Maamria delighted with Kennedy return as Stevenage boss praises losing Bradford display

PUBLISHED: 17:10 21 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:10 21 August 2019

Ben Kennedy of Stevenage in the League Two game between Stevenage FC v Colchester United at the Lamex Stadium, Stevenage, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOO

Ben Kennedy of Stevenage in the League Two game between Stevenage FC v Colchester United at the Lamex Stadium, Stevenage, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

Stevenage boss Dino Maamria was delighted with the unexpected return to fitness of Ben Kennedy and his side's performance in their 1-0 defeat to Bradford City in League Two at the Lamex on Tuesday night.

Tom Soares' own goal was all that separated the two teams as Boro still wait for a first win of the season.

However, Kennedy's return from injury was one of the many positives for Stevenage.

Back in July, Maamria told CometSport that the winger need an operation and would be out for three to four months, so there was understandable surprise when he was named as a substitute on Tuesday.

The Northern Irishman - who spent the second half of last season on loan at Newport County - came on with an hour played and hit the crossbar with a late free-kick.

Kennedy's return was a surprise to Maamria, who lauded the 22-year-old.

"We've got to look after Ben. He showed his class tonight when he came on," he said.

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"I thought he got on the ball, gave us that composure and an attacking threat.

"He was back to his best tonight, but we do need to look after him and introduce him slowly.

"We know what Ben Kennedy can do, he's happy and he's enjoying his football. It's brilliant news for us to have him.

"I didn't expect him to be fit. Fair play to him because he knew our numbers were really tight so he put in the extra work to make sure he was available.

"He spoke to me and said he wanted to be available and can do a job. I love that to be fair. You can see it meant a lot to him tonight."

Despite a third defeat in four games and no win this season, Maamria was pleased with Stevenage's performance, telling CometSport: "The lads performed really well.

"We didn't do enough first-half in the attacking third. We adjusted slightly in the second-half and I have no complaints, we were outstanding.

"Overall, as a performance we were on the front foot from minute one, we did everything possible to win a football match but we couldn't score a goal.

"We had some good chances, but we didn't score and you don't win games if you don't score."

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