matt Young)
4. Max Porter
12. Taylor Miles (68' on for Amos Nasha)
17. Matt Foy
Dartford: Elliot Bradbrook (76')
Chelmsford City: None.
Dartford: Chez Isaac (80').
Chelmsford City: Amos Nasha (28'), Elliot Omozusi (37'), Jai Reason (88').
Dartford: Adam Flanagan (27')
Chelmsford City: Rod Stringer (27')
Half Time: Dartford 0-0 Chelmsford City
Full Time: Dartford 1-0 Chelmsford City