Defender happy with second-half display
Scot Bennett was left feeling that Exeter City might have been able to turn one point into three from their trip to Dagenham & Redbridge.
The Daggers had been firmly on top during long spells of the first period, but failed to truly make hay while the sun shined as they only led by a single goal at the break. In the second half, a much-improved performance by the team – aided by a positional reshuffle and the introduction of Jimmy Keohane and David Wheeler – meant that the ultimate disappointment for Scot was not completing the turnaround with a winning goal.
“I think the fact that we went one-nil down so early on was tough because then they could just sit behind the ball and play it forward,” said Bennett.
“Tis set up a game-plan for the second half and I think it worked perfectly – we never looked like losing the game from there and I think we could have gone on and won it, but we couldn’t quite get the goal.
“Unfortunately we made a mistake for their goal, but I thought from there we pressed on well to get back in the game and to build a performance good enough to win the game. But unfortunately we could only get the one.”
Despite being trained as a defender through the Academy at the Cat & Fiddle, a majority of Bennett’s appearances in a City shirt have come in the centre of midfield. Back in his old position at centre-half, the Newquay-born man put in an exceptional shift which included timely interceptions, crucial clearances, firm blocks and brave tackles – including outfoxing Daggers livewire Zavon Hines who was breaking in search of a stoppage-time winner.
He admitted that it was an unusual feeling to be playing in the heart of defence once again, but that he was relishing the role. Bennett also put in a goal-saving block before the interval, and needed a bit of repair from the physio during the break.
“It’s a bit weird going back there!” said Scot about his centre-half role against Dagenham. “But I’m enjoying playing there, and you’ve got to put your body on the line sometimes as a centre-back.
“I was a bit sore but we’ve got a good physio in Andy Proctor and he had a look at it half time, gave me a few painkillers, bandaged it up and I managed to get through it.”
He also reserved praise for two players in particular that added to the performance. Keohane was a dynamic threat when he was introduced at half-time and Sam Parkin – who netted the equaliser – was an instrumental figure in earning a draw for City.
Scot continued: “When Jimmy came on he gave us something – he got the ball, turned and ran at them without fear, and that created chances for others to feed off him.
“Sam’s header was brilliant – he came across his defender and met it perfectly and it went straight into the bottom corner and the goalkeeper had no chance. When you’ve got a player like Sam that can do that you’ve always got a chance.”