Liam Bennett says AFC Sudbury have more togetherness this season, following come-from-behind win against Romford
Liam Bennett believes Saturday’s thrilling 4-3 come-from-behind victory at home to Romford proves the Yellows have the mental toughness to have a real good crack at promotion this season.
The diminutive young full-back, who does not turn 18 until November, put in another big performance as AFC gave their home supporters a perfect ending to a see-saw 90 minutes on Saturday to register their first BetVictor Isthmian League North Division consecutive victories of the campaign.
East London-based Romford had narrowly escaped relegation last term, and were without a point from their opening three matches. But they had proved Sudbury’s bogey team in 2018/19 doing the double over them.
That looked to be well out of their system when Ben Hunter cooly finished from Sean Mark’s throughball in the eighth minute.
But some kamikaze defending saw them concede two soft goals in the space of less than two minutes with Jonathon Nzengo’s close-range finish in the 23rd minute followed by Phillip Brown-Bampoe accepting a gift from a similarly close in.
Great Cornard-based former Colchester United academy player Bennett, who returned to AFC Sudbury at 16 to continue a journey that started at the club at the age of seven before the U’s picked him up at U9s, fired in a great effort from the angle of the penalty area to make it 2-2 in the 36th minute.
The Yellows’ piled the pressure on after the restart but fell behind again when Nzengo finished well from a long ball counter-attack in the 53rd minute.
Despite a number of chances, including Joe Grimwood’s header coming back off the post, it was Tom Maycock’s introduction in the 72nd minute which changed the course of the game.
Within a minute the teenager provided the excellent low cross from which Billy Holland stabbed home and with time running out, he sparked wild celebrations when captialising on a defensive error from a long ball to lift in over the goalkeeper in the 90th minute.
Bennett, who burst on to the first-team scene last November when still 16 and has ambitions to go professional after completing his last year of his scholarship with the Yellows, said: “It was a challenging game. Things did not go our way, but in the end we pulled through by sticking together and getting the three points.
“We probably wouldn’t have won that game last year but this year we’re a lot more together, and that’s the main thing.”
AFC Sudbury: Walker, Bennett, Harris, Altintop, Grimwood (Maycock 72’), Whight, Hunter (Griling 85’), Holland, Marks, King, Dettmar (Hammett 90+1’). Unused subs: Craigie, Bailey-Dennis.
Free Press Man of the Match: Tom Maycock. Liam Bennett did shine brightly but substitute changed the course of the game with an assist and a goal.