Double centurion Tom Bender calls on the National League to ‘review’ decision despite win for St Albans City

Tom Bender made his 200th appearance for St Albans City in the win at Braintree Town. Picture: JIM S

Tom Bender made his 200th appearance for St Albans City in the win at Braintree Town. Picture: JIM STANDEN - Credit: Archant

It was a memorable day on an individual level and a valuable three points for St Albans City but Tom Bender was left wondering whether it should have happened at all.

The Saints’ skipper made his 200th appearance for the club and put his body on the line, surviving a nasty collision in the second half, as Joe Iaciofano’s heavily-deflected goal in the 1-0 win at Braintree Town dragged them out of the National League South relegation places.

But like his manager Ian Allinson, the defender questioned the wisdom of allowing the games to go ahead in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic when most other leagues across Europe had shutdown.

He said: I was surprised games were on. I don’t think they should have been and I’m not sure what the league’s thought process was.

“It just seemed to me they aren’t taking into consideration the severity of the situation.

“If you look at a lot of non-league clubs, they survive on older volunteers and this virus affects the older people more. They are the ones at risk.

“When you go to clubs you see the older fans who have been coming for 30, 40 or 50 years.

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“It’s not necessarily that people are ill but people can be carrying the virus without noticing.

“They need to review it again and take a leaf out of other league’s books.”

Uncertainty clouds the future of sport in general and nobody knows just what will happen with regards to finishing the league season, if that will even be possible.

But for now Bender admitted this was a “vital win”.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” he said. “They are level on points with us and although it is a cliché, every game is a cup final.

“We need to beat these teams in and around us. That’s been an Achilles heel for us all season.

“We can’t beat these teams and we can’t finish them off but we do well against the teams at the top of the table.

“It’s a habit we need to get out of because you will never get anywhere if you don’t punish these teams.

“We weren’t fortunate to get the win, we deserved it, but we’re always going to put ourselves under pressure if we don’t finish teams off.

“It should have been 3-0 at half-time but as long as it is 1-0 they are always in the game and can put us under pressure.”