TALK about the magnificent seven!
That’s the number of penalty saves Ian Bennett has made in his 52 games for Town.
But it’s typical of the man that he was happier to speak of the 2,194 travelling supporters at Scunthorpe on Tuesday than his heroics in denying first Chris Dagnall, then Michael O’Connor from the spot during the exciting 2-2 League I stalemate.
“The fans were fantastic,” said Bennett, who laid down a marker by saving a penalty from Everton’s John Heitinga when he made his club debut as a replacement for the injured Alex Smithies in the Carling Cup second-round tie at Goodison in August 2010.
“The fact we sold our full allocation shows they are up for the promotion push just as the players and management are, and it makes a big difference.
“The atmosphere at home to Preston last Saturday (when second-placed Town won 3-1) was great, and it was the same at Glanford Park, which is a compact ground with the fans close up to the pitch.
“It was a disappointment not to get the three points after leading with so little time to go, but over the whole game, they would argue that they deserved a draw.”
As well as Dutch defender Heitinga, Bennett thwarted Peter Leven, of MK Dons, Brighton’s Ashley Barnes and Bournemouth pair Danny Ings and Liam Feeney last season.
A trawl of Google also brings up penalty saves for Birmingham and Sheffield United, but the Scunthorpe game was the first time the 40-year-old has made two in the same match.
“As the manager said afterwards, a lot of the credit should go to (goalkeeping coach) John Vaughan and (performance analyst) Chris Markham, because they do a huge amount of research into who takes penalties for forthcoming opponents and where they tend to put them.”