AFC Fylde 'men of steel' boost boss Jim Bentley after victory over Southport
Manager Jim Bentley was delighted to see his AFC Fylde team show their “steely” side to maintain their 100 per cent start to the season with Monday’s 2-1 home win over Southport, despite having Ben Tollitt sent off before half-time.
The Coasters came from behind to record a fourth straight win and remain top of National League North on goal difference.
Boss Bentley said: “It’s a fantastic result for us from a difficult game. I think Southport are a better outfit this year. They have changed their shape and are a big, strong, physical side. They get the ball in the box and have a bit of pace up front with (goalscorer) Jordan Archer.
“It started with us being a little bit sloppy in the middle third and giving them the opportunity to counter-attack, and that’s exactly how their goal came about. We’re disappointed with that.
“We probably played better with 10 men than with 11 and we have reacted really well, but we’ve had to dig in and show we are not just a pretty footballing side – we have attitude and desire to grind results out. That’s what you need to be a successful side.
“We showed a steely determination to pull our sleeves up and come out fighting. To have that desire to put a shift in with 10 men, I’m proud of every one of them, especially after a long journey on Saturday (to Hereford for a 4-1 win) – and to keep playing our football and creating chances was fantastic.
“When we had to stand up and be counted right at the end against a big, big side, with massive throws going into the box from either side, we stood up to it.”
Winger Tollitt was dismissed for a lunging challenge on Charles Oliver and the decision did not impress Bentley, who said: “For me it’s never a red card. I’ve seen it back and spoken to the referee but you can’t go showing them videos.
“In my time in football that’s never been a red card but these things happen. Things happened for both sides I didn’t agree with but it all added up to a good, entertaining Bank Holiday game, with a good crowd and loads of talking points.”
The Fylde goals were two positive talking points for Bentley, who said: “It was a fantastic goal by Stephen Dobbie and you could see his class there. Anybody else would probably have put their laces through it but you could see his composure.
“That technique to sidefoot it in on the volley into the bottom corner was great and, for me, we’re deservedly back on level terms. We’re scoring goals at good times.
“It was a fantastic goal by Joe Piggott, who is two in two now. It was very similar to his goal at Hereford in that he was coming away from goal. To spin and despatch it the way he did was a fantastic finish by him.”
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