BENFLEET secured their second win on the bounce for the first time since October with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Hackney Wick.

Goals from Sam Dulieu and Charlie Sullivan ensured all three points at the Coles Park Stadium.

And Benfleet boss Stuart Batch was keen to praise his side after triumphing in the Eastern Counties League Division One South contest.

Batch said: “It was a great performance and, in particular, it was good to see morale so high.

“It’s the first time we’ve felt that in a while.

“We stuck to our game plan and were difficult for the opposition to break down.

“We battled as hard as I’ve seen us do for some time and we needed to as Hackney are a good side.

“They had beaten us twice already this season but we fought well as a team and the performance was deserving of the three points.”

The visitors got off to the perfect start as, on eight minutes, Dulieu pressed the home defence into an error.

Dulieu, who has also made 19 appearances for Canvey Island this season, created an opening before toe-poking past a helpless Hackney Wick goalkeeper to give Benfleet an early lead.

A tight and relatively non-eventful remainder of the first half followed, without any real chances of note, as both teams struggled to find their rhythm.

The second half was perhaps most notable for a series of terrific saves from Josh Strizovic, who was making his debut in the Benfleet goal on loan from Dagenham & Redbridge.

Strizovic, who counts Billericay Town and Basildon United among his former clubs, put in a man of the match second half performance to keep his side in the lead.

The most eye-catching of Strizovic’s saves came midway through the second half from point-blank range, showing incredible reflexes to block what looked a certain equaliser.

Shortly after Strizovic’s acrobatics, Benfleet doubled their advantage.

Second half substitute Jamie Williams regained possession and sent a low cross into the danger zone, where Sullivan was on hand to tap home.

The home side struggled to create any further chances and Benfleet secured their second victory in as many weeks.

Consequently, Benfleet have moved up to 11th in the standings, keeping their distant hopes of a late push for promotion alive.

Benfleet will be hoping to record a third win on the trot when they welcome mid-table Frenford to Canvey Island’s Park Lane on Saturday, with the contest due to kick-off at 3pm.